Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Mitch Rocks the Radio

Happy Holidays! Hi all, it’s The Mitch here! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and happy holiday season so far. We have certainly been blessed with an abundance of holiday weather and cheer thus far. And do you know what makes it all come together……..Holiday Music!! I know, holiday music can be cheesy and sometimes annoying, but come one, who doesn’t mind hearing Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree or Carol of the Bells either at home, in the office, or in your car? I have to admit, it does put me in that special spirit!

So you want a dose of holiday music, where do you find it? Sure you can go to a store and buy Cd after Cd to find that right holiday mix, but why not tune into a local radio station that plays nothing but holiday music 24-7! My personal favorite is Star 92.9 - WEZF. They play all of the classics, as well as, some contemporary versions of our favorite tunes. One aspect of listening to the radio that is cool is 92.9 gives a dose of history throughout the day regarding particular songs. For instance, did you know that the inspiration for Silent Night was a mouse? That’s right, in 1817, in a German church; a hungry little mouse chewed a hole in the bellows of a pipe organ. This naturally put the organ out of commission, and inspired two men to write and arrange the most popular Christmas song ever! Thanks Star 92.9!! Anyway, if you think of it, turn that clock radio, car stereo, or home audio system on and let some holiday cheer pump through the radio waves!

Peace, Joy, and a Wonderful Holiday to All, The Mitch!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cody Michaels - Winter Suite

Last weekend The Mitch and I had the privilege of seeing the most beautiful piano music I have ever seen live due to an inclination to seek out some form of live music during the holidays at the Vergennes Opera House and Cody Michaels was it! I actually took notes while watching, making this much more of an actual review than much of what I usually write:

"Wow. The music is so gentle, it absolutely touched my soul. It made me think of the times in high school I would listen to piano tapes by Danny Wright (only piano music I had) to calm me and bring out my more introspective side. I would hear a melodic rift and wish it would continue. Cody Michaels has continued that rift for me. I think of the beautiful times Page is featured in Phish and how my heart soars in my body and is lifted like a dance - this is how lovely it was. Sitting in the small, quaint Vergennes Opera House reminded me of the stage and hall at my magnificent church growing up and the joy of making Advent wreaths with my mother on a Sunday night. Pure, tremendous joy - how I love the piano. I was watching magic - magic on the baby grand and magic in the minds of those who came to watch, listen, and feel."

Those were the notes I wrote on the program while listening to Cody Michael's solo piano "Winter Suite." The first set was a collection of late fall and winter inspired songs, several on other albums - one of which I bought at intermission. His music is created from his experiences and feelings in different outdoor environments which is most certainly why it struck such a chord. In fact, it very well may be the new theme music of Vermont Vibes. The second set was the actual Winter Site with songs called "On The Shortest Day," "Winter Light," "Out In The Snow," "Below Zero," "Aurora Borealis," and "Boreal Wind." If you have any sort of wood nymph imagination and a love of winter, the music invokes the feeling you think it should just by reading those titles.

Cody Michael's website is and he is actually performing tonight in Morrisville, on the 20th in Groton, and on First Night in St. Johnsbury. For the benefit of your soul, please check out a performance or purchase a CD - you will cherish it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Mitch Rocks Out and Wears His Shoes Out

Hello Vermont music lovers! I recently went to a traditional Vermont night out - a delicious venison dinner and local Vermont music. This was a dinner that incorporated all of what makes Vermont such a special place. There was amazing venison pie, a wonderful venue, and as always, live music. The Old Lantern in Charlotte, VT was where this awesome night was held and the entertainment was provided by Girl Howdy, followed by the Starline Rhythm Boys. After eating (food cooked up by owner Chef Roland), it was time to get down to some good old fashioned honky tonk. Girl Howdy started off with some traditional honky tonk music which was mixed with a few of their originals. I have to say that the most amazing aspect to these gals, were their vocals. They embodied that honky tonk sound and set the tone right. Rachel liked their outfits.

Girl Howdy finished their set and I had a chance to cool off and mingle with some great folks including Old Lantern LIVE promoter and friend, Robin Reid (also publisher of Rural Route Today). Next came the main attraction, the Starline Rhythm Boys! These guys absolutely rocked the Old Lantern. They played two sets and each one brought the house down! They provided that old time feel that gave everyone’s dancing shoes a workout. The highlight of their performance to me was their version of “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. That was the moment where I felt like the floor of the Old Lantern was acting like a trampoline!! The best aspect of the evening was that both Girl Howdy and the Starline Rhythm Boys were able to bring Vermonters of all generations together and enjoy a night of traditional music and culture. Way to do it right you guys, I can’t wait to do it again! I wish you all out there an amazing holiday season! Peace, the Mitch

For more information on The Old Lantern, visit and be sure to check out what they're cookin' up for New Year's Eve!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Winter - Time for some Muddy Boots

I have recently been informed that the Burlington Farmer's Market will be holding a Saturday Farmer's Market once a month starting with this coming Saturday - just in time for Thanksgiving! This is great news as everyone works their hardest to be a part of a sustainable, localvore Vermont economy. And in tune with supporting other Vermonters, local band Muddy Boots will be performing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in Memorial Auditorium while shoppers peruse the goods (some of whom I am sure will be wearing muddy boots!).

