Summer Concert Series: Small Town Romance
Time & Location
Facebook: Small Town Romance
Sound Clip: Here Without You
Small Town Romance is an acoustic duo from Northern California, made up of members Peter Johnson and Cassidy Joy. The two first met back in September of 2015, through performing at The Holebrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, California. A mutual, musical courtship was sparked from Day One, as both were equally impressed with the other’s voice. Johnson began to teach Joy a variety of duets, as well as a large handful of his own original songs, and the pair would frequently join each other at small gigs throughout town, experimenting with a variety of genres, and branching out with Johnson’s own original songs. Both would continue to develop their own projects individually – Johnson with his electric band Crashing Boars, and Joy with her own rotation of guitarists and harmony singers – yet would often include the other to sit in for shows and events, as their collaboration vividly stood out. By 2017, the two decided it was the right time to join forces as a duo, as they’d built up in impressive setlist from material used the past two years. Together, they form a magnetic pair when armed with only voice and guitar. Their shared breadth of musical influences makes for a rare and unique experience. They draw style, song selection and influence not only from American artists such as Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Stevie Nicks, but bring to their performance many levels of influence from several British folk singers and writers – influence that bleeds through not only in their vocals and musicianship, but largely within Johnson’s writing and arranging of original songs. Fate was sealed when Johnson first taught Joy a duet written by British legend Richard Thompson, which sparked a hunger for Thompson’s vocal and guitar stylings, and sent Joy deep into the music of the British Isles on a mission of inspiration. She returned to Johnson with material from artists such as Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, Maddy Prior, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and to this day the two continue to bring alive traditional music and folk songs that have been alive for centuries.
The power of their vocals together makes up a large amount of their appeal as a pair. Johnson’s versatility as a musician allows for performances both acoustic and electric, bringing his talents on the guitar, bass and hurdy gurdy to any given song. Joy’s wide vocal range enables for them to be open minded and unlimited when choosing songs to perform. As of 2018, the two have begun writing together, beginning the library of dual-credited original songs to use for both studio recordings, and live performances. They have performed with a handful of different musicians and accompanists, aside from performing as an acoustic duo, and are headed for one of their region’s largest festivals.
Peter Johnson is a singer, guitarist and songwriter who has performed locally as a solo act, as well as with his band Crashing Boars, and other ensembles. He was a member of the beloved Bay Area cover band The Fog 5, playing guitar and keyboards for five years. Locally, he has been a featured soloist with the Nevada County Concert Band, and served as Vocal Director for A Simple Offering, a tribute to the music of the Carpenters. Johnson earned degrees in Voice Performance and Theory/Composition from the University of the Pacific, and did graduate study in Voice at the University of Cincinnati. He has been a performer of the opera and theater stage and a recitalist, noted for his interpretations of 20th century vocal literature and French art song.
Cassidy Joy is an experienced vocalist in an undefined box. She has been a featured vocalist with a variety of groups, such as Cousin Cricket, The Rayos + The Ancient Wave Tribe, and Objects In The Mirror. In June of 2016, she performed at California WorldFest with Jay Tausig, her debut on a festival stage. In 2016 and 2017, she made appearances at Terrapin Crossroads (San Rafael, CA) with members of Achilles Wheel and The Grateful Bluegrass Boys, and in 2018, began professionally performing alongside fellow singer Karen Woerner. Joy has earned respect from musicians and promoters alike for her ability to adapt to any genre, be it Classic Rock, Folk, Celtic, Country, and even Jazz. While her comfort zone lies in the Traditional, Celtic and Folk-Rock category, it was her production of “Simple Dreams: The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt” in November of 2016 that put her name on the professional musician map. Joy not only directed and produced, but also starred as Lead Vocalist and Bandleader for the show. She since then has lead a handful of musicians and vocalists through smaller shows of her own, both acoustic and electric. Joy largely credits Johnson for her repertoire of songs, as it was he who first introduced her to the likes of songs from Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention, propelling her headfirst into the love of the genre, and inspiring her to study and learn material which has broadened her horizons, and gained them the opportunity to appear on Festival stages under her name.