Lacuna — an intimate evening of musical improvisation |

Lacuna — an intimate evening of musical improvisation

Guitarist Tom Hamilton and pianist Holly Bowling perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center this Saturday

Guitarist Tom Hamilton and pianist Holly Bowling perform together on Saturday evening.
Vilar Performing Arts Center/Courtesy Photo

Pianist Holly Bowling and Guitarist Tom Hamilton are known for conversing on stages throughout the country through their instruments, creating an intimate improvisation each and every show.

Tom Hamilton is a songwriter, musician and producer best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for the bands Brothers Past, American Babies, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids and Electron.

Whether behind the piano on mountainous cliff, at a hallowed venue such as Carnegie Hall or playing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most legendary musicians in history, solo pianist Holly Bowling subverts convention with virtuosic playing, emotional immersion and a thirst for invention. In 2015, she arrived as an exciting outlier on “Distillation Of A Dream: The Music Of Phish Reimagined For Solo Piano.” As her profile rose, she delivered “Better Left Unsung” only a year later. For this triple-LP, she re-arranged iconic moments from the Grateful Dead on her piano. She went on to share the stage with artists including The Dead’s Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Jim James, Branford Marsalis, Don Was, Robert Randolph and Greensky Bluegrass.

Along the way, she graced the bills of Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads and Haynes’s annual Christmas Jam and unveiled the concert recording Live at the Old Church. In 2020, she launched a series of living room livestreams chronicled on the eight-volume “Alone Together: The Living Room Sessions,” highlighted by her innovative re-imaginings of Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and many others. Bowling has received acclaimed from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Relix to name a few.

On “Lacuna,” their first duo recording together released in November, Hamilton and Bowling explore the outer limits of improvisation through a series of ambient excursions that showcase their powerful musical connection.

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“We’ve never talked about our playing, like, ever,” Hamilton said.

“It’s never something that we’ve had to speak about,” Bowling added.

The two met at a small festival in Maryland in 2016, when Hamilton invited Bowling to sit in on keys with his then-band American Babies.

“It’s always really fun when you play with someone for the first time, and you feel like you’re instantly speaking the same language,” Bowling said.

To some, lacuna means “a gap, an unfilled space, or an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played” – a place where Hamilton and Bowling enjoy being and creating magic through improvisation. The title came from one of the many books Bowling read during quarantine.

It’s a fitting title, considering Bowling and Hamilton are both renowned for their music they spontaneously create onstage, filling the gaps within composed songs.

“I’ve felt more and more comfortable in those in-between spaces,” Bowling said. “That’s really where I’ve been wanting to spend my time, and with this project, that’s the entire thing.”

Upcoming performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Centers include “Christmas with The 5 Browns” (Tuesday); “Rhythmic Circus Holiday Shuffle” (Dec. 27); and The Doo Wop Project’s “Holidays in Harmony” (Dec. 29).

Visit for tickets and more information.


What: Lacuna: Tom Hamilton & Holly Bowling

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

Cost: $28

More information: Visit

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