HALLOWEEN at MilkBoy
Song Dogs (as Talking Heads), Val De Val (Final Show!), Ross Bellenoit
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This event is 21 and over
Song Dogs (as Talking Heads)
Song dogs is a 6-piece americana rock band bringing prairie-heavy rock and railroad tone to the city of Brotherly Love. Formed in 2009, we released our first self-titled EP in 2011 and our full-length album Wild Country was officially released in January, 2013.
Val De Val (Final Show!)
The story of Val de Val is one of synchronicity, revelry, friendship,
aspiration (bordering on obsession) and unfinished business. Guitars bounce off each other like self-transforming machine elves trapped in a hall of mirrors. The vocals twist and turn, folding in on themselves, becoming something new. All of this unfolds above an unyielding rhythm section, in one moment a fit of impassioned frenzy and the next thundering ahead with machine precision. It shouldn’t make sense but it does. Their new album titled “Hot Blood” is available now.
Ross Bellenoit at 29 has already forged quite a career path, racking up impressive credits as a guitarist, composer and producer. After moving to Philadelphia in 2003, Bellenoit quickly became the leading axe-man for a thriving singer-songwriter scene that spawned Amos Lee (Blue Note), Birdie Busch (Bar None), and ASCAP award-winner John Francis. More recently, he's been making his mark as a songwriter himself, and also as a recording producer and arranger.
Raised in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, Bellenoit trained on classical guitar for ten years (and viola for five) before studying jazz guitar at the University of the Arts — but Bellenoit is not the sort of musician who lets his studies do the talking. A spontaneous, in-the-moment improviser and consummate team player, Bellenoit has spent the past six years training himself to stay on his toes, and to anticipate the un-obvious. "If there's one thing that I try to keep aware of," Bellenoit says, "it's the song's temperament. Whether you're playing 'How High The Moon' to a handful of jazz aficionados or singing a folk tune that you wrote yourself, you have to surrender yourself completely to the moment. Serve the song, and the song will serve you."
Bellenoit more often than not can be found in the recording studio. He has contributed to a wide array of albums — rock records, jazz records, gospel records, R&B records, even a song about cheeseburgers written for Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig Laban. He's worked with renowned producers John Carter Cash, Phil Nicolo and Brian McTear — and now, working out of Turtle Studios in Old City, Bellenoit is producing records for singer-songwriters himself. His own group, The Little Rolling Thunder Revue, will release its full-length debut later this year, written and produced by Bellenoit start-to-finish.
Bellenoit has also racked up a considerable amount of touring experience, most notably touring with Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello as a member of Amos Lee's band in 2007. He's made multiple regional tours with honky-tonk group The Sweetback Sisters (with whom he appeared on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion") and fellow Philadelphian Birdie Busch, and he joined Joseph Parsons on tour in Europe in 2008.
Though he often collaborates with singer-songwriters, Bellenoit firmly believes it's important to keep mixing things up. He continues to hone his improvisational skills with local jazz combo the Jones Quintet, while keeping country chops sharp with the Sweetback Sisters. He is also likely to pick up any instrument and make music with it — banjo, mandolin, lap steel, bass, drums, piano, you name it.
"Versatility is the key," he says. "I've found myself playing all types of music, with all sorts of people, and there was something to be learned from each experience. I'm still learning today. I pray that I'll never get to the point where I think that I know everything — where's the fun in that?"