Consisting of two fiddles, guitar, bass, and mandolin, Muddy Boots is a sweet, pure sound combining traditional Irish music with folk, American, and bluegrass. Check out their sound on their My Space. In additional to checking them out Saturday at the Farmer's Market, Muddy Boots is playing Saturday, December 13th at The Skinny Pancake. One of Muddy Boots' fiddlers, Katrina Gibson, also writes a cool music blog called Fiddle Talk that provides a deeper insight to the world of fiddling. And be sure to visit the Muddy Boots website -

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Burlington Underground

I am constantly trying to expand this blog to include more information from other areas of Vermont, not just the Northwest, but considering the Greater Chittenden County area is the most populated and the most music seems to be coming out of this area combined with the fact that most materials I get are pitched to me, well - that's why I haven't expanded as much as I'd like. This is also a side project for me which is why I am always looking for guest writers to write about music going on and profiles of musicians and bands in all areas of Vermont.

Recently I was enlightened to a new music scene connection - Burlington Underground. Looks like another attempt to organize Burlington's music scene - a website listing all music in the Burlington area. It seems like they plan to take it one step further than Seven Days and include much more of the underground music scene (hence the name). This is all a good thing as the more ways there are to promote local live music, hopefully the more people we can all get away from their computers and TVs and out to support and enjoy musicians from their own communities. Of course this only works when people pay for the music which is so necessary to be able to keep musicians going (equipment, practice space, etc.) - I have a growing pet peeve for people who find anyway they can to avoid paying for music.

Anyway, check out and be sure to bookmark as from what my sources tell me, this site should be growing to include much more on the Burlington music scene - let's hope that happens!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Red Hen Baking Up...Music???

Yes they are - or looking to! Most Vermonters have heard of the Red Hen Baking Company - all that heady, yummy artisan bread made mostly with Vermont grains. (And don't even start about the not all Vermont grains - if you paid attention to the news you would know there is not enough grain produced in VT - time for some grain farmers!)

Some Vermonters probably know that Red Hen Baking Company recently moved from their Route 100 Duxbury location (between Waterbury and Waitsfield) to the center of the little village of Middlesex on Route 2 between Waterbury and Montpelier. With this expanded space comes a larger bakery, cafe, and the opportunity for (you guessed it) live music!!!

And the live music they are looking for is in the daytime - so perfect for the many Vermont musicians looking for a softer, gentler gig opportunity away from the rat race that is the limited bar scene. The hours they are looking for are from 10 am to 2 pm. May this be a great alternative to the On the Rise in Richmond lunch scene comprised of the irritating mama nipple crowd that has taken over that place. Ah yes, there is also potential for live music on Friday evenings at Red Hen as well - depending on how the lunch music scene develops.

So, if you are a Vermont musician - grasp this chance and get in touch with Liza at Red Hen Baking Company - Please note this is NOT an open mike opportunity, but a chance for established Vermont musicians to play for other Vermonters. Payment is in trade for now, but who can complain about that when the trade is with Red Hen Baking Company artisan breads? Check out the website at

Friday, October 24, 2008

Down Home Goodness

How is it living VT? It’s the Mitch here and I have got some down home goodness to share with y’all! One of the best things I love about living near mountains is the music that they can inspire. Sometimes when I am standing in my front yard in Charlotte, I can see Camels Hump in the background. Upon looking at this wondrous Mountain, a particular music vibe is invoked. I am reminded instantly of traditional mountain music and want to go to a local barn dance party to shake it!

Fortunately there is a band that can fulfill my need for crooning! I am talking about the Starline Rhythm Boys, based out of Montpelier, VT. These guys have been pickin’ around the state for a few years now, and have developed quite a reputation. The boys encompass elements of hillbilly, rockabilly, and bluegrass. Starline Rhythm Boys are comprised of Danny Coane (banjo, guitar, and vocals), Billy Bratcher (upright bass), and Al Lemery (electric guitar). I have had the distinct pleasure of checking these guys out a few times and I have always had a great time. Their style is traditional and you can easily be transported into the 40’s and 50’s. It is pretty cool that a stripped down three piece, can fill up so much musical space and create such a full sound.

