ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 24, 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.


      Having the World's Largest Palette in Franklin County has offered some logistical difficulties. The Palette needs a new home. Sticks and Stuff has hosted it in their in St Albans buildings. Franklin County Industrial Development has hosted it on Precision Drive in Swanton. Gregg Brown has kept it under the Clarence Brown canopy. I've even had it in my driveway.
      We need a new home for a couple more months. The technical requirements are a 14- or 16-foot tall ground level overhead door and room for the palette on its 18' x 8' flatbed trailer. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to volunteer your space or if you have seen a building that might do.


     The Summer Sounds concert series plays Taylor Park on Sunday as Sticks and Stuff presents Atlantic Crossing in a special CD release party on Sunday evening. The final Summer Sounds concert of 2006 brings a healthy dose of their motoring Celtic, Quebecois and Yankee dance tunes.
      Atlantic Crossing brings fun and a love for traditional music to a concert filled with creativity and high emotion with Rick Klein, guitar and vocals; Brian Perkins, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, feet, and vocals; Viveka Fox, fiddle and bodhran; and Peter Macfarlane, fiddle and vocals. Their stirring songs, haunting airs, and driving sets of dance tunes show the many moods of these musical traditions.
      The Champlain Valley folk group will release their fourth CD, Turning the Compass, at two free Vermont concerts on Sunday, the first in Frog Hollow Alley, downtown Middlebury, as part of the Over the Bridge street fair and the second at Summer Sounds.
      The band continues its celebration of New England roots music in their arrangements of rare archival material from the Helen Hartness Flanders collection at the Middlebury College music library, as well as in the original ballads by fiddler Viveka Fox.
      The two Flanders Collection songs are The Charge at Gettysburg, a tragic Civil War ballad, and Clinton County Jail, the lament of a pig thief sent to the Plattsburgh lock-up. The serio-comic vocal harmonies on Jail are reminiscent of shape-note singing. Most of the other songs are Viveka Fox compositions including Wreck of the Troy, about an 1825 shipwreck on Lake Champlain and Rumrunner Blues, her high-spirited look back at life in Vermont during the Roaring '20s. MacDonough's Fleet tells the story of the race to build an American navy in Vergennes during the War of 1812. The recording of this song was funded by a grant from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
      Ms. Fox has played American, Scottish and Irish music since childhood, and loves the Gaelic soul and American exuberance of the music of Cape Breton. Her solo recording Shores of Champlain was released in 1993. Mr. Klein is a licensed captain who has lived and worked on the sea. He developed his powerful rhythm playing over years of dance band work. Mr. Macfarlane has relocated to Vermont from Oxfordshire, U.K. where he organized and led the Aylesbury Fiddle Rally, an annual fiddler’s gathering and last year released a recording of original Scottish-style dance music with pianist Lilian Linden. Mr. Perkins is a music teacher and sound technician, as well as director of Burlington’s popular Celtic College workshop series.
      The Atlantic Crossing arrangements of Scottish and Cape Breton music and their own original material feature driving rhythms, rich harmonies, and a love for the tradition. Atlantic Crossing has been featured in the Summer Sounds concert series, on Vermont Public Radio, and has toured the U.S. in England with appearances at festivals, concert series, and workshops. The completed a tour of the mid-Atlantic and mid-south in March. As a high energy contradance band, they have played some of the major dance series in the U.S., including Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle. Atlantic Crossing is also a member of the Vermont Arts Council juried register for the careful research they do, as well as for their solid rhythms and classical concert-quality craftsmanship.
      Atlantic Crossing has had a busy summer, performing at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, composing and arranging music for the play Sea Marks, which just finished its run at the Skinner Barn in Waitsfield.
      The band has released three other CDs, all produced by Pete Sutherland: Groundswell, Full and Away, named one of the top 10 Vermont albums of 2000, and Wind Against The Tide.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Foster Grandparents social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, and to eat finger foods and sweet delights.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the City of St. Albans and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Northwestern Medical Center and the St Albans area business community.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket, newspaper, or a lawn chair as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities. The rain site (if needed) is the Congregational Church.


SOUTH BURLINGTON AND BRADFORD--The Events for Tom series presents the Irish fiddle and guitar virtuosity of Liz Carroll and John Doyle on Monday at Higher Ground and Tuesday at Middle Earth.
      Doors open at 7 p.m. Showtime is 8 p.m. for both venues. Tickets are available at the door(s). Click here or click here for more info. Email for more info about the Events for Tom Series.

ELIZABETHTOWN, NEW YORK--The Fourth Annual Otis Mountain Music Festival features Big Spike Bluegrass, plus Wildfire, 3 Fox Drive, Banjo Dan and the Midnite Plowboys, the Atkinson Family and more on Friday and Saturday. Call 518.962.8687 or click here for more info.

MONTPELIER--The Langdon Street Cafe presents the Michael Arnowitt Jazz Trio on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Email for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn hosts Open Mic/Band Auditions from 7-10 p.m. on Monday. Call Rob (802.355.3334) for info.


     "“I am fascinated by the places where ferns grow," Ayn Baldwin Riehle wrote. Her work has effervescence and lightness of touch. Her Savage Island site has a gallery, farm news, sailing adventures, and the island history.


      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 © 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.