ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 9, 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 various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, 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!

      This is the third weekend of the Big Three music weeks in northern Vermont.


     We may be most familiar with the singer as activist after the Viet Nam protest songs but consider that some songs of 1917 rallied the spirit of America and others called for isolation (I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier) even as we entered World War I. Labor ballads inspired workers to fight to unionize. Jazz music was once thought to corrupt the entire Greatest Generation. Liturgical music calls people to grace. Country songs including bluegrass tell of people going up or going down. Environmentalist newgrass is self-explanatory.
      Popular music has told stories, acted as propaganda, or to laud or protest someone else's beliefs for hundreds of years. This week features bluegrass in Alburgh, Renaissance music in Sheldon, jazz in Montgomery, and folk music in Highgate. I am sure there will be music with a message at each venue. And that is a good thing.
      Papers on the power and politics of popular music will be presented in Philadelphia in November at the 2007 Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association.


     The Summer Sounds concert series plays Highgate Municipal Park as Pete Paquette Real Estate & Development presents the "muppet jug band," Small Axe, on Sunday evening. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007.
      Small Axe is actually a Montpelier-based folk group with Andy Plante on vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and harp; Guido Mase' on bass, acoustic guitar, and vocals; Ed Canty on acoustic and electric guitar. hand drums, and vocals; and Jesse French on banjo and acoustic guitar.
      "We play a lot of the familiar folk music by writers from John Prine to Lead Belly," Mr. Plante said. Their repertoire includes Millennium Blues, Hurdy Gurdy Man, and Rock Island Line, all on their site along with their own and others' originals.
      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.
      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. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church.


     At least not this week as the Sixth annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival kicks off with the Gibson Brothers with three #1 Albums, vocal group of the year Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver, and female vocalist of the year Rhonda Vincent and the Rage plus a major fiddler's contest, a craft fair, music workshops, a bonfire, barbeque, and jamming, all on a family farm in Alburg. The music starts tomorrow and continues through Sunday afternoon. (As usual, there will be just enough time at the end of this Festival to hustle back to Highgate for Summer Sounds.)
      Tomorrow afternoon the stage opens at 3 p.m. The first Mad Mountain Scramblers performance begins at 4 p.m. There will be a bonfire and open pickin' from 12 midnight until Sunrise both Friday and Saturday nights.
      The complete lineup includes the Cabin Fever Band, Bob Degree & the Bluegrass Storm, Adam Dewey and Crazy Creek, the Gibson Brothers, Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver, James Reams and the Barnstormers, the Mad Mountain Scramblers, Southern Rail, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and Yonderhill.
The Mad Mountain Scramblers at 4 and 8
Bob Degree & the Bluegrass Storm at 5
James Reams & the Barnstormers at 6 and 9
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage at 7 and 10
Bonfire/Pickin' starts at midnight

The Cabin Fever Band at 4
James Reams & the Barnstormers at 5
Adam Dewey & Crazy Creek at 6
Yonderhill at 7
Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver at 8 and 10
The Gibson Brothers at 9 and 11

The Cabin Fever Band at 4
Yonderhill at 5
     The annual $3000 Fiddle & Banjo Contest starts off Saturday. It runs from 9 a.m- noon. The contest has six divisions. The Fiddle Champion Division and the Fiddle Open Division are open to any age. Contestants must play a waltz, tune of choice, and a hoedown. The Fiddle Senior Division is for those 60 years and older who like fiddling around. The Fiddle Junior Division is for 14 and under. The Fiddle Trick & Fancy and the Banjo Divisions are also open to any age. Fiddlers will play just one tune in old time fiddle style. Banjo players will play two authentic, non-jazz banjo songs.
      The craft show covers all three days with juried, handmade crafts.
      The 2007 Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival begins tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. about two miles north of Alburg Village on Route 2. Admission is $55 for the weekend including camping. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available through the Flynn Regional Box Office. Call 802.482.8110 or click here for more info.


ESSEX JUNCTION--It's a busy week at the Lincoln Inn as they present the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m. and Tammy Fletcher and the Disciples on Saturday at 9 p.m.
      Call 802.879.3309 or click here for more info.

SUMMER MUSIC AT GRACE--Full Circle Recorder Consort returns to the popular series tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. This concert will feature their Love and Summer theme.
      The group of five friends have made music together since 1978, currently as a professional quintet that specializes in medieval and Renaissance music from about 800 to 1600 A.D. as well as baroque, folk, Celtic, Appalachian, and 20th Century music. The group sings and plays guitar, percussion, harp and hammered dulcimer as well as five sizes of recorders although the harp and dulcimer can not make the voyage to Burton Island. The members of Full Circle are Susan Reit, Linda Rodd, Mary Ann Samuels, Beth London and Maeve Kim. Full Circle has appeared at Burton Island State Park, First Night Burlington, the Lane Series and more. Full Circle also plays Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm in Huntington this evening.
      Grace Church is located at 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon. suggested donation of $10 for adults; $5 for youth/seniors benefits the performers. Call 802.326.4603 or click here for more info about the Summer Music at Grace series and performers.

JEFFERSONVILLE--It is Old Time Music Weekend at the Brewster River Campground beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday afternoon.
      Call 802.849.6968 or email for more info.

CONCERTS BY THE COMMON--The popular and eclectic Montgomery Village series presents a Festival of Jazz this summer. Random Association returns with a mixed a capella contemporary concert on Saturday at 8 p.m. The sextet of three women and three men brings energy and fine musicianship to a repertoire of jazz, blues, R&B, pop, rock and original tunes. They have performed together for 10 years.
      All concerts are held in Pratt Hall in Montgomery. Admission is $12 per person or $10 for MHS members. Call Lutz Automotive 802.326.4528 for ticket reservations.

ST ALBANS--The St. Albans Concert Series presents the Starline Rhythm Boys in concert in the Edric A. Loomis Memorial Band Shell on Sunday at 7 p.m. The concert features singer and rhythmic foundation Danny Coane, songwriter Billy Bratcher on upright bass, and Al Lemery on guitar and harmony vocals.
      Admission is free. The rain site is City Hall.
      Mea Culpa. This Concert Series presented the first concert and this one at 7 p.m. Unfortunately, the Keeghan Nolan concert started at 6 last week and some fans got there late. Sorry.

CASTLETON--The Castleton Concerts on the Green series presents the Will Patton Ensemble on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. to 9pm
      Email for more info.


     Arts, cultural, and entertaining activities keep multiplying and there is no single calendar of everything happening in Franklin County. The All Arts Council maintains a schedule at of all the happenings that we know. If you have an event (or have heard of one) that we haven't listed please e-mail us. Set your clocks and enjoy.


      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.