So if y’all get a chance this fall and winter, do yourselves a favor and check out these guys. They will be playing at Red Square, on 10/29/08 at 8pm. They will also be playing at the Old Lantern, for a Venison dinner on 11/22/08 starting at 8pm. You can also check them out at and at Until next time VT! Peace, the Mitch

PS - The Vermont Music Blog will be in attendance at the Old Lantern! Come say hi - we may have blow up banjos!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seth Yacavone

I feel like this Vermont guitar amazingness is always included in so much cool music stuff, yet never talked about as much in comparison to how good he is. I also get the sense that he likes it this way. Always enough under the radar to not have to deal with the blow up of being a great musician so you can always keep the creative flow in honest check and the meaning in your life uninhibited. I may also be thinking this because I am still recovering from the amazing Trey show at Higher Ground last night where I briefly ran into Seth, reminding me I needed to write this post.

My most recent Seth Yacavone rockin' time was at yet another wedding - this one being two amazing and beautiful souls brought together by the power of Phish (and learned of the band's official reunion while on their honeymoon). Up in the countryside of Northern Vermont under a tent amidst the foliage, Seth Yacavone and a team of other great Vermont musicians absolutely tore it up. And I think I have said this before, but besides Seth's kick ass guitar playing - his voice is just raw blues and so right on! And the fun he has when playing is just plain cool. Like when he played the first half of Dark Side of the Moon and held a tape recorder to the microphone for the sound effects. I can't imagine another musician doing this while making it as natural and fun as Seth did.

And to all you hippies getting married out there - I highly suggest hiring Seth to play your wedding - and if you don't, please refrain from the DJ. There is nothing worse than going to your heady friend's wedding only to be stuck dancing to Play That Funky Music White Boy with the creepy uncle. Way more fun to grab a couple of brooms and have a broom guitar dual with that uncle instead.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

KTR Recording

Hi there, The Mitch here! So there are a lot of talented Vermont musicians out there, we all know that. Not every band however will get a chance to get their music recorded professionally. Recording is expensive and very time consuming. Sometimes, if bands get some studio time, the producer might not capture the bands sound quite well, or it might not be the right creative space for a particular band. Having been in several studios in Vermont, I can attest to this.

I have come across a sound engineer with his own studio that has no problem truly capturing a band's sound or creative interest. His name is Kyle T. Rose and he is the creator and owner of KTR Recording which is based out of Richmond, VT. I have been fortunate to know Kyle for a while now, and had a chance to play music with him several times. In addition to being a talented saxophone and guitar player, Kyle also knows his way around the studio. He is also a part of the rockin' staff at Advanced Music in Burlington. Judging from working with him in the studio for past ventures, Kyle has a laid back approach and believes in creating a comfortable and inviting experience for recording artist. His studio is well equiped and has plenty of space. I believe one of the greatest things about KTR Recording, is that it is affordable for most Vermont musicians. So if there are people out there who are looking to record any aspect of yourself, your band, or anything recording wise you need, go check out KTR Recording at

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Open Mike Night

A few paces down the road from Higher Ground is a place one might not consider to be a live music venue - The Ground Round. Well, on Saturday nights they are. The new and improved Ground Round located on Williston Road in South Burlington now has an open mike night on Saturdays which seems to be getting quite popular.

The Ground Round in general is gaining in popularity points. They are the only franchise in Vermont to be a member of the Vermont Fresh Network. Way to go! It's also important to understand the business side of a franchise. Franchises get a bad rap in Vermont because people think they are national businesses. That is actually false. Franchises use a national business model, but are individually owned and operated. Meaning the owner of The Ground Round in South Burlington lives right here in Vermont. And this owner listened to what Vermonters were saying about where they want to eat and actually made the changes to reflect those interests - local Vermont products!

The Ground Round in South Burlington also gets involved in such activities as sponsoring the Go Red For Women Luncheon and other programs with the Vermont Chapter of the American Heart Association. It was for such an event that brought me to The Ground Round last night and was so surprised and impressed at the local food selection: local chicken, cheese, desserts and exceptionally delicious healthy options as well. It will definitely bring myself and The Mitch there again soon!

And now they have an open mike night every Saturday! Someone please go, take some pics, and send them to me to feature on the Vermont Music Blog!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vermont's Best Live Music Venue - for 10 years

It doesn't matter what area of Vermont you live in, Higher Ground owns the live music circuit in Vermont. It is every local band's dream to play there (and fill the room) and anyone who enjoys live music in Vermont needs to check out a show there. I think lots of folks, especially those older than myself, seem to think it's just for kids or something. There is no type that goes to Higher Ground. It is a live music venue, meaning you don't go there for a night at the bars - you go there to enjoy live music. The crowd depicts what music is playing. From bouncy hippie music to two-steppin' country - um, vastly different audiences at those shows. From intelligent folk music to rap - more vastly different audiences.

Ok, I have done enough bossing around to have people check out Higher Ground. What I really wanted to write about was three coolio areas/aspects of Higher Ground (besides that they have music for everyone, unless of course you belong to the lame group of people who say you don't like music).

