Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Radiator

Holla Holla!

New, free format, independent radio station in town! If you haven't heard yet, now you do - and please help spread the word!!!

105.9 FM - WOMM-LP - The Radiator! Various local artists, musicians, music lovers, and other various peeps have shows during different slots. Think WRUV, except instead of being college supported, it's community supported. Radio Bean folks are the big supporters who helped get it off the ground, which right there shows it's gonna be innovative, eclectic and just plain GOOD.

It just launched and can be heard on the FM dial. The website - - is live, but the internet streaming and show roster isn't ready to be up yet - that's for January. So, tune your radios and stay tuned for more from what I predict to keep radio alive and loved in the Queen City and beyond!

And, hey - if you have a show on it - post a comment and let readers know!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Turkey Bouillon Mafia

Death Jam. That is one of the first words that struck me when reading some descriptions Turkey Bouillon Mafia uses to describe themselves. I am not sure if I would use that word to describe the music myself, but it certainly describes the band's personality - as a whole or as the members that make up the band. With the core of guitar, bass, keys, and drums, there is usually an impressive rotating cast of players who get up on stage - from horns to rappers. Check out their website - (the bouillon is too much of a pain to spell according to inside sources) or My Space Page to see out the cast Who's Who.

I went to see them this past week at Metronome - quite a while since my last show. I have seen these guys since the beginning as back in the early 21st century we all hung at Valencia, a fun little hippie dive bar that is now home to the hip sushi joint, The Asiana House. I also lived across the street from a few of them and enjoyed many fun, "neighborly" interactions with the bouillon lot.

They have since grown into a well-respected touring band bringing a lot of attitude and energy to their shows as well as a harder edge of excellent jam musicianship than many in the jam genre - a big part of what makes them a key player in the Vermont music scene and much farther beyond. The show last week was much more jazz influenced than I remember, a credit to their continuing evolution as a band, which seamlessly was able to transition into a fantastic rock inspired Led Zeppelin tribute. They make you dance, but, more importantly, they make you listen. And what I find to be one of their most endearing qualities - especially for death jam - is their unwavering ability to keep it real like no one else. These guys like being rock stars, are funny and social dudes, and hide behind nothing. Where they go from here - exploring various musical boundaries no doubt - I hope they keep their wit, humor, and death jam realness. Rock On.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holiday Music Picks

I admit it, I love holiday music. Not cheesy, pop star renditions, but taking traditional secular and religious songs and carols, and creating musical beauty by evoking feeling and giving meaning to the season. This is due to my song inspired background starting with church choir singing to barbershop harmonies which moved to talent show performances and years of chamber chorus, large choirs, musicals, and difficult choral arrangements. For this music, my heart runs deep.

In that spirit, I'd like to share with you all some holiday music performances throughout Vermont this season that I recommend from favorites of my past.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Series - What makes a holiday pops concert so enjoyable is the distinctive use of instruments that evoke the sounds of the holidays. It's kind of like relating certain scents to a memory. Performances are December 7, 8, & 9 in Barre, Burlington, and Rutland. Check out for performance details.

The Vermont Mozart Festival
- Sure to deliver unique, professional performances during their various seasons throughout the year, the J.S. Bach Christmas Oratorio brings about a beautiful Advent and Christmas musical celebration. Performances are in Stowe and Burlington December 13 and 14 and details are at

Counterpoint Presents Christmastide - Vermont's professional 12-voice vocal ensemble sings music from the West Indies and Africa to Francis Poulenc's "Four Christmas Motets" and Morton Lauridsen's haunting "O Magnum Mysterium." The group is touring over the state of Vermont now through mid-December. More information is at Counterpoint's website at

Bella Voce - Vermont's women's chamber chorus, Bella Voce, performs Mary Had a Baby - A Suite of Christmas Spirituals, a new Christmas Cantata by Robert DeCormier. Performances are in Stowe and Burlington December 8 and 9. More info is at

Lessons and Carols - Lessons and Carols are one of my most favorite holiday music memories. While at Marist College I sang with the chamber choir and performed in the candlelight Lessons and Carols concert every year in the college chapel. It always brought a feeling of magic to me and I greatly look forward to attending one at Middlebury College this season, my first since 1997! The Middlebury College Chamber Singers perform two concerts on December 9 at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm at the Mead Memorial Chapel on campus. Another Lessons and Carols for those in Southern Vermont is at The Old First Church in Bennington on December 16 at 7:30 pm.

Blanche Moyse Chorale - Also in Southern Vermont, the Blanche Moyse Chorale performs their holiday concert on December 9 at 3:00 pm at the All Souls Church in West Brattleboro. The chorale is the auditioned chorus of the Brattleboro Music Center.

Northsong Winter Music Concert
- The Northsong Chamber Choir brings holiday cheer to the Northeast Kingdom with their community oriented concerts on December 8 at 7:30 pm at the Barton United Church and again on December 9 at 4:00 pm at the Newport United Church.

