Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Trade a Trumpet for the Vocals

In a way that's what Japhy Ryder does, and very well I might add. Based in Burlington, Japhy Ryder is a funky, jazzy, and beat-centric quartet with trumpet, guitar, bass, and drums. They take a jazz base and electrify it with beats and energy which is fantastic for dancing. I am not the biggest jazz based modern music fan, but like what Japhy does in taking the mournful sounds of jazz, especially with great trumpet playing (and I can judge that as my bro is a classically trained phenomenal trumpeter), and creating jams and beats around that voice. I also like that there is no voice, vocally speaking. There is sometimes nothing worse than a good jam band feeling they need to have vocals and sticking one of the members on the mike when they really can't sing, never mind the sound issues that come with adding vocals to a band. Japhy Ryder knows what they do well and they do it, smart move boys.

I have boogied down to them before and even got my first kiss from my sweetie at a Japhy Ryder show! Last week they played the Five Year Anniversary Party at Nectars, an early, happy hour crowd, and proved they can also provide great background music for an event without making anyone there feel uncomfortable that no one's paying attention to the band. While those are not the most fun gigs for a band, they did a great job and the music was certainly enjoyed by everyone there.

Japhy Ryder has a ton of Vermont shows coming up and while I am happy to provide links to their website - - and their My Space Page, I am also going to list their calendar because you should check them out. Plus, they're doing quite a few apres ski gigs which are a great way to support local music, local mountain life, and local beers!

Feb 2, 9 pm, James Moore Tavern - Bolton Valley Ski Resort
Feb 8, 10:15 pm, Oliver’s (Cask’n Flagon), Boston
Feb 16, 3 pm, Castle Rock Pub - Sugarbush Ski Resort
Mar 1, 9 pm, James Moore Tavern - Bolton Valley Ski Resort
Mar 22, 9 pm, James Moore Tavern - Bolton Valley Ski Resort
Mar 27, 11 pm, the Monopole, Plattsburgh
Mar 29, 3 pm, Castle Rock Pub - Sugarbush Ski Resort
Apr 5, 9 pm, James Moore Tavern - Bolton Valley Ski Resort
Apr 11, 9 pm, Unity College, Maine
Apr 19, 11 pm, the Monopole, Plattsburgh
Apr 26, 10 pm, The Hub, Johnson
Jul 26, 9 pm, Samson’s Bar & Grill, Paul Smith, New York

I'll be at the Sugarbush shows - hope to see some peeps there!

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Venues!

These venues are not brand new, but relatively new and worth checking out a band and the ambiance! Would love to hear feedback too!

The Hub - Johnson

Fully known as The Hub Pizzeria & Pub and located in the heady Vermont college town of Johnson (location of Johnson State College), The Hub has fast become a popular location for Vermont's blues rock circle - Seth Yacavone, guys from former Miracle Train, somewhat molded into Liquid Dead (Brian Lauri), Jeremy Harple, and the Nightbirds, which makes up a good part of the next few week's lineup at The Hub. Johnson needs a place like this - makes for a great road trip! Enjoyable Vermont drive out to Johnson, cheap and groovy shopping at Forget-Me-Not Shops, tea at Edelweiss Bakery and Cafe, fill up on spring water from the Johnson Cold Spring, and pizza and tunes at The Hub.

Weathervane Music Hall - Brattleboro
Down in the southern end of the state is the artsy town of Brattleboro - a town I never get to as much as I'd like. A little over a year ago two women created and started a music venue business called The Weathervane Music Hall. Live music 5-7 nights a week, rotating art exhibits, full bar, local brews, soups, paninis, and burritos with local ingredients - all the attributes which make up the kinds of places I like most! Coming up are quite a few good acts I've heard around Vermont - if you're down the Brattleboro way, please visit The Weathervane Music Hall. I wish the very best to owners, Andrea and Gina!

Skinny Pancake - Burlington
The owner of the Skinny Pancake once asked me why I was writing in a cafe. Now I understand more about why he asked that and wonder if he has found the answer. At that time, The Skinny Pancake was a yummy food cart on the Church Street Marketplace (and a favorite of mine after a night downtown). Soon after a Skinny Pancake booth could be found at music festivals around the Northeast. Not long after, The Skinny Pancake opened on the corner of College and Lake Streets on the Burlington Waterfront. It may be one of the best locations ever for such a joint and is certainly getting a lot of attention lately for its innovative music offerings. I tend to think that is owner Benjy's culmination of careful observation around the Burlington scene. The Folk & Fondue Music Series runs Thursday through Saturday, with Thursdays now being a special night for college student performers. Make it a point to stop by The Skinny Pancake for some tunes, some fondue, oh yeah, and a crepe!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nectars 5 Year VIP Event

Listen up Vermont music lovers! You will only hear about this here on my blog - yet another reason you should read Vermont Music, share Vermont Music with others, and, most importantly, get in touch with me (via my website - and fill me in on Vermont music news and happenings!!

Nectars Restaurant & Bar, a staple in the Vermont music community, was sold by original owner Nectar Rorris five years ago to the trio of Damon and Sally Brink and Chris Walsh. Five years later Damon and Sally are celebrating their five year anniversary of Nectars ownership and management (Chris is directing movies in the Caribbean and checks in from afar).

To honor Nectar's friends, patrons, musicians, and other folks, Sally and Damon are hosting a VIP Happy Hour and Vermont Music Blog readers are invited! Simply email me or mention me at the event which is set for Wednesday, January 23rd from 5 - 7 pm. Live music will follow the "happy hour" and is then open to the general public. In return for reading my blog - if you find me at the event I will happily get info on your band and do a Vermont Music Blog post as well as introduce you to any folks you'd like to meet at the event.

Hope to see you there!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Cush

Imagine a foursome of artsy rockers and their rock and roll instruments stumbling upon an empty church on a rainy non-Sunday afternoon. They enter the church and see a vintage pipe organ at the pulpit. Filled with images, thoughts, and musical interludes, they venture to the organ, set up their guitar, bass, and drums and start to play.

This is how I envision The Cush in my head. While their music fits into the more Indie-genre - a genre I do not particularly listen to - it also has glimpses of one of my more favorite bands, My Morning Jacket, which leaves a sort of eerie, mystical ringing in my ears afterwards. Listening to the The Cush evokes a similar state - perhaps that which helps bring images of empty churches to my mind.

The Cush started in Texas, but have made their name and home in Vermont, so I can definitely promote them in the Vermont Music Blog! They are also returning to their roots with a small Texas tour right now, but hopefully they will be back in Burlington for a show or two before they head out and make it big - I have a feeling they are certainly on the, whether you like Indie rock or not, their music is developed, orchestrated, and certainly hits a chord when listened to.

Check them out at (only complaint is you can't use the back button to navigate) and on their My Space, which has recently been updated so bands can post more than four songs - yay!