1.) They have really stepped it up from their old venue in Winooski.
While I still have nostalgic memories of my times at the old Higher Ground, especially it being the first place in Vermont I actually would go out by myself because I had too many of the "lame type" of associates in my early 20's. It was also one of the first places I actually ran into an ex with a better looking dude - that rocked. And of course my days of drooling over some of the bouncers...

The new venue off Williston Road - it is just top notch. First of all the bathrooms are always clean and never sketchy and that rocks. It's easy to get to and easy to park. The sound is incredible and there are two different venues in one. More than anything though is how close you can actually get to the music if you so choose. I love seeing nationally touring bands and being able to actually get up close and see (even if it is crowded up there). Personally I prefer the "back bar" where I get rowdy with all of my fabulous friends I have made over the years - all due to our love of music - and get served great drinks by my most favorite bartender from any bar.

2.) The owners actually care about the people. And that rocks. They are accessible, pleasant, and generous. For instance, right now until October 1, you can get five tickets for $50. I usually spend an average of $50 for two tickets! And the list of participating bands is impressive - check out the Higher Ground link for how to purchase.

3.) They are hip and do neat things, like their partnership with JDK, the uber-cool design shop in Burlington. The partnership creates art worthy posters. As stated in the new design book the partnership just published, "Poster design announces an art form that is neither the sole province of the museum nor the rarefied art collector - it belongs to the masses." Certain shows have fantastic posters made and are sold to patrons to keep the music alive in their own spaces. Many of these posters make up the decor of our music room in the farmhouse!

While I sit here romanticizing about Higher Ground, I realize I have tickets to a show tonight and want nothing more than to get off the computer and out the door, so here I go!

And you go - to!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Contact Oops

I just saw that my post has my email wrong below (well, had, I just fixed it). My email is

I am also realizing my farmhouse, VT PR business life is leaving less and less room to get out and see the music I used to see and less time to be able to research to write! Yikes! I'd like to keep this blog going and have heard it's a helpful resource for many.

Sooooo, I am looking for a few writers. No, there is certainly not any pay, but if you are a Vermont musicians or Vermont music lover, this may be a cool way to share your thoughts on Vermont music with others. The only "rules" are the music has to be made by Vermonters and music news and activities in Vermont. This is NOT a place to promote out of state bands coming through Vermont.

Please email me - I'll change the blog up to reflect the writers!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Vermont Music Blog Needs Your Help!

I need more submissions from Vermont musicians! I am glad those of you I have written about send me info, but I am looking for new bands and folks I haven't written about to get in touch and let me know about you! I am happy to list any Vermont musician or band with an active website on the blog as well as Vermont music venues and other Vermont music related websites and blogs. The best email to us is as that is where I manage my music activities.

The Mitch is also now reviewing bands! If you have a CD you would like him to review, please sent to:
Mitch Pauley
564 Garen Road, Suite 4
Charlotte, VT 05445

We also want to get the Farmhouse Improvisational Series going and are looking for musicians who would like to come play old Americana, blues, and jazz standards and see what interesting Vermont twists we can create. We plan to hold the Farmhouse Improvisational Series on Monday evenings from 6:30/7 - 9:30-10 in our Farmhouse Music Room in Charlotte. Please email me at or The Mitch at to sign up!

Look forward to hearing from folks!

Friday, September 5, 2008


I will only write a pre-entry for this and will then turn over to my now FIANCE, The Mitch. F-ing Trey.

Of course with Trey playing his first show in part time home state Vermont in over two years, everyone is talking about it so I guess I will jump on the bandwagon too. Not because I want to be on the bandwagon, but because I am letting all you Phish-hooligans out there know if you want tickets you better show up at Higher Ground next Friday, Sept. 12 in the am to get in line for when tickets go on sale at 11. Bring your peeps and chill because it's only 2 tickets per person. See you there - F-ing Trey.

I for one, am PUMPED!!! After the hiatus of Phish, I was still needing to get some some traveling out of my system. I ended up following the original TAB around for some time, and I sure had a blast. My highlight of TAB was 10/31/02 in Asheville, NC where they opened with a thirty minute Night Speaks. It was definitely a face melting moment. Of coarse for that show the incredible horn section was helping Trey explore a new line up of amazing musicians. As a drummer, I instantly was drawn to the metronomic style of Russ Lawton. Turns out, a few years later in Burlington, I ended taking lessons from him!! He was an awesome teacher and became a really good friend. Ok, enough digressing!!! Seriously though, TAB has meant something special to me, and I know for some of you out there as well. If is not your cup of tea, it is understandable, but this is Vermont, and our musicians kick some serious ass!!! Peace, the Mitch

TAB is a cheesy drink. The Shwilly Spunions WILL NOT have a gig - they are for moe. and Umphrey's only. And maybe in Phish lot in '09...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This past weekend, The Mitch and I trekked down to Waitsfield, Vermont in the Mad River Valley where our destination was the Bundy Center for the Arts for the First Annual Liberate Music and Arts Festival. There's something really cool about going to the first annual anything - especially if it really continues and you go to every one. I sure wish I had gone to the first several moe.downs instead of jumping on the band wagon like a n00b after Phish was done. (All I can think about is moe.down because I leave tomorrow and it's the best weekend of the year for me!)

