Death Vessel is a neo-traditional folk band from Rhode Island, signed to Sub Pop and ATP Recordings, and headed by Joel Thibodeau. Their first album, Stay Close was released on North East Indie in 2005 to critical acclaim.Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Kennebunkport, Maine, Thibodeau moved to Boston, Massachusetts as a teenager and later to Providence, Rhode Island. From Providence he moved to Brooklyn, New york where he lived until moving back to Rhode Island in 2007. While in Providence he founded the band String Builder with his brother Alec and by early 2003 was playing as part of a duo with Erik Carlson, of Area C (formerly of the Purple Ivy Shadows), who he had met while living in Boston. Thibodeau and Carlson worked closely on the songs that would make up the band's first album, and performed together frequently during this period. A friend from his hometown, Micah Blue Smaldone, formerly of the Pinkerton Thugs and Out Cold also played with Thibodeau at this time and the two have toured as a duo as well. With Carlson (who co-wrote the song "Deep In the Horchata"), Smaldone, Todd Barneson, Brendan Skwire (of Jim and Jennie & The Pinetops), and Pete Donnelly (of The Figgs), Thibodeau began recording what would become Death Vessel's 2005 debut, Stay Close.
Stay Close, was widely heralded for its solid songwriting, its musical ingenuity and for the unique quality of Thibodeau's crooning. His soprano register is exceptionally high for a male. Death Vessel has toured with Iron & Wine, Low, Jos Gonzlez, and The Books, among others. In 2006 the band was signed to Seattle's venerated Sub Pop Records and London's ATP Recordings. Both labels gave Stay Close a wider release in their respective territories.