Monteverdi Music School Dessert Reception & Gala Concert
- This is another one I will be attending. Christmas music and desserts? Count me in! This concert will be December 14 at 8:00 pm at the T.W. Wood Gallery & Art Center in Montpelier.

Anyone have any others to share?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Swing Noire

I was recently introduced to what I describe as folksy, bluesy, jazz - definitely up my ally. The band, based somewhere in Vermont, is called Swing Noire. Cool name and even cooler sound. I am not even going to paraphrase their great job at press writing, so here is a well written description of the music of Swing Noire:

"Some call the music gypsy jazz, some hot swing, in either case it is acoustic music in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. These two jazz cats from France are credited with bringing this unique music into the world during the 1930's, 1940's, and early 1950's, and creating some of the first jazz-based music outside of the African-American tradition."

Swing Noire is made up of David Gusakov on violin, Rob McCuen of lead guitar, Jim McCuen of double bass, and Jared Volpe on rhythm guitar. More info on these talented and well versed musicians can be found at their website at You can listen to some of these tunes on their site as well as on their My Space Page.

Hopefully they'll "swing" by Radio Bean sometime soon so I can see them in my backyard. In the meantime, they have two great gigs lined up that are perfectly timed and placed for a warming winter night out:

~ Saturday, December 15th, Carol's Hungry Mind, Middlebury. 7:30-10:30 pm, $10

~ Saturday, January 5th, The Langdon Street Cafe. 8:30-midnight, tips and guest appearance by Kris Gruen

Mmm, this stuff is sexy - bring a date or engage in an I Spy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

State of Mind

What is your State of Mind? What are your Three Needs? These are all questions that, when asked to varying groups of those of us on the never ending quest in search of truth and answers, can lead to thought provoking conversations - the kind you thought you'd have in college, yet somehow that was one expectation that fell short.

This is why I find these questions to be spectacular names for Vermont based music magazine, State of Mind Music Magazine and Burlington based nightspot, The Three Needs. Unfortunately Three Needs does not offer live music, or I would frequent there much more often and would also write about in this blog. Now, State of Mind, they offer music.

According the the most recent issue's editor's note, State of Mind began as a group of friends who kept on touch emailing about shows, making accommodations to travel and see live music, and all things that seem quite similar to those following Phish back in the 90's. This crew, however, (whether it was Phish, I cannot say with authority) took it a step further and created a mailing list which I believe somehow turned into the website, Live Music Beth (archive site). I first learned of and met Live Music Beth when working a PR gig for Nectar's back in 2004, when State of Mind was still a - state of mind.

Not long after that I began seeing Live Music Beth and co-editor Mike (now State of Mike) handing out a black and white newsprint magazine that was copy heavy with extensive articles about well known and not-so-well-known bands, varying a range of genres. These magazines were the first issues of State of Mind. I remember coming out of Higher Ground shows on freezing winter nights and there were Live Music Beth and State of Mike, all bundled up and full of smiles, handing out copy after copy of State of Mind. Some were taken and read, some taken and left on car floors, and unfortunately, many strewn around as litter, similar to fliers you get at larger shows promoting a late night performance of some similar sounding band. I have never actually asked Live Music Beth about these early days, but it would have broken my heart to see that. But still they wrote, and published, and got advertising, and stood outside, show after show, promoting State of Mind...

Now, they have published their 25th issue and have gotten semi-glossy and in color. The style is still lengthy interviews, reviews, and other articles about bands of the day - bands you may not hear about in most other music mediums. And in this day and age of short and sweet, I find it extremely refreshing they have stuck to their state of mind. These are well written articles on music with a backing of honest journalism. And as for that quest for truth - join the it and check out -

They also have State of Mind Radio and you can befriend them on My Space.

Oh, and you can still see Live Music Beth, State of Mike, and other State of Mind contributors handing out the magazine after shows. Only this time, there is no litter - and that isn't only because the world is greening up. Distribution has saturated the Northeast border at this point and here in Vermont, we can be proud of another music phenomenon that grew out of the Green Mountains.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Advance Music

I feel as if I am slacking on the Vermont Music front! The fall brings so much music to Vermont and I find myself every fall at Higher Ground more than ever with the fabulous influx of music that comes our way. I think it's a mixture of students being back and the (hopeful) promise of snow that keeps people away from nightly excursions and keeping them close to the slopes. This makes fall a prime time to see live music, but much of the music I have see lately is not that of Vermont origin!

I have had a recent re-uniting with Advance Music however, that is certainly worth noting. Advance Music is Vermont's premier music store and as the ads on 102.7, The Album Station state, you've got to go inside to really see how vast this place is. I had my first experiences with Advance Music while searching for the sheet music to obscure wedding songs as the resident "wedding singer" for various friends. In my visits, I saw a posting once (that I did not see in Seven Days classifieds, another good place to look for musicians - wanted) looking for a female singer to add harmonies to an existing band. I responded and this was the band, Ekis, I sang with for a little over a year several years back. I also returned to Advance to inquire about and purchase my Shure 58 microphone, mike stand, and cords. I remember the service to be helpful and was quite satisfied with my own personal microphone, which still works, though seldom used.