Liberate was a relaxing pre-game to the craziest festival of the year. It was very, very green, family friendly, and not at all typical of a music festival scene - definitely a zero sketch factor. On the other hand, it wasn't uberliciously annoying Vermont either. This is probably due to the healthy mix of vending artists, holistic activities, and live music. While on the one hand this was pleasant because you weren't over inundated with too much of one thing, the concept of trying to be everything to everyone can also cost you participants. While this certainly doesn't affect the crowd experience, it does affect the financial situation and my guess is it will play a factor in the second annual.

My favorite part of the festival was watching the Dead Sessions. I love seeing this fantastic collaborative project of Vermont musicians. The core members are Ben Yurco and Adam King of Turkey Bouillon Mafia with a rotating cast of players, with this performance including Dave Hyman of Blues for Breakfast, guitar prodigy Seth Yacavone, and Trevor Ainworth of Liquid Dead - to name a few.

I also enjoyed catching up with Vermont friends in the Magic Hat beer tent. I have to admit while Magic Hat is not my favorite tasting beer, I give it up to them for their overgenerous support of Vermont events, musicians, artists, etc. Way to go Magic Hat! I certainly pay to drink it when it's the sponsor.

And kudos to Liberate founders and organizers, Jane Jarecki and Ben Lanza of Eclectic Music Productions. This was a very well run event and I think the Vermont music scene can look forward to many more great musical outcroppings from this partnership.

My good friend Taraleigh of the Healthy Hippie Magazine was not only a vendor and magazine distributor, but also made the festival T-shirts (as seen on Jane and Ben) into tank dresses (as seen on Taraleigh with me).

I look forward to returning next year and for now - time to get .down!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hot Neon Magic

I was at a friend's birthday party this weekend and as part of the fun I brought my Band on the Run kit - otherwise known as the blow up instruments of the Shwilly Spunions and the Blow Up Band - we blow it up! (This is a fun little side project of myself and moe.rons where we play blow up instruments at moe. shows and other impromptu performances.)

Anyway, one of these impromptu performances took place this weekend at my friend's party. As the stereo blasted a fantastic live version of a favorite moe. tune, all us "Shwilly Spunions" were in total rock out mode playing our instruments to the song, laughing, dancing, and enjoying a great moment in musical fun. Right as the song was building to a most bodacious guitar release, some late night bar honey shut off the song and put in some late night bar honey dumbness. The whole lot of us wilted like deflated keytars, each feeling like we had just been abruptly stopped prior to an explosive orgasm.

This experience led me to ponder how people are so clueless - especially when it comes to music. I live in a world where music is the most important pleasure in my life (which can be proven if looking over the past ten years of what built credit card debt). But, I have definitely learned the world does not revolve around me, no matter how much I wish it would! However, it still blows my mind that with so much exceptional, diverse, and easily accessible music out there in the world, there is such a high compilation of provincial, uninterested, and quite frankly boring twits. These are the folks who say "I like all kinds of music." Or when asked if they go out to see music respond with "I love 80's night."

A few of my blow up band members pondered these same questions and one asked the girl and her cloned friends what kind of music they liked and her response was an unbelievable, "I don't really like music." I am so glad I did not hear this conversation in the flesh. Apparently they had just come from 80's night.

Now I am certainly not one who does not enjoy my share of 80's music - especially at a dance party following a great live concert. But as a fan of live music, the 80's just does not have a home...until now.

Hot Neon Magic, a Burlington-based Vermont band is the area's premier (and only as far as I know) live 80's band. They have a full on list of the 80's songs they currently play on their website - They are also willing to learn specific songs for shows not currently on their setlist. Stemming from a well rounded background in pop, funk, and rock music as well as skilled in the level of shenanigans required of a live 80's band, these guys (and gal) put on one live, neon, and fun show - and help people who like 80's music actually enjoy something live - this is, in my opinion, their biggest contribution to the Vermont music scene.

They have a great start with gigs around the state this fall, kicking off with a show at The Monkey House this Friday - featuring a Rick Springfield toast in honor of the guitar swinging fellow's birthday.

