ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 19, 2006


      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.


      Last week, we covered the statewide portion of the Palettes of Vermont project. Now it is time to think local.
      Palettes of Vermont will be the largest statewide arts exhibition ever. It can also be the largest Franklin County arts exhibit. S.A.F.F. will host a working session with folk artist and VAC trustee Warren Kimble tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at St. Albans City Hall to kick off the individual and group participation in area exhibits and events. And there will be plenty of events.
      "[Mr. Kimble's] intent is to get folks who have some association with artists to the meeting," S.A.F.F. Executive Director Karen Bresnahan said. "He'd like artists there but we also need community people who want to work and drive it. What the project is going to look like in St Albans, what our concepts are going to be, and how we're going to present it."
      Palettes of Franklin County (Vermont) is all-inclusive. The performing arts were incorporated when the Vermont cloggers performed, banging on the wooden palettes. And there is room in the books for another Guinness record attempt in St. Albans. Mr. Kimble will explain the details, answer questions about the statewide project, and help us focus on local events.
      The time table includes a statewide gallery showing from July through October. "We need to have at least a couple of Franklin County events on the calendar. We'll get organized over this month and have artists working on it through February and March," Ms. Bresnahan said. "We will have our initial showing at the Maple Festival."
      That showing will be a featured place in the All Arts Council exhibit in the Robert Bliss Memorial Auditorium on the third floor of the St Albans Historical Museum. Free elevator rides included. It could also include a giant Maple Festival float and much, much more.
      "The energy and creativity has no bounds," Ms. Bresnahan said. "The more creative we can get and the more people we can get into the process the better,"


ST. JOHNSBURY--Catamount Arts and the St. Johnsbury Academy present Big Spike Bluegrass at the Morse Center for the Arts tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m.
      I'll bet most readers of this column didn't know that Bluegrass started in Franklin County or that I saw some genuine Vermont 'grass just last week.
      OK, the grass was actually on the golf course but it was full of color and had great roots. Country music does have deep, strong, and long-lived roots in Franklin County. Country groups swung through Vermont, upstate New York, and southern Canada during the 40s and 50s. That roots music lives on.
      Big Spike Bluegrass plays traditional bluegrass and country in the traditional bluegrass style. In fact, through the 1950s there was no split between bluegrass and country; it was all just "country music."
      Banjo player Bill Gaston, lead and tenor vocalist, of Enosburg began playing at 22. Kirk Lord plays upright bass and sings tenor and lead. He has played with Lost Posse, rockabilly with Buck and The Blackcats, and with top 40 rock bands. Guitarist and vocalist Pete Langdell of Cambridge does much of the songwriting. He designs and manufactures the Rigel mandolin. Son of a fine old time fiddler, Freeman Corey grew up on a dairy farm where he started playing at age 10. He has played with many square dance, swing, and bluegrass bands around New England. Mandolin player Neil Rossi doubles on fiddle, plays banjo and guitar, and sings lead and baritone. Neil has been a member of The Spark Gap Wonder Boys, The David Bromberg Band, and many others. He also writes much of their original material.
      The group appreciates the pays homage to earlier groups such as The Blue Sky Boys and the Delmore Brothers, as well as to Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, Jimmie Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, and Flatt & Scruggs. They recreate the honky tonk and early bluegrass sound with the full, twin fiddle sound and the classic "brother duets" of the thirties, forties and fifties.
      Their repertoire draws from the Louvins, Red Allen, the Stanley Brothers, as well as original material written by Pete Langdell and Neil Rossi.
      The concert is part of the Music at the Morse Series. Call 802.748.2600, 888.757.5559, email or click here for more info.

BRADFORD--Middle Earth presents the Nobby Reed Project tomorrow evening at 8:30 p.m.
      Vermont's most popular power-blues man Nobby Reed has always been about playing the guitar on stage. The Project plays the best original music in the soul-shakin'-electric Texas and Chicago blues styles with a Vermont touch. The band includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Tim Comings, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals. He has recorded and performed in a host of bands and has built an international audience. The Project played the Ben and Jerry's One Heart Festival, opened for Eddie Money, has headlined every Franklin County Festival, wowed the New Year at First Night St. J. and journeys to the Middle of the Earth regularly. The original NRP CDs include Guitar On My Back," "Best of (at Middle Earth), and Moonlight Drivin'. His newest, The Nobby Reed Project Live at The Harpoon BBQ Fest, features Ray Bushey.
      Admission is $8. Call 802.222.4748 or click here for more info.


VATTA AUDITIONS and INTERVIEWS (February 24)--The annual statewide theater audition and interviews for performers, designers, directors, technicians, and management personnel will be held Saturday, March 4. Theater artists can "strut their stuff" for a Producers' Circle of 18-25 theater companies, ad agents, indie producers, and reps from area film/commercial/video. Produced by the Vermont Association of Theaters and Theater Artists will take place at Saint Michael's McCarthy Arts Center. The Producers Circle also wants to fill positions for summer and year-round work in the state's Theaters. They pay; many use some form of Equity contract.
      Auditions are by appointment. Performers are assigned a 3-minute time slot in which to present two contrasting monologues plus an optional song. Designers, technical and management staff will visit with producers and/or present portfolios. There is a processing fee. Call Veronica Lopez (802.862.2287) or email for the application.

CREATIVE CAPITAL (February 10)--The Multi-Arts Production Fund seeks applications to create new work in all disciplines and traditions of the live performing arts. The fund assists artists exploring and challenging the dynamics of live performance within a changing society. MAP seeks especially to support work that brings insight and vibrant critique to the issue of cultural difference in class, gender, generation, ethnicity, or tradition. Applications for MAP support must come from U.S.-based nonprofits; the AAC can apply as a fiscal sponsor on behalf of artists or ensembles. The fund supports up to forty-two performance-based works with awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 annually. click here for an RFP.


     Random Association is a mixed a cappella contemporary vocal sextet from Huntington. Their repertoire includes jazz, blues, R&B, pop, rock and original tunes. The site includes bios, songlists and sample tunes, programs, school programs, contact info, a calendar and news, reviews, links, and a press room. It is a member of the A Cappella Web Ring.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2006 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.