And now, over the past month, I have found Advance Music once again to be extremely helpful as I was to be "the wedding singer" at my awesomely Phishy friend's wedding last week. Being my Phish friends, the chosen song for my pipes was Waste, the wedding song amongst many Phishheads over the past several years (many Phishheads are now at marrying age believe it or not). Waste is a song whose guitar chords are readily available on the internet, but not available in sheet music. I was able to find all the sheet music the bride and groom chose for the ceremony, a collection of classic and modern rock and was super pumped that it was available within a day or ordering, an Advance attribute which made the organist very happy. But, no Waste music for the organist meant no playing of the song Waste. As it so happens (and often is the case in Vermont), Advance Music owner, Mike Trombley (the cheery voice on the Album Station's ads) was also friends of the bride and groom and offered only a few days before the wedding to learn the guitar chords to Waste, in the key I was singing, and played the song at the ceremony so I could sing about wasting time with the love of your life for the rest of your life! Happy, happy ending to the "wedding singer" drama!!!

In chatting with Mike, I was able to easily see why he is so enthusiastic in his ads, which are some of the best ad copy this Vermont publicist has heard. Because they're true! Mike loves that store and without a doubt his actions echo the words that come across the air to fellow Vermonters. I also learned Mike plays guitar in long standing Vermont rock band, Quadra, who I have even seen play on past Lake Champlain boat cruises. How's that for Vermont connecting!

If you are a musician or if you are interested in music, stop by this Burlington, Vermont landmark of the music scene. It's fun just to watch musicians at play in their own personal wonderland. And, as holiday season approaches, if you are buying for a musician, geez - get 'em a gift certificate - they will be stoked, psyched, and most of all, thankful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mike Gordon Gets Bonzed in Mud City

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself and reading this title after I typed it was certainly worth a chuckle. But its true!!! As most reading this should know, Mike Gordon was the bass player for the heartbreaking jam band, Phish. I will say no more about Phish because they are in the past and there's a reason things in your past don't make it into your present. Mike Gordon is the present.

As I've several times mentioned Honky Tonk Tuesdays at Radio Bean in previous posts, many would know Mike Gordon is a regular sit-in bass and piano player at these rambunctious and fun musical sessions. Along with his many side projects and being a regular dude about town at this point, it seems like Mike is spreading the love and recently played with the Mud City Ramblers at Bonz Smokehouse and Grill in Morrisville, a place I have yet to get to and keep meaning to drag my Burlington arse to sooner rather than later.

I hear great things about Bonz and love the whole Route 15 area of Vermont in general (Mud City Ramblers are from Johnson). I think it's time to follow my own advice and get out of Burlington to a show in a fun Vermont town. Anyone up for a road trip?

My great friend Shiva who lives up that way is the master taper and photographer for many-o-bands in the Route 15 vicinity and has so awesomely provided me with streaming audio of the show and a picture!

Mud City Ramblers
2007-09-05 Bonz Smokehouse, Morrisville, VT

Audio Stream

And thanks Mike Gordon for being a cool dude and keeping the spirit of randomness alive (and thanks for playing with my sweet drummer luvah a few weeks ago as well!)

Love and Light All!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Traditional Medicinals

Blue Grass. Green Mountains.

That's the tagline for the band, Traditional Medicinals. My guess is besides having some great musicians, these dudes have some guys in marketing in their band. Oh, not a guess - they do for a fact!

Secret Tip: It is a good idea to have someone in the band who works in marketing.

The Traditional Medicinals are fun to tap your foot to, fun to listen to, and super fun to watch. Their music is bluegrass and not all stylized out, but traditional - hence the use of the word in their name. And they are one of my favorite local bands to watch. Instead of just playing to an audience with a secret code of communication so many bands use, they actually look at each other, sometimes play facing each other, and genuinely make their shows an intimate experience - like you were just peaking in a window at their rehearsal. Oh, and they're nice - which I would expect a bluegrass band to be. I mean, I couldn't imagine a bluegrass band to be mean, could you? Does anyone know of any mean bluegrass bands?

Back to Blue Grass, Green Mountains. Check out the Traditional Medicinals next Friday, October 19th at Radio Bean and be on the look out for them throughout the year. I am hoping to run into them on some of my Vermont Vibes adventures - then I can really enjoy the Blue Grass in the Green Mountains.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Healthy Hippie

I have a new gal pal in town named Taraleigh, otherwise known as The Healthy Hippie. She has a website -, a weekly newsletter you can subscribe to on that site, and recently moved to Burlington, Vermont to launch her new magazine - The Healthy Hippie. Taraleigh has an incredible background in dance, movement, nutrition, music, counseling, wellness, and probably a bunch of other things I am missing. And, in the true entrepreneurial spirit of a women, has combined her talents into a varied career reaching audiences in all of her backgrounds. I think the best way to see what she does is to visit her at The Healthy Hippie website. But I did want to let folks know some of the awesome and fun work Taraleigh does!