Once again, they are Hot Neon Magic, playing 80's covers for 80's lovers - live!!! Visit them at and check out a show near you - or book them for your own live 80's night - no dumb broads can change the music then!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Your own Music Room

Hey All! This is the Mitch. How many of us who love music have always wanted their very own music room? I know for myself, I have always had a need to have a space dedicated to music. For those who love music, a music room of some sort is a great thing to have. I have recently made my music room in my new farmhouse. I do not have a huge space, but do have enough room for my drums, a couple of guitars, a keyboard, and a xylophone. I also made everything in the music room about music (posters, old play bills, sheet music, or anything having to do with music). It is absolutely understandable that not everyone will have the space to do this. Even if you are not a musician, and do not have any instruments but love to sit and listen to music, you can turn any available space, big or small, into a music room. I am finding out that it is the coolest thing to have. One of the greatest things about a music room, is it can serve as a time machine taking you through all of your musical escapades. Depending on the size of the room, you can also double it as a guest bedroom. So if you can, gather some old ticket stubs, records, posters, or anything musical you have, and create a nice space for yourself. We all need a sanctuary now and then!! Peace, the Mitch

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vermont Summer Festivals

Ahh - my favorites. I love getting dressed in my picnic best and sitting on a lawn listening to the lovely sounds of beautiful music surrounded by all that is Vermont. Every summer I treat myself and my significant other (this summer Mitch is on two years in a row - a sure keeper!) to one performance of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and one of the Vermont Mozart Festival. I typically purchase the tickets at the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce Silent Auction for which I get a little sneaky at the end to "win." (This means I usually pay over what they are worth which is so worth it to me!)

In past years I have gone to the season closer at the end of July for the Mozart Festival at the Trapp Family Lodge and have traveled south to camp at a Vermont State Park for one of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra performances. In fact, this is such a favorite summer ritual for me, I even wrote about it in the launch issue of The Healthy Hippie Magazine for which I write an article based on my Vermont Vibes blog.

But this year, now that my Vermont public relations agency has moved from a dingy apartment in Burlington's North End to a gorgeous farmhouse rental in East Charlotte, I felt it completely necessary to experience Shelburne Farms for both concerts.

Mitch and I arrived in style for the VSO's 4th of July concert. The weather was perfect which unfortunately has plagued both festivals this summer. I think my photos do our entire experience tremendous justice - we had an absolute blast!

Only a week later we were all set to head back to Shelburne Farms with wine, grapes, cheese, salads, and cloth napkins only to learn early in the day the Mozart Festival Opener was moved inside to the Champlain Valley Exposition. Ick. With Mitch's mom and partner visiting that weekend, the highlight was to be a repeat of the glorious time we had the week before. But, it is true that too much of a good thing is never allowed. So we packed it up like true flatlanders turned Vermonters (well, I am 5th gen, twice removed) and headed far from Charlotte to the land of the fair.

We got there early so we could still have a bit of our spread and watched the event unfold with amusement. Yes, it was wet, crowded, and inside a concrete building plastered with corporate marketing banners. But it was different, in a surprisingly, musical way.

Now, I'm not going to lie - there is something purely magical in filling up with wine, cheese, grapes, and salad and using a cloth napkin to brush away the crumbs followed by watching the sun set and filling your entire body with quintessential classical music. What I find to be so lovely at the outside venues I found the lack of to be extremely musically enhancing inside. Outside the music is mixed with trees swaying, birds chirping, bugs buzzing, people watching, sky gazing and every other thing imaginable when not closing your eyes in musical interlude. But inside there were not such distractions. Oh sure, there were distractions - especially the rude people obviously so annoyed at the situation and unable to just shwill a bit more wine and chill out. Since the inside distractions were not at all enjoyable, it really forced you to close your eyes and listen and feel the music. And all of it. Not just the parts when you weren't caught daydreaming while watching a dragonfly. Mitch and I both exclaimed the rain was a blessing in disguise because we focused on each note and nuance of each movement in each set. It made a wet, potentially dissatisfying evening a complete harmony of music in our hearts and heads.

Once again, I look forward to planning my outings to both the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Vermont Mozart Festival next year - rain or shine indeed.

Before I close out, I must mention, plug, and promote one other summer festival in Vermont. And this one is in my own backyard yet again. Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh is hosting the 25th Champlain Valley Folk Festival this weekend, August 1-3. While I cannot attend for the whole weekend (although I am making it a point to do so next year) I will be heading over on Saturday and possibly Friday night. If the VSO and Mozart Festival are the heart of Vermont musical experiences, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival is the soul. Please support this Vermont live music experience and take a moment to be thankful for what we have here in the Green Mountains.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blueberries Revisited

I wrote a blog around this time last summer about Mitch and I's delightful excursion to Owl's Head Blueberry Farm in Richmond where we picked 6 quarts of blueberries and picnicked to the tunes of Gordon Stone. We drank wine and laid in the grass. It was one of the most romantic evening's Mitch and I have shared to date.

