ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 12, 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 Highgate summer continues as Scotty's Taxi presents Jim Branca and the Mystic Mojo Trio with special guest Harmonica Bob Mackenzie in the Summer Sounds concert in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007.
      The Mojo Music Monopoly plays nothing but original music, some of it written by other people. The large trio does covers of the classic rock tunes from Bob Dylan and the Beatles such as Here Comes the Sun," "It Takes a Lot to Laugh," "It takes a Train to Cry, and the slow ballad version of I Wanna Hold Your Hand. [Slow? These guys?], such jazz gems as Summertime and Straighten up and Fly Right as well as Mr. Branca's originals: Howlin' at the Moon" "Love me Baby, or Get out of my Face and Over the Circumstances.
      The Mystic Mojo Trio includes Mr. Branca, Rollin' Roy Cutler, and Tommy "the Lightnin' Rod" Buckley.
      Our return to the roots of this series looks to singer-songwriter-guitarist Jim Branca for the music he builds songs in soul, jazz, gospel, funk, folk and rock out of his baseline in the blues. The well-seasoned storyteller has credits from session work and tours on the Gospel and Blues circuits, to performances with the Broadway musical cast of PumpBoys & Dinettes. Mr. Branca has worked with or shared the stage with Little Richard, Roomful of Blues, Corey Harris, Mighty Sam McClain, Eddie Shaw, Susan Tedeschi, Peter Wolf, and Jon Fishman. This is his fourth year as Music Director for Project Soar School and he hosted the Bluesday Night jams at Nectar's. He has also begun a regular sing-along program at Alburg Public Library.
      Roy Cutler has been playing drums and guitar since the age of thirteen despite several serious attempts to quit for a real job. His musical influences comes from around the world and he currently hangs out with the Stone Cold Roosters, the Oleo Romeos and the Goat Broke Loose. Other times Mr. Cutler teaches biology at CCV and bakes incredible bread.
      Tommy Buckley brings nearly 40 years of professional experience in nearly every style of music from rock and folk bands in the late 60s, to gigs with blues legends Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, and a regular stint as bassist for Eddie Taylor in the 70s. Mr. Buckley is a low-end specialist and harmony vocalist with bands in multiple genres around New England.
      Bob Mackenzie has a melodic, stylish, soulful, sweet command of the diatonic and chromatic harmonica. He appeared in Discover Jazz and has shared stages with the Left Eye Jump Blues Band, Greg Izor's All-Star Harmonica Blow-Out, Phil and the HouseRockers, and Nobby Reed. He fronts the "Bob Mackenzie Blues Band."
      Mr. Branca's first Vermont CD, Bloozotomy - Ain't Dead Yet!, gained a spot on Drew Carey's HiFi Club and air play around the world. His new CD, Jim Branca - Live was just barely captured at Nectar's.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, Desorcie's Market, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Pete Paquette Real Estate & Development, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, Scotty's Taxi, Sticks & Stuff, and The Tyler Place. St Paul's Youth Group plans delicious desserts but no Mystic Pizza for the social.
      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 Highgate Municipal Park, and always free. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.


     "We have sold half the seats already," Mike Curtis said of the luxury coach ride of the summer on The Art Center party bus. The first major Art Center project is a trip to the Vermont Mozart Festival for The Virtuoso Violin Bach Concerti next Friday, July 20. The program includes Concerto No. 2 in E Major for Violin and Orchestra," "Concerto No. 4 in A Major for Harpsichord and Orchestra, and the Concerto for Four Violins and Orchestra.
      The evening features a concert introduction and discussion with VPR President Mark Vogelzang and BFA Coral Director Armand Messier.
      The ticket price of $50/person or $99/couple also includes luxury coach transportation between St. Albans and Knight Point State Park, admission to the park and to the concert, private restrooms, a gourmet picnic supper created by Jeff's Maine Seafood, and more. Please bring your own blankets and beverages. The Bach Bus will leave Taylor Park promptly at 5:30 p.m. on July 20.
      To make reservations or to buy tickets by phone, call Carol at Union Bank (802.524.9000). Email the All Arts Council for more general info.


     The Grannis Gallery in Burlington presents Just-a-Position, an exhibit of black-and-white photographs by Tatiana E. Zelazo.
      "This is a collection of pieces for three years worth of work," Ms. Zelazo said. Most are on 35 mm film. Just-a-Position represents three facets of life, freedom, violence, and magic. "I went to a woman's college so it is all a woman's perspective."
      Ms. Zelazo is a Highgate native. She attended Smith College and currently lives in Burlington. The exhibit will be on display at the Bank Street gallery through the end of July.


ST. ALBANS--Swanton writer and St. Albans Messenger columnist Leon Thompson will sign copies of his books, Good Junk and dork. - another look at my junk, on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Park Sale in Taylor Park.
      The books, published by Plaidswede Publishing of Concord, N.H., are collections of Leon's (mostly) humor columns that have appeared in the Messenger and the Chronicle-Independent, of Camden, S.C.

ST ALBANS--St Albans Park Committee presents the Nobby Reed Project in concert in the Edric A. Loomis Memorial Band Shell on Sunday at 7 p.m. The power blues concert features drummer Eric Belrose, bassist Ray Bushey and special guest Joe Moore. Messrs. Reed, Bushey, and Moore played in Pheelix in the 1970s. Mr. Moore appears on two NRP albums and is a member of the X-Rays.
      Admission is free. The rain site is City Hall.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn presents The Croppies Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. With Paddy Smith on bouzouki, button accordion, banjo, cittern, and vocals, Chris Gauthier on bodhran, congas, drums, guitar, and vocals, and new Mama Cheryl Kerr on fiddle, guitar, bodhran, and vocals, the group performs Irish, English, North American and contemporary songs. Email the Inn for more info.


     The statewide Vermont Creative Economy conference begins at 9 a.m. next Wednesday in the State House in Montpelier. The conference includes Governor James Douglas, House Speaker Gaye Symington, and the VCRD Community Leadership Award. The keynote address will be given by Bill Schubart.
      Mr. Schubart has broad leadership in the arts, culture, business, and community. Resolution, Inc., the e-commerce company he founded and chairs, provides back office solutions to clients including Sesame Street, CBS, Star Trek, Oprah, NPR, The History Channel and more. He has lived in Vermont since 1947 and has chaired the Vermont Arts Council. Circus Smirkus, the Vermont Bicentennial Commission, the Vermont Business Roundtable, the Vermont Board of Libraries, Vermont Public Radio, and, most recently, Fletcher Allen Health Care. He currently chairs a Buy Local Task force in Hinesburg.
      Attendees will also share experiences and discuss policy options for downtown activities and ways to push a local creative economy effort into a regional success.
      Click here for more info.


     Ohio native Adam Glazer relocated to Vermont for the second time to offer alternative illustration/design services and traditional arts. He does book, game, fantasy and digital illustration. Some of his art is risque or mature. The site has an artist's bio, a gallery, links, and musings.


      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).
      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.