Vance Gilbert

Saturday, December 10, 2022
Doors: 6pm | Show: 8:30pm

Join us before the show for dinner & drinks in The Lounge, our full-service restaurant & bar which opens at 6pm. See the menu & make reservations here.

World Cafe Live is a nonprofit independent venue where artistry meets social impact. Every purchase helps support our free music education & community programs.

Covid Policy: Unless otherwise stated, World Cafe Live will follow the City of Philadelphia’s current Covid-19 guidelines.

Vance Gilbert
WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter | YouTube

“If Joni Mitchell and Richie Havens had a love child, with Rodney Dangerfield as the midwife, the results might have been something close to the great Vance Gilbert.” As the above quote from Richmond magazine suggests, Vance Gilbert defies stereotypes. It’s little wonder then that he also exceeds expectations. In this case, those two qualities go hand in hand. “I’m black, I sing, I play an acoustic guitar, and I don’t play the blues,” Gilbert insists. That may be a broad statement, but it rings with truth.

What he does do is make memorable music, as evidenced by the 13 albums he’s released so far, as well as the mark he’s made on the folk and acoustic music scenes in general. Over the course of a prolific career that extends back to the early ’90s, he’s recorded with his good friend Ellis Paul and shared stages worldwide with Aretha Franklin, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Guthrie, the Milk Carton Kids, George Carlin (150+ shows), Anita Baker, the Subdudes, Paul Reiser and any number of others.

He’s also made a prominent presence at some of the world’s most prestigious gatherings, among them the Newport, Winnipeg, Rocky Mountain, Calgary, Ottawa, and Falcon Ridge folk festivals, the Kate Wolf Music Festival, and Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival and Mullum Music Festival. “There was also that one nude festival in Maryland,” Gilbert recalls. “I don’t recall the name of that one, but I have to admit that the name wasn’t the first thing I would remember.”

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when buzz started spreading in the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking 'em dead at open mics. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Vance started out hoping to be a jazz singer, and then discovered his affinity for the storytelling sensibilities of acoustic folk music. Once word got out about Gilbert's stage-owning singing and playing, Shawn Colvin invited him to be special guest on her Fat City Tour. Noted not only for being the ever consummate performer, Gilbert has recorded 12 albums, including 4 for Philo/Rounder Records and a duo album with friend Ellis Paul. Along with being opener of choice for artists as varied as Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie, and Anita Baker, 2006 and 2007 found Gilbert opening 140+ shows for comedian George Carlin. Most recently he’s the opener of choice for Paul Reiser and The Subdudes. Considered by many to be an integral part of the national folk scene, Gilbert's approach to the acoustic singer songwriter idiom is significant. Gilbert's compositions, while frequently employing sophisticated melodies and harmonies that attest to his jazz roots, remain sublime attestations to the storyteller's craft. He even has a tune on a Grammy Nominated children’s album. How rounded is that?