Slambovian Circus of Dreams' cosmic connection

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BRATTLEBORO — The interview with the Slambovian Circus of Dreams was delayed a bit after the band members learned of the passing of Stephen Hawking. It turns out that the group from Sleepy Hollow and cosmology's brightest star shared a deep interest in the mysterious working of the universe.

The Slambovian connection to the brilliant theoretical physicist, and best-selling author was pretty much an existential one. But it was deep enough that the mystical-Americana band had already composed a song in honor of Hawking before his death, slated for their next record.

The only other band with a similar connection to Hawking is Pink Floyd, a group that critics often cite as an influence on "The Circus." David Gilmour's 1994 composition "Keep Talking" actually samples Hawking's voice, which reappears in "Talkin' Hawkin'" from Pink Floyd's next and final studio album, "The Endless River."

After some time to grieve, I asked the group chief songwriter Joziah Longo about his Hawking tribute, entitled "Force of Nature." "It's about Stephen, but it's really about one of the few things that really puzzled Stephen in his lifetime, that is, the power of women and the greater power of yin in the universe. Our lives have a great need for the expression of the power of the feminine. We've always believed in Slambovia that the power of yin is the only thing that can solve the problems caused by an overly yang-dang doodle society."

Tink Lloyd, the band's yin, and Longo's accordion-playing life partner added: "In addition, we feel that Stephen was completely seduced by the incredible beauty of the physical universe ... now he's free to dance with his great love at last."

Fans of The Slambovian Circus of Dreams — who will be flocking to Next Stage tomorrow night — can easily comprehend to band's fascination with the intricacies of the cosmos, with albums like "Flapjacks From The Sky" their double CD from 2004, which expanded their notoriety to places far and wide. "With the success of that album, we started getting requests to tour nationally — the West Coast, Midwest as well as Northeast." Recalled Longo. "Festivals in the UK started calling, we thought, "Hey why not be adventurous and instead of going to the West Coast, we could venture `across the pond' and go visit the `cousins' in the UK" — that turned into a fantastic experience and we tour there regularly. We even played Glastonbury, which was an epic event — Lloyd got her signature `goddess' hat there."

Lloyd also cites a strong connection to their neighbors to the north. "The humble beginnings of the Slambovian Nation that started in the Northeast, (with generous support from Vermont) has grown over the last 10 years to international status. More recently Canada has been awesome, we actually have two shows there at the end of the month in Ontario so we're expanding the territory in our under-the-radar sort of way. Don't want to attract too much attention, though, need to keep our `indie' credibility!"

The Canadian connection extends to the unnamed new album according to Longo. "Last summer we met a Canadian engineer/producer, Dio Tadin who offered to help with our next album, which was way overdue. Dio cut his teeth at Daniel Lanois' studio in Hamilton, Ontario and has a lot of the same gear — which sounds incredible. This album will be sonically beautiful as well as vibey, creative and adventurous for the fans."

"His enthusiasm for the project is contagious." added Lloyd "The stars seem to be aligning for us here in Slambovia! "

The band is chomping at the bit to return to its neck of the woods tomorrow night with a new entourage and some fresh tunes. "Vermont always brings out the hidden folkloric side of Slambovia, since our first shows there as a fledgling band, we got invaded by the mountain spirits and started playing Hank Williams at our first show there in Dummerston." Recalled Longo. "Putney is in for a real treat. We have the 'expanded' Circus troupe touring with us currently. This is the band that is playing on the new album, so we'll be previewing the new songs as well as doing beefed up versions of the classics."

"It will be a real `Circus of Dreams,' like we always envisioned!" added Lloyd. "The core band with spectacular guest performers adding dimension and excitement to the show, that and a fantastic audience which we always experience in Vermont completes the circus-circle-circuit if you get what I mean "

I am not sure exactly what she meant. It is sad that we don't have Stephen Hawking around anymore to help explain.

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams will be at Next Stage at 7:30 p.m., on Friday, March 23, 15 Kimball Hill Putney. Tickets are $20 in advance / $24 at the door, 802-387-0102 or nextstagearts.org.

For more information, visit slambovia.com, twilightmusic.org and nextstagearts.org.

Dave Madeloni may be reached at madeloni@aol.com


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