ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 23, 2009


      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!

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      The Big Four Music Weeks of summer continues this week. With three or more live concerts, fairs, or festivals each week, there is plenty to see and hear in Franklin County, "rain or shine."


  ArtBits News Photo     This Sunday the Summer Sounds concert series has world class newgrass from Southern Vermont as Ray's Extrusion Dies presents the Stockwell Brothers in Highgate at 7 p.m. Bruce, Barry, and Alan Stockwell wield acoustic and electric guitars, 5-string banjo, mandolin, bass, and multi-flavored percussion to color the poetry of their music and to cast a spell over the audience.
      "Real biological style brothers," Bruce said about the music. Brother acts in bluegrass harken back to old days of the genre. "There is a rich tradition."
      Bruce and Barry have been playing bluegrass together for about 40 years. "Al is somewhat younger but he's been with us for about 25," Bruce said. Their background is in bluegrass but they have played in most other genres. This newgrass concert will bring together contemporary folk music, straight ahead bluegrass, finger picked acoustic guitar ballads, full tilt breakdowns and traditional mandolin tunes mixed in with Americana riding funk, reggae and Latin grooves, Celtic, jazzy, even neo-classical instrumentals, many with 5-string banjo and trio harmonies.
      "Three people, we have to keep up with all the quintets and sextets. We plug it in and make as big a racket as possible."
      The Stockwell Brothers are a Green Mountain institution. Their Summer Sounds concert will include the odd old time fiddle tune or a John Hyatt song. In between will be straight ahead rock, finger picked folk, mandolin medleys, and, of course, a skoch of blue and a little grass. This trio has performed throughout the United States and in Canada and Europe, and has appeared with John McLaughlin, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Mary-Chapin Carpenter and John Gorka. They have released two albums, Stobro and Leave My Dreams Alone. Bruce Stockwell won the bluegrass banjo contest at Merlefest.
      Before and during the concert, the Highgate Public Library will serve a tableful of goodies for your sweet tooth. Meet some old friends and make new ones as you picnic in the Municipal Park starting at 6:30.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, Desorcie's Market, Drummac Septic Service, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and Scotty's Taxi.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings, always 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.


     The third annual Art in Bloom Festival brings a day of music, a gazillion exhibits, and plenty of food to Swanson's Farm and Nursery in Fairfax on Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
      "The Festival is a benefit the Fairfax Fire and Rescue Departments," organizer Shelly Pottala said.
      The artists and artisans include Russ and Jan DeCooman of Apple View Acres; Ally Volz; Amanda Bates; Barbara and Joshua Derner; Bruce Gilbert Smith; Christine Soycheck; Granny Lynn’s Country Greetings; Green Mountain Pottery; Hearts Ease Bears; In the Ferns Stained Glass and Hand Etching; It’s Arthur's Fault; Joanne Delaney; Lena Meunier; Marje Ellsworth and Beth Tole; Mary Rooney; Pat and Andrew Reed; Sally’s Sweet and Savory; Sandi Rexford; Shedd’s Spread Painting and Decorating; Tia Rooney; the Tie Dye Sisters; Trevor Russell; Vermont Animal Whisperer; Weavers Shed Art Studio; the Wildflower Farm and Studio; and more.
      The Festival offers music all day with Backside Grind, Hillbillies from Outer Space, the Hubcats, Alzona Watson, and Wilbur's Dog.
      The Hubcats, Stewart Foster and Fred Brauer, are the premier acoustic duo of northwestern Vermont. 11 a.m.
      Backside Grind from Westford plays classic rock. Noon.
      Wilbur's Dog will put hair on your chest with electro-acoustic Alternative Rock thanks to Frank Alwine, bass; Bill Buyer, guitar, mandolin, and vocals; Mike Dunn, vocals and guitar; and founder Joe Tymecki, drums and vocals. 1 p.m.
      Hillbillies from Outer Space perform zydeco blues. 2 p.m.
      Alzona Watson --Alzona Watson, Willie Watson, Dillon Day, and Dave DuPratt-- is a young band with high energy instrumentals known for killer blues and slide guitar. From 3 p.m. on.
      Admission is free. "We are only asking for parking donations," Ms. Pottala said. Email for more info.


