Group takes on first US tour

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BELLOWS FALLS — A string trio from Toronto, Canada is bringing its blend of bluegrass, jazz, swing and classical music to the United States for the first time.

"We're trying to play as much as we can," said Andrew Collins, who leads the trio making its way through a tour of New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. "It's nice that it's all driveable from Toronto."

While Collins considers himself an "ex-ski bum," he has never been to Vermont before. He previously lived in British Colombia, an idyllic place for ski aficionados. But then, he said, music took over his life and he sold all his backcountry gear to buy a mandolin.

The Stone Church Arts show on Saturday, March 10, starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Chapel at Immanuel Episcopal Church located at 20 Church St. in Bellows Falls. Tickets in advance cost $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $45 for premium, reserved seats. At the door, prices increase by $5 for general admission and seniors. Tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers on the Square in Bellows Falls, by phone at 802-460-0110 or online at stonechurcharts.org.

The Andrew Collins Trio features Collins on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola and mandocello; Mike Mezzatesta on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and mandola; and James McEleney on bass, mandocello and vocals.

"We travel with lots of instruments," Collins told the Reformer. "There's a lot of instrument changing over the course of an album or show."

The trio got its start about six years ago. Collins had recorded a couple of solo albums and wanted to keep playing "this weird fusion of roots traditional music" with a group.

Two of the trio's albums have received Canadian folk music awards. The latest album, "And It was Good," was released in the fall of 2016.

"On the new offering, the trio push into new territory, brilliantly rendering each of the seven days to secular, musical fruition," a press release says. "The result is a lush-sounding, multi-layered composition bringing fresh meaning to an age-old story while demonstrating the depth of musicianship from each of these three inspirational players."

Collins said he is in the middle of mixing a pair of albums the trio will release late next month. Titled "Tongue" and "Groove," the first is vocal and the latter is instrumental.

Audience members can expect to hear all different styles of music and singing at shows plus some other entertainment.

"I tell lots of stories and jokes," Collins said. "We really like to keep the shows full of surprises and full of laughs."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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