ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 4, 2005


      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 or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, 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 jazz standards will mesmerize Highgate Municipal Park as Chevalier Drilling presents Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concert on Sunday evening. With Bob Gagnon, guitar, Rob Guerrina, keyboard, Jeremy Hill, acoustic and electric bass, Glendon Ingalls, horns, and Gus Ziesing, percussion and accordion, Ms. Johnson is jazzy, bluesy, funky, and nearly perfect.
      "We'll definitely do the standards," Ms. Johnson said, "the Billie [Holiday], the Nat King Cole, the Ella [Fitzgerald], and we're going to mix it up with some Cajun tunes with the accordion and with the chest rub board which I'll be playing." They will also introduce songs from her new CD, Tour Down Memory Lane. "We'll probably do 'Hound Dog' which was written for Big Mama Thornton, and 'Old Cape Cod' and some swing."
      Singing jazz, blues and funk has been a central part of Ms. Johnson's life since her teen days in New York City. In the 1980s she pursued musical projects in Houston, Texas and Boston including unique work she titled "The Billie Holiday Story." She also worked in a Boston recording studio producing demo tapes for Star Search and the Coca-Cola Company. After returning to Burlington in 1989, she launched Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, singing jazz and blues standards by her favorite African-American artists. The active Vermont Arts Council touring artist is a regular performer in Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds, Discover Jazz, First Night, and at Chow!Bella
      Tour Down Memory Lane was recorded during her Vermont opera house tour. That CD is a combination of 40s, 50s, and 60s music focusing on girl groups..
      Stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Highgate Public Library Summer Sounds social before and during the concert. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, work a love of books into the music, and to eat finger foods and maple delights.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate to keep music and maple together all year round. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, Roy's Housing/Your Vermont Home, and the Tyler Place.. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church. Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and maybe an umbrella as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


     The 30th annual Franklin County Field Days calls itself "Four Days of the best that Franklin County has to offer." The musical lineup includes some Northwester Vermont bands that are worth the price of admission alone.
      Tonight, Yellow Fire begins the long weekend on the Main Stage at 6:30. The Jim Daniels Band, Blue Bandana Band, and Island Ramblers all fill the stage on Friday. Saturday includes singer Keeghan Nolan, the Conrad Samuels Band, and Yankee Wild. On Sunday look for Joey the Clown to hypnotize, plus Bear Tracks, and the killer blues of the Nobby Reed Project to play until the Field Days gates close, giving you just enough time to drive due East for the Library party and Summer Sounds concert in Highgate Center. Whew.
      Yellow Fire is a young group with appeal to kids and adults alike. They play a little of everything, Barbara Parent said. Tonight, 6:30 p.m.
      The Jim Daniels Band offers up original and traditional old-time country and bluegrass. Friday, 1-3 p.m.
      Esther Combs and the Blue Bandana Band is a four-piece group with over twenty years in music. They play covers of the Classic rock n roll era and classic as well as traditional country. Friday, 4-7 p.m.
      Singer Keeghan Nolan, 13, of Fairfield is "a horse person who does rodeos and shows and who sings at the drop of a hat," said Joanne Scott. She won the Maple Festival Talent Show last year, played the Jig in the Valley, and was featured at Field Days for the first time last year. Her repertoire includes Patsy Cline, some Martina McBride, and more. Her Field Days show will include Seven Lonely Days, Your Cheatin' Heart, Crazy, She's Got You, and Imagine That. Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
      Yankee Wild, brings a mix of slow, old time country to good snappy modern country music (and maybe even a little rock thrown in) to the stage. The group is Willie Hughes, lead guitar and lead vocalist, Bob Corbiere, bass and vocals, Steve Sweetser, rhythm guitar and fiddle, and Tim Michel, drums. Saturday, 6 p.m. on.
      The Bear Tracks trio plays roots country, bluegrass and Americana music with the sibling singing of Tom Venne, Julie Venne Hogan, and the soulful resonator guitar work of Junior Barber. Sunday, 1-3 p.m.
      Legendary local blues man Nobby Reed has always been about playing the guitar. He has paid his dues recording and performing in a host of bands, and, thanks to critical acclaim for his first solo CD in 1997 he is developing an international audience. His CDs now include Guitar On My Back, It's All About the Blues, Cure for the Blues, and Every Mile. Sunday, 3-6:30 p.m.
      Franklin County Field Days is held annually on Airport Road in Highgate. The fair opened this morning at 8:30. The days start at 7 a.m. through Sunday for breakfast at the 4H booth; the grounds and exhibits open formally at 8 each morning. Admission is $6.


JEFFERSONVILLE–The Bryan Memorial Gallery presents the Paintings By Women Invitational Exhibition beginning Sunday and continuing through September 4. Featured are Julie Y. Baker Albright, Lisa Forster Beach, Denise Cote, Rebecca Cuming, Joan Danforth, Jane Desjardins, Fiona Cooper Fenwick, Marilyn James, Gene Rybicki Judkins, Mary S. Martin, Dorothy L. Martinez, Robin Nuse, Betty Lou Schlemm, Theresa Somerset, and Sara Wesson.
      The opening reception is this Sunday afternoon, 4-6 p.m. Call 644-5100 for info.


MONTGOMERY--The Montgomery Historical Society will present the Green Mountain Chorus in Pratt Hall on Saturday evening at 7:30. The 20 singers of the Burlington Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society sing to help raise funds for local charities. Admission is $6 for Montgomery Historical Society members or $8 non-members.


     Since this is "Turn Off Your PC Week," I produced this column entirely with a quill pen and "posted" it via carrier pigeon. Actually, that's not true but we are skipping the art link this week.


      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 © 2005 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.