Vance Gilbert

Vance Gilbert


Vance Gilbert was inspired to begin writing his own material after hearing Shawn Colvin perform at a Boston theater. While Gilbert has become recognized on the folk festival circuit as a songwriter of substance, performance for him is second nature.


UNFAMILIAR MOON is Vance Gilbert's most mature and realized recording to date. This is his most anticipated album, as it is jam-packed with songs that fall into "that" category of songwriting- the zenith for any writer – songs that elicit the response “You wrote that?” Consider “Ten Thousand Skies”, the opening cut, with it’s “Roy Orbison looking for Sam Cooke” feel. Follow that with the gentle heartaching in “You Can Go Now”, the hurt and hope of the medium rocker “Leaving Avon”, and the soulwrenching title cut, “Unfamiliar Moon”, Gilbert’s most requested song. “Unforgivable”is a jazz vocal tour-de-force that still maintains it acoustic roots with a great surprise soloist. There’s a lot of hope and redemption on this album too, in songs like the solo “Your Brighter Day”and the rollicking fun of the unedited “I’ve Got A Plane”. To round out this partial list, Gilbert closes with a haunting revisitation of his acoustic standard “Alone Down Here”. A perfect mix of lyrical eloquence and musical accessibility, this is less a recording and more like great performances captured on disc.

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when the buzz started spreading in the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-jazz singer who was knocking 'em dead at open mikes. The word spread of this Philadelphia-area born and raised performer to New York; Shawn Colvin invited Vance Gilbert to be special guest on her Fat City tour. Gilbert took audiences across the country by storm ("With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener" wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in it's review of a show from that tour). Gilbert's three albums for the Rounder/Philo label - EDGEWISE (1994), FUGITIVES (1995), and the celebrated, arrestingly sparse SHAKING OFF GRAVITY (1998)- are all essential additions to the American singer-songwriter collection. With guests as varied as Tuck and Patti, Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin, Dee Carstensen, Vinx, and Jane Siberry, all three albums found significant niches on NAC (New Adult Contemporary) and Non-Commercial A3 (Adult Album Alternative) radio. These discs were followed by the selfreleased SOMERVILLE LIVE (2000), his live recording lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc "young songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams", and ONE THRU FOURTEEN (2002), a stylistically varied tour de force that New York's Town and Village calls "lively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending.” Follow that with SIDE OF THE ROAD (2003), a duo album with Ellis Paul, lauded as “haunting, artful, and lovely" by Boston Magazine and nominated for a 2004 Boston Music Award.

UNFAMILIAR MOON stands as a most impressive cap to this discography. This is Vance Gilbert at his most fearless, timeless, compelling best. These examples of classic songwriting, presented with deep humanism and bravery, stunning artistry and soul, and unbridled joy are inarguably the blue ribbons that tie and seal the seemingly impossibly package that is.............Vance Gilbert


Ten Thousand Skies

Written By: Vance Gilbert

Ten Thousand Skies
from Unfamilliar Moon
Ten thousand skies
That's how I count them
When just keeping time
Simply won't do
Crazy as this ticket to Tulsa
Crazy as a drink off the wagon
Ten thousand skies

Ten thousand skies
All that I'm asking
Is just one more night
Ten thousand one
Braver than walking through fire
Braver than saying goodbye
Ten thousand skies

Ten thousand skies
Roll across heaven
Fold into one
All that I own now
I hitched my heart to a cloud passing by
I wish forever was more than a word
Ten thousand skies
All of them blue

Leaving Avon

Written By: Vance Gilbert

I'm leaving Avon forever
I'm leaving Avon forever
I'm leaving Avon forever
and it's through no choice of mine

There's a woman down in Avon
Got a husband gunning for me
'Cause she sits staring out the window
And jumps for the phone when it rings

And the preacher down in Avon
Wrote and angry letter to me
He said I won't be invited back
He never bothered quoting Scripture
I guess he didn't want to waste it
Now that just don't sound like the Jesus
He preached about on Sunday
So I'm leaving


It's a good thing that it's Sunday
It's a good thing that it's Sunday
It hallows this departure
And the only ones to witness

Are the widows and the veterans
On their porches and verandas
Just sitting and rocking
Rocking and remembering
And I guess that it's a blessing
That they don't come to the railings
And ask me where I'm gonig
I would have to give a reason


So long to the peachtrees
In the rolling golden meadows
On the southside of this town
All the fruit will be indifferent
To whether I'm there or not
Come picking time

Farewell to the children
That play hide and seek
Beneath the clothes lines
Through these back yards
There's one here
With a twinkle in her eye
I swear she might be mine

As I pass by St Alicias
All the nuns look very busy
And the only one to notice
Makes the cross upon her forehead
And my bad won't make me weary
Cause it isn't very heavy
My best is left behind me
It's a ten-buck pawn show legacy

It's a blushing bride sunset
So I head for that horizon
And if west is my direction
It's a good a way as any
For leaving Avon


Written By: Vance Gilbert

from Unfamilliar Moon
That's what the daylight will say
When the night has had it's way with us
Gone from the garden forever
Now it's shame on us

I get to go home
And wait by the phone
For you to call
You get to go home
And tell a lie
And hope your eyes don't give away
What you've done
That's unforgivable

Time will help sweep this moment
Into the back of your mind
Who will be first to admit
That we committed this crime

Will the warm summer breeze
Make this moment that much
Easier to tell
Will the first leaves of fall say it all
Long before we are done
That's unforgivable

In the eyes of some
That will never understand
Though it weighs on my mind
Until the next time
I'll find life liveable
As long as I can do the unforgiveable
With you


Unfamiliar Moon - Disismye Music 2005
Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert Side of the Road - Rounder/Philo 2003
One Thru Fourteen - Louisiana Redhots 2002
Somerville Live - Disimye Music 2000
Shaking Off Garvity-Rounder/Philo 1998
Fugitives - Rounder/Philo 1995
Edgewise- Rounder/Philo 1994