~ Designs health, nutritional and movement regimens for individuals or groups and consultation information is at her website.

~ Provides fabulous news about bands, recipes, healthy eating and energy tips, and tips for being healthy at shows and festivals.

~ Offers a cool line of clothing made with recycled clothes for children and adults.

~ In Vermont, currently teaches a dance class at The Movement Center and a wellness class at On Track Gym.

~ Writes columns for Groovelink Magazine and Relevant Times.

~ Teaches dance, movement, and wellness classes/workshops at music festivals such as Gathering of the Vibes, Phanphest, Wormtown, Camp Creek, Baconfest, JamCruise, and may be teaching a class at Nectars in the near future!

So, VermontMusic readers - check her out, subscribe to her newsletter, and help spread the word!!

Love and Light All!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

American Machine

"We Americans love to hear stories about us."

This is the opening line in Jim Lantz's Note From the Playwright in the playbill for American Machine - A Play About Us. Now, if more movie makers would follow this so true advice and make more movies about us, I, and I think many other folks, would be happier movie goers. American Machine is a play though, not a movie, and I am writing about it tonight for three reasons:

1.) It did have music (note, this is a music blog) which was done by one of my faves, Brett Hughes with vocals enhanced by the phenomenal Shannon McNally, who incidentally are both on tour as we speak.
2.) Jim Lantz was the first playwright to ever approach me about the potential to do publicity for a theatrical show. I have done work for shows before, but never approached directly by the writer, and this felt good. The work didn't actually turn out to be a gig, but the concept of the play certainly was of interest on a personal level and I immediately respected Jim's style, honesty, and energy.
3.) I just returned home from watching the play and want to share it with my readers, since it still has over a good week running at the FlynnSpace and you should see it!

As an inactive actress myself (not so much by choice, but having takien the public relations career path instead, although I am still a professional storyteller and my life is always a stage), I do not find myself in attendance of many theatrical productions. This is probably for two reasons - (a) I probably deep down would rather be on stage and (b) I spend my time and money going to rock concerts. I also think I have often been bored by overly done, probably over-my-head productions and prefer movies on my couch. And these reasons is part of what made American Machine stunning.

Plot: Part parable on the American dream, part cautionary tale taken from the headlines, American Machine tells the story of a great factory that once made parts for classic American cars. As a makeshift family of six friends comes together each night to work, they're soon faced with rumors that their employer will be downsizing—or even closing altogether. As they begin working on a new order—making buckets and mops for Wal-Mart—the prospect of being split up looms before them, and their dedication to the once-proud factory is put to the test.

From the moment I sat down, I felt like I was looking through a large window into the back of a factory building. Everything about the set was exact - old wood, falling down brick walls, vintage Coke machine, orange plastic chairs - it was truly authentic and very detailed, which I admired. The set served three action locations, but all worked well almost as one set, as the lights did a tremendous job (as they should in any small theater) at changing scenes, as opposed to changing sets.

After watching the first few interactions, once all characters were introduced, I was sucked in. The FlynnSpace is small and intimate and I was up front making me very close to the action. But, instead of feeling weird because I was so close, I felt like I was watching a big screen movie because the acting was so right on. From my years of acting on a real stage (and in my own movie) I have learned the number one rule in acting - is re-acting. Re-acting to everything, not so much to take away from the main action, but enough to make it real. American Machine was filled with re-acting which is in my opinion what made it so touching and so real. I was especially entertained with the interactions between the two women. Having worked a third shift job several times in college, while not at a factory, it was still a tedious third shift, I could easily relate to the mood and types of people who work the graveyard shift.

The story and writing was fantastic. I knew it was going to be good, from what I had read, from the buzz that has been about town, and from the first impression I got from Jim when we met at Muddy Waters to chat about publicity. So, I was already going in with high expectations and was definitely touched, if not moved by the content, dialogue, and delivery. Jim Lantz has it right on - "we Americans love to hear stories about us." Maybe we are an egotistical lot, but we're people just the same and we like to know there's always a chance of things getting better. Kudos to all involved and if you can - check it out -

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seth Yacovone and Grateful Dog

I recently had the privilege to attend the most fantastic wedding I have ever been to. One of my first "jam band scene" in Vermont friends, Randi Ploof, married her sweetheart, best friend, and business partner at a very homegrown, low-key, and absolutely beautiful wedding party a few weeks ago in Lincoln, Vermont.

I first met Randi back when I first moved to Vermont in 2000. The guy I was seeing then became good friends with a huge Seth Yacovone fan and we spent a lot of time going to Seth's shows and hence I met another huge fan - Randi. Since then I have gotten to laugh and boogie with Randi at a few various out-of-town parties (my favorite kinds) and always have fun run-ins with her at Higher Ground shows and festivals like moe.down where we're both full of antics!

