ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 3, 2007


      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.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!


      The Saint Albans Artists' Guild will hold Franklin County's Art Exhibit of the season On Saturday and Sunday in the Bliss Auditorium of the Saint Albans Historical Museum. The free event is a chance to meet the artists and to see an eclectic collection of fine art with the theme of Something Old, Something New.
      "Each artist will present a new work," Art Guild chair Jay Fleury said.
      39 artists and artisans are included in the show. Most will exhibit one work that has been seen before and also a new work. The exhibitors include Harald Aksdal, Corliss Blakely, Chepe Cuadra, Alan Demont, Sean Dye, Gwen Gallup, Barbara Hamm, David Juaire, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Barbara Joan Ostiguy, Stina Plant, Longina Smolinski, David Vanslette, Karen Vath, Don Wilkinson, and a few surprises.
      Art Guild members are also invited to the first Annual Meeting of the Guild on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the museum. Keynote speaker Professor Christine Campbell, Director of the UVM Art Department, will speak at 11. Members will also elect the group's first board of directors.
      The opening will begin at noon with light refreshment reception. Sunday's showing will be from 12:00 noon until 4:00pm.
      "The guild plans for more leaders in the visual arts to conduct master classes during the year and another fine arts show next year," Mr. Fleury said. "We are growing and always looking for new members who are not only artists but supporters of the arts and the work we are doing to promote the artists in Franklin County."
      Call 802.527.9821 or click here for more info on becoming an artist member, regular member, supporter, or patron.


     Engineer/producer and "really good sound guy" Lyle Glidden wanders around reviewing new CDs and new venues. He has taken a few months off from the sound business and has now returned. Here is his report on The Satellite DJ.
      For those of you familiar with the Northern Vermont and Franklin County music scene over the last 20 plus years the name Rob Eldridge stirs up memories of county rockers "Spring-Heeled Jacks," a band that for me always brings visions of the Rolling Stones to mind.
      Mr. Eldridge is now a teacher in the Pittsburgh, PA area and has recently released a new CD under the Nom de Plume of ESTATIC.
      The Satellite DJ is a concept album based on the premise that the DJ's soul, mind and music can be beamed into the fabric of peoples lives and around the planet via the new medium of Satellite radio.
      Mr. Eldridge divides the CD into 5 Warps or tracks. Each warp is made up of 2 or more songs or tone paintings. The project has a very Bowie-esque quality. One can hear deep homage to David Bowie through textures and thematic content that harken back to the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars album.
      Written, Produced and Engineered by Mr. Eldridge in his Planet Studio, the CD is massively ambitious. Mr. Eldridge plays keyboards, guitars, and bass guitar as well as handling the recording, engineering, and mixing of the CD. He displays a confident grasp of not only the musicianship, but also the technical control of the recording process. From a production stand point, the only thing to improve the disc would be to master it in a different room to "tame" a couple of "bass heavy" moments, otherwise this is a super first effort.
      I particularly like Mr. Eldridge's recording of Acoustic guitar. It has a crystalline bell like quality augmented by the tasty use of Digital Delay.
      The Satellite DJ at times takes on a dark, brooding feel. Think Pink Floyd as Roger Waters deals with intense personal issues on Animals and The Wall. The CD travels the entire gam met of Progressive rock sounds, styles, and textures.
      The high point of Satellite DJ is a song titled Hope Floats. It is riveting and soars above the rest of the CD. It is superbly crafted, recorded, and produced. If Mr. Eldridge continues to hone his craft and develops along these lines, he may well one day hit the mark he is aiming for...a true Progressive Rock icon.
      Click here or here for a peek into the life of a talented Franklin County Artist or to purchase this CD.

--Lyle Glidden
Split Rock Audio Productions


ENOSBURG FALLS--The new Artist in Residence art cooperative hosts a fruit, wine, and cheese reception for four featured artists on the first Thursday of every month. Tonight the event features artists Corliss Blakely, Kitten Ellison, Henry Trask Reilly, and Andrew Wooten, all from 5-8 p.m.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more. It is owned and operated by artists and sponsors.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn presents Big Spike Bluegrass Tuesday (Bluegrass night) at 7 p.m.
      Big Spike Bluegrass plays traditional bluegrass and country in the traditional bluegrass style with banjo player, lead and tenor vocalist Bill Gaston, of Enosburg; guitarist and vocalist Pete Langdell of Cambridge; son of an old time fiddler, Freeman Corey; and mandolin player, lead and baritone vocalist Neil Rossi. 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.

RICHFORD--The A.A. Brown Library hosts watercolor classes for beginning and advanced artists on Wednesday evenings, 6-8 p.m. The cost is $12.50/class. Call 802.848.3313 for more info.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers jazz and improv with guitarist Jerry Levine on Monday evenings, 6-9 p.m., and virtuoso guitar with Tom Leshinsky on Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Overtime Saloon offers Open Mic with Abby Jenne and Friends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Piano Bar with Dawna Messier every Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend the Wednesday performances. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Armand Messier joins the Piano Bar every third Friday. Click here for more info.


     Fred Ploeger of White River Junction creates contemporary abstract paintings using paper in bas relief. The site includes a gallery, info about the artist, links, and contact info..


      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 © 2007 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).
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