     The sixteenth annual Jig in the Valley offers an eclectic day of outdoor music in a good cause on Sunday. This community event brings together musicians who are generous with their time, the community members and friends, and people from all over the state. Look for great local music, fabulous food, crafts, a farmer's market, and activities for kids all afternoon on the Green in East Fairfield.
      The Jig features hours of alternative country, folk, bluegrass, rock, jazz, swing, Motown, and rhythm and blues with the music beginning at noon.. The performers include the Backyard Bluegrass Band; John Cassel; singer/songwriter Brian Curry; Dale and Darcy; Farm; the Oleo Romeos; and the Fabulous Spiders.
      The Backyard Bluegrass Band is Will Patton, Deb Patton, Jim Weed, and Cindy Weed with a blend of old and newgrass.
      Bakersfield’s pied piper John Cassel has helped build the music scene in Vermont for over thirty years. He is a classically trained jazz pianist who can and does play country, folk, pop, rock, and the dinner music "you should talk over" at Chow!Bella.
      Dale and Darcy are an acoustic duo making their first appearance at the Jig.
      Farm's Jedd Kettler, Josh Givens, and Ben Maddox will play flat-out rock, Neil Young-ish Americana, and indie-pop.
      Led by Tyrone Shaw, the Oleo Romeos blend of crispy-fried country, blues, rock, and original tunes. The group features Mr. Shaw, guitar and vocals, Jerry Bowers, guitar, Will Patton, bass, Joe Moore, sax, and Roy Cutler, drums. Their latest CD of eclectic tunes is Check Please.
      The Fabulous Spiders, Pat LeBoeuf, Marcia Brewster, and Debbie Patton with Will Patton on strings, have been singing together for more than 25 years with a repertoire from Motown, jazz standards, and folk tunes, to a capella doo-wop.
      Admission is $5 per person, with a maximum charge of $20 for families. Kids 10 and under and those over 70 are free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and plenty of kids.
      The Jig in the Valley runs from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday. In case of rain, the go/no-go decision will be made Sunday morning. The proceeds benefit the many programs at the Fairfield Community Center including the after-school homework club, Early Essential Ed and Headstart, and a wide variety of educational, arts, and special programming. Call 802.827.3130 for info.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn has Jimmy Branca bringing those Mojo Blues to WCLX Blues Night tonight. Advance Music and Eagle Country continue the Battle of the Bands as Keeghan Nolan takes on the Bootleg Band on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Inn has no cover charge on any night in July.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

COLCHESTER--The 2009 Colchester Summer Concert Series presents Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm beachside in the Lower Bayside Park tonight at 7 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--The TGIF concert series presents Avi & Celia in Taylor Park tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

CRAFTSBURY--The Music Box presents Michele Choiniere with the Will Patton Trio on Saturday at 8 p.m. They will blend Ms. Choiniere's traditional Franco-American and Quebec folk songs, original compositions, with jazz standards, Gypsy music and covers of well-known artists.
      Admission is $10 for adults. Kids are free. Call 802.586.7533 or click here for more info.

FAIRFAX--The Fairfax Public Library Summer Concert Series presents Carol Jones and the Superchargers at BFA-Fairfax on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS TOWN--The Citizens Concert Band performs at the St. Albans Bay Park Bath House on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

PROCTORSVILLE--Yankee Chank performs on the Town Green on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The group includes Bob Naess, fiddle and vocals; Cannon Labrie, accordion and vocals; Jim Burns, guitar; and Mark Sustic, bass and percussion. click here for more info.


     The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents the Sunday Art & Movement series with local artists and dancers. This week, Cynthia Pase will share Henna Body Art as a way to create both artistry and to keep the option of changing the art. 1-3 p.m., at the Opera House. There is a $10 fee.


     Owner and creative spirit Sandra fw Beatty of Montgomery offers two "Gardens of Creativity" on her site: her creations as a graphic design artist and her work as a teacher and educational consultant. The site includes her design services and portfolio as well as workshop info, anecdotal info, and her resume.


      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 © 2009 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.