Well, this year we shall return again - in two days actually to enjoy the tunes of Filk - an obscure rock band playing "covers you've never heard of so you think they're originals." Filk is headed up by my PR buddy, Erik Filkorn - we became friends while networking PR shop talk at Dobra Tea, although I always had the feeling he would much rather be drinking a beer. The band is a cast of talented Vermont musicians and the music is "picked" by Erik. When asking Erik what this meant I learned the story in the story being that Erik was an "Almost Famous" and "Spinal Tap" sort of character - talent scout of bands before they made it big or more often than not before they didn't make it big.

While Erik scouted he learned and collected the songs he liked, most of which have never been heard of beyond obscure college radio in the late 80's and early 90's. But even more interesting was the movie-like scenarios he would pop up in - eating a cheeseburger backstage with Bob Weir, sharing a Caesar salad with Sarah McLachlan, or finishing a bottle of Jack Daniels over a deli tray with Eddie Van Halen. Erik's rule about picking songs is he has to have had at least one beer with the person who wrote or taught him the song.

Come check it out at Owl's Head this Thursday - it's free if you buy at least 2 quarts of blueberries. And if you want to buy more - you can freeze them and they taste fresh in the winter - I did it - yum!!
Freezing Tip: Freeze on a cookie sheet first and then put in a container or freezer bag - then they won't smoosh.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Live Music Rants

Maybe it is because my computer's motherboard is busted or maybe it's because I have not seen enough live music lately, but I must share another rant. It is a rant disguised as praise for an up-and-coming awesome singer in Vermont. That would be Myra Flynn - and we're talking diva material here. Check her out on her My Space - or better yet keep an ear out to watch her live. You can also stay updated with her activities and performances on her blog - Idol Time.

The following post is a rant directly from Myra but which I sympathize with completely and I believe most of my readers will as well so I felt the need to share - check it:

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concert Etiquette

#1 Cell phones are not lighters ... or cameras

If you have replaced the soft glow of a lighter with the iridescent glow of your cell phone, you are officially on my list. You are never going to get a decent camera shot, movie clip, or sound sample with a cell phone. The best thing you can get out of a cell phone is a phone call, and I don’t even have the energy to explain the annoyance of the person holding the phone up to the show shouting, “Can you hear them?! They rock. Wait, can you hear them now?!?” Here’s a tip: Either buy the equipment to actually translate your experience or leave the phone at home. Some of us go out to shows to...oh, I don’t know, listen to music!

#2 Outlandish dancing during inappropriate times

Believe me, I grew up in the days when throwing your musically charged body into a ring of people with their fists and feet awaiting the chance to pummel you was a cool thing. I have nothing against moshing, head banging and other forms of gyrating, but when you are attempting to start a mosh pit at an Anais Mitchell concert, that’s when I have beef. It’s a folk show! Stop head banging, people don’t want to eat your hair. Yet there is always that one person who drinks too many beers and cannot even begin to comprehend moving to music without flailing around in complete disregard for people’s personal space

#3 Hey, do you know how to play “Free Bird”?

This sin comes from being a musician. My band plays soul music and although it’s obvious that we have a clear and organized set list arranged, we can’t seem to transition from one song to the other without someone shouting out their favorite Stevie Wonder or Al Green tune. First of all, not all soul music consists of singers like these two and all rock musicians do not know “Free Bird.” Secondly, the band did not ask to take requests. Unless you’re at a wedding, let the band take you on whatever ride they want. If this is a problem, there are plenty of dive bars with jukeboxes. All you need is a quarter and you can shout requests to your heart’s content.

#4 Story Telling

“Dude, I was at a (fill in the blank) show last fall and it kind of reminds me of (fill in the blank) except the guitar player is taller with better sideburns but, man, can he ever wail, it’s almost like whoa! How does he do it? But I know how he does it because I have a buddy in Texas who can rock pretty hard, he wanted me to be in his band but I was like way too musically above them to play in some crap band so instead of flying out there to audition I exchanged my plane tickets for these concert tickets and here I am! Rockin!” Need I say more?

#5 Push and Shove

Seriously, why can’t most people just accept their place in a crowd? Yes, the guy next to you is holding up his cell phone and the girl next to you is trying to start a mosh pit, but if you think the solution is shoving your way towards the front, you are wrong. Awaiting your arrival at the front is another guy with a cell phone and another girl starting a mosh pit. In between your travels, however, you have managed to upset four or five strangers who are now ready to grab you by the back of your shirt and yank you back to your appropriate position.

#6 Heckling? Really?

I’ll never understand those who yell “Boo” at concerts. If you are at the concert, that means you bought the tickets. What’s the issue? Unless that band has all of sudden decided to launch flaming balls of fire into the audience (although I realize that this is a standard for some bands) then why the need to shout at them? You’re not at a “Night at the Apollo” where heckling is not only accepted but encouraged, you’re watching groups of people bare their souls on stage. Even if you don’t like their music, booing them is unlikely to make it better. I suggest that if you need a place to vent your musical frustrations, try becoming a columnist for a newspaper and write one called “The Seven Deadly Sins of Band Etiquette.” It’s very refreshing.