In more recent years, Randi has been making quite the name for herself as a phenomenal dog groomer, and a little over a year ago opened Grateful Dog Grooming in the center of Hinesburg, Vermont. I could not find a website for Grateful Dog Grooming, but I am sure many of you hear her ads on WCLX - The Album Station and I did find this recent article in the Champlain Business Journal(scroll down a bit).

While the wedding was pure, simple, and earthy in the gorgeous September sunshine of Vermont, the music was ROCKIN'! Seth Yacovone played his heart out all afternoon which was more like a private rock concert than a wedding - just as Randi had hoped is my guess. I haven't seen Seth play in a while and man, does he SHRED!!!! I am definitely back on the Seth Yacovone bandwagon! I found the old website to the Seth Yacovone Band, which is not active as Seth shreds between solo gigs and playing with all sorts of folks, but I wanted to post some info anyway. He is always gigging around Vermont - so check out a show! He can also often be found at Nectars - check out the schedule -

Photo credits to JAFO and State of Mind Music Magazine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Come See Me Sing!

I am a trained singer and even went to college on a singing scholarship, but rarely sing in public anymore as that's not the direction my life has taken, but......this Friday I am singing at Radio Bean with TOR (see post below) and would LOVE to have folks come check it out! I start our set off around 10 pm and moral support is the BEST!!!
Ekis days
a younger me!
as Sally Bowles in Cabaret

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vermont Band Got .down

Yippee!!!!! I am so excited that I get to write about moe.down!!! As I have mentioned before, my personal favorite band in the whole wide world is moe. However, my blog forum prohibits me to write about them because they are not a Vermont band and this blog is for Vermont bands and musicians.
So, the only thing I can say in relation to moe. and Vermont music is that moe. is a very gracious band and very unfilled with their own egos. They hold two stellar festivals each year (which of course I do not miss) and while they certainly play many sets of fantastically wankified guitar and rhythm witchiness, they also invite over a dozen other bands to come rock out with them and share in the magic, fun, music, and merriment.

Vermont jamband veterans and mainstays in the industry themselves, Strangefolk, were invited to headline the mid-afternoon Sunday set at moe.down Labor Day weekend. Moe. may be my favorite band, but Strangefolk squeaks into the top five so I was thrilled to bounce from my Team Vermont campsite to the sloping grassy stage at Snow Ridge Ski Area in Turin, NY. A true air guitar player, several buddies and myself spent the entire set rockin' out on blow up guitars and grinning ear to ear at the perfection of the day - blue skies, smiling sun, gentle breeze, trees, grass, and no mud, truly fantastic friends, and kick ass tunes. My only slight disappointment was that Strangefolk did not play the song, All the Same, a song that helped save me from thoughts of despair early this spring. But then again, this was a weekend that brought the past year of my life full circle and thankfully nothing is the same. Moe.down offered an introduction to a huge group of friends, brought together by music, and who all live in Vermont - connected by years of various friendships and music and travel. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store and look forward to introducing you to some new characters in my evolving movie.

Oh, and yes, Mitch was there and I think we may be entering the air guitar competition at Red Square Thursday night - think they'll allow blow up guitars??
Photo Note - Thanks Tom Bailey for the photos!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Green Mountain Opera Festival

Gear shifting to music that most folks don't typically associate with Vermont, but the Green Mountain Opera Festival is held here in Vermont every June for three weeks with opera concerts, open rehearsals, masters classes, a young artists program, picnics, and more - all leading up to two fully costumed, complete orchestra productions at the Barre Opera House. This past June the production was of Madama Butterfly and a You Tube Clip was just released today of performance highlights - Enjoy!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

NewsFlash! (and shameless self promotion)

Many years ago, there were a group of fellows who started a band while attending college at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. It was called Mile 41 - guitar, bass, drums, and a female vocalist. After collage, the guitarist, bass player, and drummer all made there way to Burlington for the various reasons musicians, artists, and other folks make their way to this energy driven town. They re-grouped, added keyboards and became Theory of Revolution. Over the course of several years playing in and around Burlington as well as some hot spots around the Northeast, they developed a devoted fan base, changed bass players, added a second drummer, and created quite the collection of original material.

If you have read previous blogs, are in my oval of peeps, or have seen myself and a certain drummer out and about, you will know my sweetie Mitch is the original drummer of bands mentioned above. As we began dating early this spring, I was able to only see a few Theory of Revolution (TOR) shows, and - as summer began, the band decided to part ways, with some members joining new bands and others moving to new states. So, while I did catch a few shows at the tail end of the TOR magic, my experience has mostly been listening to the heartfelt conversations of a love of music, friends, and song between a drummer and a guitar player who have been playing music together since college and who are also the best of friends.

These conversations have led to their desire to play one last show, have one last party, or some sort of farewell. And sometimes these conversations lead into song where said drummer and guitarist get me to sing, just as their original playing together in college was with a female vocalist.

