Friday, March 28, 2008

Vermont Music Gripe

Or actually, it's more of a fan gripe - Pay For The Music!

This is to everyone who says they support local music but don't want to pay for it.

It makes me mad.

Local musicians do not get money from big record labels, they don't all live off trust funds, they work hard usually doing day jobs and play music because they love it.

But that doesn't mean they love playing for free!

It is damn time consuming to lug all your equipment to and from a gig. Equipment and instruments need repairs and upgrades. Practice space needs soundproofing or rental fees. Gas to and from gigs is a bank breaker. And there's a dozen other things I am sure I am leaving out. To refuse to pay donations or to always try to find free ways into shows is disrespectful to the music and the musicians you say you support.

We are all guilty of it to some extent and times are hard on everyone! If you so choose to live in Vermont, you do not get equal pay to living in other places and the cost of living in Vermont is ridiculously unfair. These are simple facts that are brushed under the rug by many powers-at-be because no one can admit that our class system is now those with lots of none and those without. Why are there so many people like me out there being self employed? Because we can't afford to work in most of the jobs that are offered in Vermont!

But none of this is an excuse to deny a cover charge, donation, or ticket price to the very musicians who help us escape the crappy, daily financial woes we all suffer from!

I have griped my gripe, and now only ask - the next time you are trying to avoid paying for live music - take a moment, close your eyes, and put yourself in the musician's shoes...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Red Hot Juba

Ooooooo - these guys are fun! When I said I got a CD release email from Red Hot Juba, even that elusive drummer Mitch got all excited. Of course, that got me all excited. Ok, enough about that. But, really, how could I not like a band called Red Hot Juba - it just oozes some form of naughtiness!

And sure enough some of the way they describe themselves includes "timeless hot jazz," "turning onto a country road with Hank Williams," and "juke joint jumping rockability." Plus, some of their songs are called "Lover's Lane," "After Dark," and "Capable."

The lyrics simmer and steam with catchy and naughty phrases, all combed together with eye-slitting bounce. Yum...Mitch?!!? My quote for Red Hot Juba is "Vermont Music Blog thinks this is the perfect music to have play at a rolling farm landscape, kick-you-shoes off summer party and may need to invite Red Hot Juba to play her farmhouse July 4th weekend party."

They are gigging extensively this spring - so warm up people and go check them out! View their full schedule here and by all means, go to their CD Release Party on Saturday, April 5th at The Monkey House in Winooski! Website is at and also check out their My Space!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Farm Fresh Arts Fesival

Yay! Combining the localvore movement with music in Vermont! Fantastic concept and the surely event to experience and help make it happen is The Farm Fresh Arts Festival being held Sunday, March 30th at the LACE Gallery at the Farm Fresh Market on North Main Street in Barre. LACE stands for Local Agricultural Community Exchange and can be found online at

The Farm Fresh Arts Festival kicks off at 10:00 am with brunch featuring fresh farm produce and products and live music by Vermont musicians until 4:00 pm. Other highlights include Senator Patrick Leahy unveiling a photography exhibit between 2:00-4:00 pm and there will also be a Rock and Roll Silent Auction as well as a raffle for a Vermont made Froggy Bottom guitar. (John Mayer has one.)

The Vermont musician lineup includes:

10:00 am - Kristina Stykos/Doug Perkins (dueling guitars and original songs)
11:00 am Dave Keller (local bluesman)
12:00 noon Earthman (world beat/digeridoo)
1:00 pm Susan Reid/Pam Bockes (celtic fiddle/guitar and songs)
2:00 pm Scott Ainslie (traditional blues and original songs)
3:00 pm Jamie Masefield/Doug Perkins (acoustic jazz masters)

Hope folks get a chance to check it out to support your local food providers and entertainment makers!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Maire Claire - NOT the Magazine

She uses that slogan on her My Space, so I thought it would be a catchy title. Maire Claire is fantastic and I am totally a fan. If you have not heard of her, I am proud to be the one to introduce, and if you have, I am sure you will share my sentiments.

I mostly see Marie perform at Honky Tonk Tuesdays at Radio Bean, but know she plays much more widely than that and my to do list involves making it to a solo performance of hers.

Marie strikes me as very versatile, easy to get along with, and helpful to other musicians she plays with - I have observed her many times showing drummers specific rhythms for songs and easily interchanges from vocals to piano depending on what the audience demands and what other musicians can offer to the mix.

She is most pleasant to talk to and oh-so-pleasant to listen to. Her vocals are always right on and effortless - a true mark of talent and professionalism. And her piano playing rocks!

Keep an eye out for Marie Claire's name when looking for music to see - whether it's a solo performance or her joining forces with some of Vermont's best musicians, you will be pleased and so will your ears.

Check out her My Space at

Photos courtesy of Robin Reid, Publisher of Rural Route Today and helps head up the Charlotte Coffee House.