Cold Chocolate is a groovy Americana band that fuses bluegrass, folk, and rock to create a sound all their own. With tight three-part harmony and skilful musicianship, this trio from Boston is impressing audiences throughout New England and beyond. Since their formation in 2011, Cold Chocolate has quickly gained recognition for their original songs and high-energy shows. The band has shared bills with Leftover Salmon and David Grisman, and regularly performs at venues and music festivals up and down the East Coast.
Guitarist/songwriter Ethan Robbins began his bluegrass career at Oberlin College. A founding member of The Outhouse Troubadours, an Oberlin Bluegrass Phenomenon, he began to explore how this hard-driving fast-paced genre could be stretched. A classical violinist from age four, Ethan fell in love with the guitar when he turned fourteen and his father bought him five quintessential albums: The Band’s “Music from Big Pink,” Bob Dylan’s “Bringing it all Back Home,” John Hartford’s “Steam Powered Aereo-plane,” Hank Williams “Live at the Grand Ole Opry,” and the Grateful Dead’s “Workingman’s Dead.” Ever since, Ethan has attempted to bring those raw, rootsy sounds into his own original material.
Ethan met Cold Chocolate upright bassist Kirsten Lamb while at Oberlin. Born into a musical family, Kirsten became a multi-instrumentalist from an early age. At thirteen, she shifted her focus to the upright bass, as its versatility was a good fit for her growing musical curiosity. She graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory and, in 2015, earned a masters in the Contemporary Improvisation Department from the New England Conservatory. Having been called part of “one of the finest rhythm sections ever to be fetched up in the name of bluegrass” by Mickey Clark of AmericanaUK magazine, Kirsten’s bass work in Cold Chocolate captivates audiences.
In 2011, the loose-wristed Ariel Bernstein joined Cold Chocolate on percussion, completing the ensemble. As a student of Jim Tiller, the Principal Percussionist and Assistant Principal Tympanist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Ariel earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Percussion for Performance at the State University of New York, Geneseo. A master of restraint, Ariel brings a light and tasteful groove to Cold Chocolate’s tunes, filling out their sound and heightening the band’s live energy. In addition to playing in Cold Chocolate, Ariel can often be found at Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, engineering the records of many of scene's finest acoustic musicians, including Josh Ritter, The Ballroom Thieves, Darlingside, and Mr Sun.