And, these conversations have led to a closing show that has just been confirmed for Friday, September 14th from 10-1 at The Radio Bean. This final show will be a softer side of the pumping TOR shows you'd see at Higher Ground. The show will feature John playing guitar, Mitch playing drums, and original bassist, Jesse. There are hopes that keyboardist, Taylor, will join in, and yes, rumors are true, I will be singing a few songs as well - a rare occurrence indeed. Yes, I am nervous. But, mostly, I am excited for these musicians - it is a night of remembrance, new beginnings, and the kind of musical experience that can really go anywhere. I hope you can all join us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wagons Jivin' and Ramblin' on the Gravel

I guess if the four bands I am set to speak about ever made a combined album, this could be the name. And the album would be almost as eclectic as the "Made In Vermont" CD that Cabot Cheese sponsored a few years back.

I headed off to the Lincoln Inn with freelance drummer Mitch and we enjoyed the pre-music Business After Hours networking where I ran into a former co-worker and musician who used to play in the band The Mansfield Project and who was playing with the Blues Night band of the evening, Jive Attic. I must say I wish some of these bands had websites, and Jive Attic is certainly worthy of one! I do believe however, they are playing at the Burlington Blues Fest at the Lincoln Inn in September. Jive Attic was great! Mitch and I got in some dancing and even snuck in a little air guitar activity - one of our secret favorite pastimes.

While enjoying some good classic blues from the band, we did have an entertaining run-in with Rick from Rick and the Ramblers. Known for their awesome tour bus and fun concerts at one of my favorites - Vermont State Parks, I now have it a mission to try to catch a show before they go into hibernation mode.

While we were contemplating our next move - do we (a) go home, (b) go downtown, or (c) find more cool music that's NOT downtown (by far the favorite choice) NOTE - Jive Attic had finished by this point; we started up a conversation with a new-to-town bass player soon to be joined by the Funk Wagon bunch. Of course I searched around for a way to lead readers to Funk Wagon as they seem like a fun band, but only found they have some upcoming shows at the Lincoln Inn and Nectars - maybe I'll see ya there? After we safely secured the bass player into Funky conversation with the Wagon, we departed for a last stop on our localvore musical journey.

As we headed back into town, but not wanting to go downtown, we both densely did the "duh" thing - The Monkey Bar - duh. So to Winooski we went. The bar was almost empty - usually a tell tale sign to me that a really good band is playing since so may Chittenden County dwellahs either (a) think good music is 80's night at Metronome or (b) care more about being "cool," "hip," or "seen," than really interested in seeing good music.

We got a beer and acclimated ourselves to the bar stools, where I was completely drawn in. The band's name is Gravel and they sure had some gravely jazz to play. The guitar player moved and pulsated with smiles that came at different junctures and transitions as he played one of those fantastic looking jazz guitars. The bass player pounded that stand-up with fervor, which may have been taller than him. The front fellow - an athletic looking chap with a variety of instruments - the most focal being the trumpet with a collection of mutes - was enigmatic and exciting to watch. Gravel played like an enthusiastic jazz quartet of professionals - probably because that's what they are. No whiny faces because the audience was slim and they were truly appreciative when the small audience treated them as a jazz quartet - clapping enthusiastically between solos.

Now, you may wonder why I did not mention the drummer. First, I must give my drummer background:
1.) Of all musicians I have dated in my 31 years, drummers certainly outweigh everyone else by a long shot - including my blogging and real life sidekick.
2.) Rhythm has always been something I have no immediate natural flare for, but once taught, comes easily.
3.) Drummers are always what I pay attention to the least for some reason. Not because I do not like drummers (obviously I do), but because I listen to the vocal harmonies as a singer, the bass as a seeker of harmonies, and watch the guitar as an accomplished air guitarist.
4.) When I was in a band in town a few years back called Ekis, I found the drummer to be extremely helpful in teaching me different rhythms and what percussion instruments to play. And, since I was committed to the concept of groupies while in the band, I was able to form a great friendship with this drummer (an he had/has a beautiful wife -).
Now, just as fantastic co-worker friendships fizzle when ones leaves the place of work, so do band friendships. That of course is life. So, while I was sitting at The Monkey Bar, thoroughly enjoying this band called Gravel, and not really paying attention to the drummer, Mitch says, "That drummer is phenomenal!" and I start to pay attention. Then I say, "wow, he really reminds me of the drummer in the band I sang in back in the day." I started doing the squinty eyes (even though I was wearing my glasses) and at the next song break, the drummer and I lock eyes and call out names of recognition! It certainly was, Matt DeLuca (2nd from right in pic), a truly great drummer in the area who I most recently saw play with his long-standing experimental jazz group, Leon Tubbs, after we finished playing together in Ekis. We got to catch up after the show and made plans to hopefully grab our other Burlington based former bandmate, bass player Jeff Margolis, for some lunch (by the way, Jeff's got some musical tricks up his sleeve I'll be sure to blog about this fall - so keep tuning in.)

