Wednesday, April 14 2021 | Bethlehem's Unavailable |
Saturday, July 24 2021 | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm | Cafe Improv | Paul Robeson Center, Princeton NJ
Rise (Oh My City)
Mother of Exiles
Only Available at Live Shows
Only Available at Live Shows
10 Artists You Should Know From Philadelphia
The open-mic circuit surrounding the Philadelphia folk community is an ever-changing thing; for every aspiring artist that turns up regularly at their neighborhood’s weekly showcase, there are three more that make the rounds around the region, give it a go, and move on. The minimalist jazz-tinged duo Bethlehem and Sad Patrick is an example of permanence that sprung from this fluid environment; guitarist Patrick Arkins connected with the captivating vocalist Bethlehem Roberson at his local open mic, and they began working together to fuse her poetry with his Wes Montgomery-flavored phrasings. Their new album, Love and Other Struggles, encompasses a range of themes from romance to racism to rhapsodies about life in Philadelphia, all told through moving melodies.
Bethlehem and Sad Patrick find strength in minimalism on Love and Other Struggles
Philly vocal and guitar duo Bethlehem and Sad Patrick are back with a heartfelt new album called Love and Other Struggles. The local pair use minimalism to their advantage, crafting delicate and thoughtful songs about everything from love to life in the city to the fight against racism and intolerance with a gentle poetic edge.
The duo met by chance at an open mic, and continue to filter that homespun, improvisational quality the album’s 14 tracks, giving even the most carefully planned out songs an air of spontaneity. Informed by a combination of free jazz and traditional folk, Bethlehem’s raw yet soaring vocals are met with Patrick’s plucky guitar style for a singular sound that’s sure to translate even more stunningly in person than it does on the record.
The Key Studio Sessions: Bethlehem and Sad Patrick
If you’re in search of evidence that the Philly open mic scene is very much thriving, look no further than Bethlehem and Sad Patrick.
The local duo blends the focused minimalism and poetic lyrics of folk tradition with simmering, freewheeling jazz and blues — slick guitars, soaring vocals, nuanced melodies. And it all came together by chance.
A few years back, Patrick Arkins was running an open mic at what is now Malelani Cafe in Germantown, when Bethlehem Roberson stopped by one night to sing with her family. Arkins was blown away, and when he saw her returning to the series on the regular to perform, he approached her with the idea of singing one of his songs.
This led to her singing more of his songs, which led to Bethlehem and Sad Patrick’s first home-recorded EP release in 2012. The two continued performing and collaborating, recording Bethlehem’s 2013 solo release Bigger Than Music in Sad Patrick’s spare bedroom — a space he dubbed Purple Room Studios. It’s also where they worked on songs and sounds for Did You Ever Do?, the first Bethlehem and Sad Patrick LP, released in 2015.