Two Cents in the Till is a contemporary Vermont string band with shades of bluegrass and old time. Noted for the authenticity of their homegrown original compositions on their 2018 debut record Greenland, Two Cents in the Till exhibits a reverence for roots music infused with a fresh, modern perspective. “It takes a lot of lonely hours in the woodshed to sound this effortless … Two Cents in the Till are legitimate heirs to the Vermont tradition of great porch music” (Boland, Seven Days).
At live shows, audiences will also hear unique renditions of traditional favorites and surprising songs plucked from other genres. These three ladies and a gent deliver tasteful picking with three-part harmonies and have entertained audiences in venues throughout Vermont, as well as performed at New England festivals, including Joe Val Showcase, Bluegrass on the Bogs, and Rattling Brook.
Two Cents in the Till is Natalie Babij on mandolin and vocals, Kimberley McKee on clawhammer banjo and vocals, Amabel Kylee Síorghlas on guitar and vocals, and Edward Sutton on bass and vocals.
Amabel began her music “career” singing “Alone” from Bambi in the second grade talent show (sad, but true!). She went on to play and record in original rock bands in the ‘80s while sporting a eggplant-colored spiked mullet hairdo (no kidding!). She studied music and writing at UNH, as well as voice with Mark Baxter in Boston. Eventually she became enamored
with roots music and bluegrass, frequenting festivals in the Southwest, then in New England, and going to jam sessions as often as possible in her home state of Vermont. Playing this music brings her great joy.
Natalie grew up playing piano and cello and singing Ukrainian folk songs. As a teenager, sometimes her parents would tune into a local bluegrass radio show; she hated it, and begged them to turn it off. Over time, her musical explorations found her captivated by the sound of acoustic string picking, and she caught the bluegrass bug. She bought a cheap mandolin off Craigslist a few weeks after attending her first Northwest String Summit festival and began the journey toward playing and singing the kind of music that feeds her soul and lifts her heels.
Kim's mother taught her harmonies at a young age, but her slow and steady banjo journey began after college after watching some old videos of Roscoe Holcomb.
In 2013, she and Natalie decided to move somewhere together to "form a band" after a lively weekend at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. It worked! Kim's
bandmates kindly humor her weird banjo chords, enthusiasm for classic rock covers and half baked new song ideas.
Originally from Rochester, New York, Edward moved to Vermont as a proud transplant in the 1970s. He began his musical journey in grade school with the clarinet, and later moved on to play guitar, bass, and mandolin. He has played in many Vermont bands over the years including the Burr and Burton Jazz Ensemble, the Sage City Symphony, the Warrens, Circadia, Red Thread, The Mandolinquents, Longford Row, Hardscrabble, and the Dale and Darcy Band.
In addition to playing bass with Two Cents in The Till, he also plays guitar with Southtown Bluegrass Band, and mandolin with J.C. Sutton & Sons band. In July 2014, he was quietly minding his own business, playing mandolin at his campsite at the Grey Fox Bluegrass festival, when Amabel, Natalie, and Kim strolled over and asked him to play bass with them, to see how it sounded, and here we are today, still at it!