Funny how the world works, eh? Guess I better start paying attention to all musicians in a band if I'm gonna write 'em up in my blog, or maybe not. Guess that's the beauty of being a writer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vermont Music Magic

What a week! I am kicking myself in the arse right now for having handed out lots of business cards last week with this blog on them only to have failed to post all week! No excuses - I just got wrapped up in a busy music and work week and needed to take time off over the weekend for some lake activities!

Where do I begin? Let's start a week ago when I attended the Venue Czar launch event at Higher Ground. Interesting concept! To recap for those who are unaware of what it is, Venue Czar is an extensive online booking system that links bands to venues and vice versa. It is streamlined and allows for negotiation of payment, perks, dates, etc. The goal is to alleviate the wasted time and frustration that affects both bands and venues - which, from being in a band before myself, I also found to be aggravating.

I think it's a great concept, but I wonder about the commitment the program will get from smaller venues that like having control over the relationships they build and others who like to reject streamlined ideas - even when those ideas can benefit the masses. It seems to me Venue Czar will be most effective if everyone uses it. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but agendas bounce to a different tune in Vermont. Regardless, it's specific for Vermont and folks should check it out and pass it along -

Now, I certainly leaned about Venue Czar that night and got to catch up with some old music friends and chat with some new ones, as well as seeing the start of some great local music. In the midst of all my Burlington music publicity networking - where I try really hard not to be some annoying public relations mamacita - something happened on a fantastic personal level that certainly shaped the night into being recorded into my personal history book!

Speaking of history - here is a little background that plays in nicely here: Since my ex ditched me for some long-lost Phish tour broad back in January, I started going to Honky Tonk Tuesdays at Radio Bean for a night of music with some lady friends and to open my heart to the twang of the tonk lead by Chrome Cowboys frontman, Brett Hughes with a rotating cast of local musicians such as Marie Claire and Mike Gordon. This is also where I met my current main squeeze, Mitch, who was the drummer for the now defunct band Theory of Revolution. Honky Tonk night means a lot of things to a lot of people and there is nothing short of magic which takes place there - this I have seen and been a part of. From a healing night with the ladies to a place to fall in love again to an opportunity to catch up with and make new friends to a dance floor where my shoes come off and my feet turn black...

Ok, back to the night of the Venue Czar event - in the midst of music and publicity chatter, Mitch and I ran into Brett Hughes who was heading over to Radio Bean after the Venue Czar event - and who was still looking for a drummer for the evening. And he asked Mitch. Now, I am not a drummer, but I am a musician (I was a trained songstress in my former life), so I was aware of the power of that moment. Publicity networking halted, drummer girlfriend begin and I tell the rest of the evening with my photos:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Venue Czar

Hi folks! So it has come to my attention that there is a great new band booking and promotion service called Venue Czar. I met some of the folks behind it the other night at a party and look forward to attending their launch at Higher Ground on August 7th. Check 'em out - looks like it will be a valuable service to many bands and musicians and by registering you too can attend the launch!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vermont Mozart Festival

Ahhh, it is time again - time for the loverly Vermont Mozart Festival at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. This will be the third year in a row I trek up to Trapps for this spectacular display of music in the mountains. And I certainly go in style - wine, cheese, candles, chairs, picnic basket, plastic wine glasses, cloth napkins, table with tablecloth - I like to think I crack a few smiles on my elders by helping to carry on this lah-dee-dah tradition. Geez - I even wear a dress. But, I have learned to bring bug spray, thick socks, a sweater, and a wine opener as well. I love going and enjoying Trapps for what Maria Von Trapp wished it to be enjoyed for. And, I love getting out of my jam band, rock star mode for a bit and unveiling the culture that is deep within. This will be a special performance since I will be enjoying it with my parents and the new main squeeze, whom they will be meeting for the first time. Regardless of how that rolls, we will all get to close our eyes after filling up with wine and cheese, and experience the magic that happens on that rolling meadow in the middle of the mountains.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Offbeat Vermont Music Venues

I have been lame this week. No Honky Tonk Tuesday, no causing trouble at Nectars following JDK kickball, and I've been totally MIA from Higher Ground (but, don't worry, show season is just around the corner once those college kids are back)...
But, I still have a post idea ---

Traipsing around Vermont and seeing music in different venues.

This is a good idea for many reasons...
a.) it gets you out of your normal environmental sphere and helps open your eyes
b.) it brings you to music for the sake of music, not to see someone specific
c.) it supports the local Vermont economies which is something everyone should embrace and put energy towards

And here are my tidbits for you to enjoy that ever changing, always amusing, and downright "Vermont" music experience!

