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.