#7 Smoking

I don’t think I ever realized how poisonous cigarettes really are until I spent four hours at an Erykah Badu concert in Montreal, inhaling more second hand smoke than I could handle. Almost everybody my age in Montreal seems to be a smoker and regardless of the venue, they continue to puff away. The first two hours weren’t so bad. After that, I began coughing and clearing my throat. By the time I walked out of there my hair was dry and brittle, my skin felt the same and my glands were swollen. I’m not usually one to tell people they can’t smoke, but in an atmosphere where there is already so little oxygen to go around it’s almost selfish to steal the rest.

(as seen in The Burlington Free Press on Myra's Blog - Idol Time with Myra.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

93.7 FM SUX!!!

Jerks. They play Phish on stupid studio album rotation for days and say something Phishy is coming Tuesday at noon. And at noon the station is launched into an Oldies station called Cruisin' or some stupid crap. Lame, Lame, Lame. I hate marketing ploys that are under false pretenses! Well, yet another reason why I don't listen to the radio.
PS - the station is WSUX - coincidence?

Monday, June 30, 2008

What is so Phishy???

I can't stand it! I really can't! Ok, I will start with reposting a little ditty I wrote on my My Space Blog:

Just when I thought I was over you
Just when I thought I would love only moe.
Oh Pagey you have to go and write to me
And I just can't
Go on spending my dough on shows!

Here I am
Thinking of that four piece band
Who broke my heart and tore me from my fun
And made live music my only one
No I can't live without it
But how will I survive with it?

Just when I thought I was over you
Just when I thought I would love only moe.
Oh Pagey you have to go and write to me
And I just can't
Go on spending my dough on shows!

I wrote this in response to reading Page's letter (for those who don't know, he is the keyboardist of Phish - you know, that band that is probably the reason behind my moving to Burlington in the first place). You can read the letter here.

After I read the letter on Thursday I poked over to Phantasy Tour - skipped the moe. page and went straight to the Phish page to my own personal horror. I mean, I am the girl who when getting my Vibe in 2006 (reasoning behind the popular Vermont Vibes Blog) ended my ten year stint of Phish stickers on my car and switched to moe. stickers.

At this point I can't even learn more about comments Mike Gordon (Phish bassist) has made about a possible reunion - which can be seen here. But, I do go and read the JamBands article on Phish's potential return and do agree with a great deal of it - especially the touring Europe part - stay away from me!!

So, the following night is Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Shelburne Museum through my Higher Ground faves. While driving back from town to have some dinner and drinks at the farmhouse with Mitch before the show, and probably the first time in about 24 hours I am not thinking about my love/hate dilemma with Phish, I am forced to listen to the radio as recent car cleaning has left all CDs and the Ipod back at the farmhouse. So, I flip through the stations, always annoyed at the large amount of crap out there, I come across a Phish tune. Of course that figures. So I grumpily listen and slowly turn it up and start groovin'. The song ends and this chick's voice in a whisper says, "93.7 Addison, Something phishy's coming Tuesday at noon." At this point I am like, "what the &%@#?" And then another Phish song comes on. And then the chick. Then another song, and so forth until about a five song rotation concludes and they do it all over again.

I am all sorts of fired up when getting home and tune directly to 93.7 when driving to the show, and sure enough - there's the phishy rotation again. Mitch and I try to forget about Phish for a while and focus on the power of Michael Franti and our backstage passes (thanks HG friends!). And of course while drinking Magic Hats backstage, there is Mike Gordon. Now, if you recall from other posts, or are familiar with the scene around Burlington, Mike Gordon (or MG as I call him) is always out and about and sort of fits into the large circle of friends we bounce around with like your friend's brother's buddy who you say hi to but rarely chat one-on-one (the big one-on-one was when Mitch got to play Honky Tonk with MG last fall). But, of all nights of running into MG, this is the time when Mitch is checking out the portolets and MG and I end up being one-on-one. Of course, I refuse to ask him about Phish, 93.7 or anything else. Not because you shouldn't bother rock stars with such talk but because I am in absolute denial and instead ask about his tour and congratulate him on his recent wedding.

I hide the rest of the weekend gardening, going to the beach, and playing with my cats, and yeah - grumbling about Phish and making Mitch laugh hysterically. Then today, back at work, I poke around for the 93.7 nonsense and see there's already a Phantasy Tour news post as well as a mention on the blog, Hodska on the Web.

I am doomed. My bank account is doomed. My moe. love is doomed. Phish is worse than the worst ex-boyfriend creeping around and wanting to hang out. One that you still actually like that is. I know Phish will be back. I know this because nothing I want comes easily - ever. And as I do not want this, it will happen. And I will scrape and crawl like the rest of them for tickets. Or maybe I can just ask MG.

Prepare yourselves Phish heads. And may the Lizards pray for our souls.