Snow Shoe Lodge & Pub
- To my knowledge, there is not a website, but the Snow Shoe in Montgomery Center (that's near Jay Peak folks) is an absolute hoot! I will never forget the first time I went there and sat at the bar drinking $2 PBRs with escargot and an open face hamburg sandwich - if that tells you anything. Then this awesome blues trio got up and local rednecks, hoochies, ubur ski dudes, little brahs, and PR broads like me were all boogieing like long time pals. I even got up and sang Roadhouse Blues and a few other tunes after a few more PBRs. Ok, that's enough - go there.

The Bees Knees - This one's up in Morrisville where the often annoying Burlington rif raf and the eye popping tourists are not. This is my favorite place so far for actually meeting new friends and pretending I live in a small Vermont town instead of the big city. And the bands that may shy away in some of the more well known venues when the crowd's not pumping hold nothing back here!

Purple Moon Pub - Down to the Bad Liver Valley for this one in the eclectic town of Waitsfield. The menu is small, the place intimate, and the music is aways a treat. I've even had my heart made and broken at this place, but that won't keep me away from the best fish tacos I have ever had and memories like the Purple Moon being the place I met Luke Eriksen, had a great conversation with Sean Kelly from The Samples, and danced song after song with an older gentleman to the Starline Rhythm Boys. Try it!

Owl's Head Blueberry Farm - This isn't a "venue" as the ones are above, but I had to squeeze it in here as I got a flier in the most recent Seven Days and even hung it on my bulletin board! The next three Tuesdays and Thursdays are blueberry picking at Owl's Head in Richmond starting around 5 pm and then live music starting at 6 pm and going until around 8 pm. How fun is that???? I think I will definitely be there for Gordon Stone's performance - I mean who can beat picking blueberries to the sound of Gordon's pedal steel?

Happy listening and please comment with ideas, gripes, sounds, and any other stuff you think this Vermont publicity gal should know!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Festival Time in Vermont!

Next weekend kids - the 2nd Annual Lew-Au - this is Vermont band Raq's festival with other fun folks like Strangefolk, Tim Reynolds (some lasses will remember him from chillin' with Dave Matthews), Al (from moe.!) and the Transamericans, and several others. Who is in???? This is a great chance to come mingle with all sorts of random Vermont peeps and go to a festival with me! Together we can post a killah post for the Vermont Music Blog! Pictures too!

It's next weekend, July 21-22! Two nights and Monday, July 23rd is National Call In Sick Day - so let's go!! And if you're not a jam band fanatic like me - who cares?? It's cheap and a great chance to hang in the Northeast Kingdom, do some camping and drink some Coors Light with your favorite publicity hippy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Burlington Music Gripe

I think we all have a lot of gripes on the Burlington music scene. Right now I am a gigumundous (spelling?) fan of Radio Bean and Higher Ground - small and big, but both done right.
I am NOT a fan of the Lake Champlain cruise structure. Last night for the Burlington fireworks, I went on the Blues for Breakfast cruise. Blues for Breakfast is one of my all time favorite Grateful Dead cover bands and I always have a fun time dancin' whenever I see them play.
The tickets were $25 and included a good buffet aboard the King Street Ferry. The mood was chipper and people were warm to each other and it had the makings of a great little hippy night on the lake with fireworks - c'mon, who could ask for more?
Everything was fun and fab and then the fireworks started. Now, I think most will agree at this point that Burlington, Vermont fireworks pretty much are the best around - ever. If you think you've seen better fireworks, please comment and let me know!
Anyway, the fireworks ended and so did everything else. Apparently, too many shwilly tools got wasted and seasick and there was a lot of puking and many hidden flasks found. So, the bar closed and the band stopped playing and we were all ushered off the boat right as everyone else was leaving the waterfront and rushing to the always annoying Burlington bar scene - especially for those of us who just want to dance to a fun band! LAME! I chose the cruise for my Independence Day activities so I wouldn't have to deal with the crowds and lines and ridiculous scene.
I have my Raq ticket for the cruise on August 10th and I really hope it's not more of the same. I hate when shwilly tools ruin it for everyone else. Dock the boat and make them walk the plank and then back to sea for the rest of us! Arrrr!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lake Champlain Maritime Festival

I am on a mission to get the word out about this festival!! I think most people know The Machine (the laser light show producing, Pink Floyd covering band I have been seeing since before I could drink legally) and the Vermont singing goddess, Grace Potter and how they are playing on the waterfront in Burlington, Vermont the weekend of August 18-20? Well, that's because they're playing as part of the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival - check it out!!!

Get this festival on your radar! It's also a great weekend to have friends come up if the BeerFest doesn't work and since the ChewChew and Discover Jazz are over.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Hills Are Alive...

Yes, it really could be the Vermont theme song because Vermont music permeates throughout the state and is just another reason Vermont is a bit of green paradise on Earth. Now, I completely love music more than anything in the world and many of my most favorite bands (um, moe. being #1) are not in Vermont, but I am committed to writing a blog on Vermont bands and also including music not in just my own personal fave category, but celebrating the music of the Green Mountains - and all of it.

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