Stolen Sweets at home in an earlier era

Group will play music from the 1920s-'40s in Ridgefield

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter



If you go

• What: The Stolen Sweets, in concert.

• When: 7:30 p.m. March 12.

• Where: Old Liberty Theater, 115 N. Main St., Ridgefield.

• Cost: $15.

• Information: http://www.oldlib...; 360-887-7260.

If you’ve ever felt like you were born too late, you can step back in time at Ridgefield’s Old Liberty Theater on Saturday to listen to the sounds of the 1930s as performed by The Stolen Sweets.

“All of us in the band, we joke we were born in the wrong era,” said Jen Bernard, a vocalist in the Portland band. “We just love old theaters. It’s where this music was originally played.”

The Stolen Sweets started in 2004 as a one-off tribute to The Boswell Sisters, who gained popularity in their hometown of New Orleans for their tight three-part harmonies, then became nationwide radio stars in the 1930s.

Bernard, Erin Sutherland and Lara Michell evoke the Boswells’ voices, while David Langenes, Pete Krebs and Keith Brush play guitar and bass. Instead of the piano, clarinet and horns that accompanied the Boswells, gypsy jazz guitar backs up the voices of the Sweets.

After the tribute show, band members decided they weren’t ready to let go of the sound and instead expanded their repertoire to include material from the 1920s through the 1940s. They also let in a male voice once in a while.

“It’s fun to trade leads,” Bernard said. “We enjoy the stylistic diversity that comes with different singers. I like the kind of blues dirges. Erin likes the upbeat danceable poppy sound. David loves the heart-wrenching ballads.”

The Sweets' first CD, “Shuffle off to Buffalo,” consists entirely of cover songs, but their sophomore effort, “Sleepytime in Chinatown,” includes six original works as well.

The band seems to hit a sweet spot for people yearning for something authentic.

“As we get farther and farther away from our humanity in terms of the digitization of everything, there’s a greater hunger for what’s real,” Bernard said. “Old music is a way for people to connect with that.”

Concerts draw people of all ages and walks of life.

“That is the coolest thing about being in this band,” Bernard said. “We get little kids. We get the swing dancers. We get our crazy punk-rock friends in their mid-30s. We get golden-ager grandma and grandpas who remembers these tunes. We get our parents. There’s something for everybody in our music.”