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NimbusPRESENTS: Tim Eriksen & Susan Brearey's Pumpkintown

Songs, Stories and Magic Lantern Projections from an Imaginary New England Village.

A mysterious old trunk found in a Yankee attic, full of leatherbound tunebooks, letters, musical instruments, 8 track tapes, a handwritten sheaf of ballads, a machete and even an old magic lantern: an ancient projector, with a box of painted glass slides. Was this the trunk Silas had been looking for? The one his antiquarian great uncle Josh Billings Jr. promised would be full of missing verses, answers to family mysteries, the truth behind local legends, and the details of Silass own murky past? Musician Tim Eriksen and painter Susan Brearey take you to Pumpkintown, unlocking the mysteries of the trunk and the curious multicultural history of the village itself. 

Pumpkintown offers a fresh take on history and American music, from a region rarely associated with a regional sound: New England (Northern Appalachia?). Beyond the truck stops and broken hearts of Americana, the music reveals an America that has never been simply black and white but evidences a deep-seated diversity: shape-note harmony by the first published Native American composer, fiery Scottish fiddle tunes, apocalyptic Afro-Celtic gospel, traditional songs of war, the sea, traveling, tragedy and love, and original songs that tie it all together as the sound of a place that is at once imagined and deeply true. Its Americana through the looking glass, where the village is imaginary but the music is real.

The Players
Tim Eriksen, one of the best singers in music according to T-Bone Burnette, is a performer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and author who is best known for a hardcore Americana sound that unites a mastery of traditional American folk styles with innovative arrangement, original and experimental music. Early trained in South Indian classical music, Eriksen holds in Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, cut his teeth playing punk, world and indie rock in bands including the influential Cordelias Dad (post-punk and folk) and abe I Babe (Bosnian folk and rock). In 2018 Joan Baez chose his original song I Wish The Wars Were All Over as her final recorded musical statement. His collaborations have included the twice Grammy nominated Across the Divide with Afro Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, composer Evan Chambers symphonic song cycle The Old Burying Ground, touring and recording with English traditional folk legend Eliza Carthy, a posthumous recording project with Esma Redepova (the queen of Gypsy music), and extensive contributions as a performer and consultant to the Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain. With his longtime involvement in Sacred Harp or shape-note singing he has helped spearhead an international revival of the music. As a professor he has taught at Amherst, Smith, Hampshire and Dartmouth Colleges, Wesleyan University and the University of Minnesota. As an applied ethnomusicologist he worked with a team led by Target CEO Bob Ulrich to conceptualize the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Eriksens media appearances have included Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and the Academy Awards, and he is reputedly the only performer to have shared a stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson. 

Susan Brearey received her MFA in painting & printmaking in l994 from the
Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been widely exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia. In 2007 at the invitation of the Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, her work was included in Out West, The Great American Landscape and exhibited at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, subsequently traveling to six major museums in China. Also recently she has exhibited in Santa Fe, NM at the Gerald Peters Gallery, New York City as part of "Generations" a celebration of women's visibility in the art world, at A.I.R. Gallery in Chelsea. She was included in the Hood Museums Post Pastoral, New Images of the New England Landscape at Dartmouth College. A distinguished panel of curators including Klaus Kertess, New York art critic and curator and Maureen O'Brien of the RISD Museum of Art, included Brearey's work in The Parrish Art Museum's Centennial Open Exhibition in Southampton, NY in April l998. Susan has received awards from the Grumbacher Corporation, Liquitex Corp. and The Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, TN. Susan was a visiting professor for the Winter/Spring term at the Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art, Pont Aven, France in 2009. She has been a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center and a Visiting Artist in the Graduate Painting Program at Bretton Hall College of The University of Leeds in northern England. Susan has taught and lectured in several painting programs across the country and abroad including; Kunst Haus, Berlin, Germany, Keene State College, Keene, NH, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art, Pont Aven, France and RISD. She currently teaches painting at RISD and drawing, painting and printmaking at The Putney School in Putney, VT.