ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 11, 2004


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, at the Kept Writer in St Albans mostly once each month, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      The All Arts Council presents the Nobby Reed Project in a concert and dance tomorrow evening at 9 p.m. at the Bayside Pavilion. The concert celebrates the release of his new CD, Moonlight Drivin'. There is plenty of room for people to dance.
      Legendary blues guitarist Nobby Reed fronts the power blues trio. Tim Comings, bass, and Eric Belrose, drums, back up Mr. Reed in the St. Albans Bay concert and on the album.
      "I chose to do [the new CD] myself," Mr. Reed said of recording, engineering, and producing the album. He bought an Akai 24-track digital recorder last year. The fifteen songs came out of three long sessions of playing basic tracks with no overdubs. "We narrowed it down to these songs. Some of the stuff Eric had to redo the drums on because the very first session it got by me that a couple of the mikes weren't working. When you are playing and engineering at the same time it's a little bit of a pressure thing." By the third session, "I was a lot more confident about what I was getting."
      Technology makes digital recording and mixing easier but a studio offers better sound control in the recording space itself. The band improvised to get the sound and the mix to work.
      "We did this in the basement," Mr. Reed said. Recording below ground isolated their space from outside noises. "Eric was in one end and we put stuff around him. Timmy was in the middle with a big futon in front of his bass amp" so they could hear but avoid pickup in the drums mics. "My guitar amp was at the other end of the room facing in the other direction and I was in the middle of it all." The separation worked well and he was able to master the album in just two sessions at West Street Digital.
      "I never would have known you did this in your home," Mr. Charley said.
      The track J.B., a tribute to Jeff Beck, started out with Mr. Belrose and Mr. Reed alone. "I started messing with the bass, then I picked up lead guitar and Timmy added his bass, and I started singing to a pitch shifter," he said. "I'm singing through that with a deep, like a Billy Gibbons voice. This fits the song perfectly. My fans might say, 'he's losing it,' but I had too much fun doing it. It had to go on the album."
      The Nobby Reed Project is heard on radio stations in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, New York, and Eastern Europe as well as Lagniappe, Louisiana, Stone Mountain, Georgia and St. Albans. The group has shared the stage with Blues Traveler; Dickie Betts; James Cotton; Delbert McClinton; Buckwheat Zydeco; Big Head Todd and the Monsters; Mighty Sam MacLain; John Mayall and the Blues Breakers; Roomful of Blues; The Neville Brothers and Rod Piazza. This year they have played the Albany Fleet Festival, Colebrook Moose Festival, Glens Falls Blues Festival, the Harpoon New England BBQ Championship, and Summer Sounds. VH1 licensed Fill Me Up several times, the Food Network is used a couple of his songs and Crest toothpaste features Out the Bottle in a television commercial.
      Nobby Reed calls Moonlight Drivin' his fifth "studio" CD but he remixed Best of Live at Middle Earth and released it this year as well. His other releases include Guitar On My Back, It's All About the Blues, Cure for the Blues, and Every Mile.
      The Double Live CD is listed in the W. C. Handy Award nominations this year. Born in Florence, Alabama, in 1873, W. C. Handy is known as the Father of the Blues. He grew up in a log cabin where he displayed a strong interest and talent in music. His first composition in the genre that would become known as the Blues was a campaign song for Memphis mayoral candidate E. H. Crump. The song, "Mr. Crump," was later retitled Memphis Blues. The Blues Foundation will produce the 26th W.C. Handy Blues Awards at the Memphis Cook Convention Center next spring. The show will feature performances by more than 20 Handy nominees.
      "Music has power," Mr. Reed said "I'm hoping that people feel the love that went into it. Subliminally it is always doing something to you. I'm trying to get it to surface a little more."
      He is not a "word man," he said. "I keep my stuff simple. But it touches people because it's so simple."
      Admission to the Friday concert is $5 per person. Tickets will be available at the door. CDs are on sale at the Music Shop, Better Planet, and Kept Writer in St. Albans, and online at
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


TEEVEE--I will visit the Dance Program at BFA tonight on Neighbor to Neighbor as a lead in to the BFA open house next week. Neighbor to Neighbor airs on Adelphia Channel 15 Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. The program repeats on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and the following Thursday, November 18, at 2 a.m.


BURLINGTON--Champlain Theater Company presents All My Sons at Champlain College Alumni Auditorium, November 10-13 and 17-20, at 7:30 p.m. Set in 1947, the biting drama is one of Arthur Miller's best-known plays. Artist and teacher Al Salzman of Fairfield has the lead role of Joe Keller. The production is directed by Joanne Farrell.
      General admission is $12, $5 for students and free for Champlain students with ID. Tickets are available at the door. Call 651-5962 for info.


RADIOTHON--The Franklin-Grand Isle United Way Radiothon begins next Thursday, November 18, at 6 a.m. and runs live for 12 continuous hours. Two Franklin County photographers, David Juaire and I, are included in Slate 16 this year from 1:30-2 p.m. Overbids are welcome.
      "Deeds for Dough needs people with ideas," Jeff Moreau said. Call Mr. Moreau at 802-527-7418.
      "I delivered hundreds of flowers and balloons last year," Tessie Bushey said. She wants even more deliveries this year. She might even dance on your desk, making this a genuine arts and performance entry.


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls will present the Vermont Brass Quintet on Friday, November 19. The five members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra perform a diverse repertoire including standard 20thCentury compositions, jazz medleys, Sousa marches and traditional brass music.
      Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and student, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are now available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans.


      Jack Chase of Birch Pond Sculpture is a seventh generation Vermonter, a native of Fletcher, and a West Point graduate. He brings Yankee know-how to space age technology to create whimsical metal sculpture.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2004 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.