Laden Valley

This is one of those “see them now, before they blow up” moments… happening Thursday, December 8 when Laden Valley, an up-and-coming Newport band plays a hometown gig at Top of Pelham. They’re even bringing an internationally known star along for the show.

Fellow Newporter Elizabeth Beisel, best known as a medalist in Olympic swimming, will be sitting in with the band on violin. She’s an accomplished musician in addition to her aquatic feats.

“Elizabeth is a good friend of ours,” explains Dave Sarazen of Laden Valley. “She lives in Newport, we did a video shoot with her a few months back, and we had her come play violin with us. When we conceptualized this show, we thought why don’t we bring her on stage and have her play like half the set with us. We’re super excited, she’s a really great player. Obviously in Rhode Island everybody knows her as an unbelievable athlete but she’s also a super talented musician as well.”

Laden Valley falls nicely into the folk/roots/Americana category, featuring genuine songwriting, warm harmonies, solid musicianship, and an overall mellow vibe, especially welcome on a cold winter night. The band is built around the duo of Sarazen and Evan St. Martin, but expands to fit the mood of the show.

“We present primarily as a duo,” says Sarazen, “but we have a full band that will play with us at certain shows, depending on the venue or if we’re supporting versus headlining. The third guy in Laden Valley is Jordan Wright, a multi-instrumentalist. He’s played violin on most of our records and most of our shows, but he also plays bass, mandolin. and drums, so he’ll be playing mandolin for most of the set.”

The band played a well-received album release show a year ago for around 400 fans at Jane Pickens Film and Events Center. “It was an awesome hometown night,” says Sarazen. “Right now we’re locking up some shows in Connecticut and Boston for this winter, and hopefully doing another full band show in Newport this winter or early Spring.”

The band is also working on new music, a follow up to 2021’s “To Be Alone,” released at the Pickens show last fall. “We’ve been writing a ton of songs and we’re due to head back into the studio this winter. We aim to release our next set of songs in late spring or summer.

“We’re trying to find venues that fit, we’re in the 200 to 400 seat range,” explains Sarazen. “Finding venues that cater to more of a listening room experience, those that can really fit that Americana acoustic type of music. We’ve had tons of people come out, our audience is starting to build beyond the sort of friends and family zone, into more real listeners and a real audience.”

”We’re excited to kind of keep on truckin’ and an ultimate goal of ours is to play Folk Fest, kind of everybody in our world’s goal, but we have that hometown connection, so hopefully we can make that happen,” adds Sarazen.

Look forward to a great night of music with Cody Nilsen of Ward Hayden and the Outliers opening.

“This is the perfect time of year for a little hometown show. Top of Pelham is really intimate, it’s a really cool vibe, you get a great view of downtown. Its going to be a great night, it’ll definitely sell out.”

For tickets and more information on Thursday’s show, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...