ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 19, 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!

E-Mail Delivery
Sign up to receive the free weekly ArtBits
newsletter by e-mail
or by RSS feed.


BURLINGTON--John Gibbons of Georgia will release Small Town Dance, his first solo CD, at Champlain College Alumni Auditorium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
      "Several great musicians will be helping me celebrate the moment," he said. That line-up includes guitar builder Craig Anderson, Neal Brown, Alan Gratton, Andy Greene, Carol Hausner, Colin McCaffrey, Karen Mcfeeters, Andre Maquera of 8084 and West Street Digital, and Justin Olds.
      Folksinger/songwriter John Gibbons' roots are in old-time country. He plays two different styles, old-time country flat picking and finger picking. He has played weddings, Campus at Noon at UVM, shows from Ripton Vermont to Café Lena in Saratoga to the Kept Writer to the Burlington Coffeehouse, to Summer Sounds. "My songwriting really started at the Burlington Coffeehouse," he said.
      "I like a lot of Doc Watson and Norman Blake," he said. He was also influenced by the more modern folksingers, particularly John Prine, Tom Paxton, and Richard Shindell. A friend had a John Prine album when he was at St. Michael's. "Most of the music I like and I play I enjoy the lyrics and I enjoy the meaning of the lyrics. I think it's important to say something in a song, to be able to understand the words, and be able to get the meaning out of a song while you're listening to it."
      A Summer Sounds favorite, Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Anderson regularly perform with Ms. McFeeters. They have been featured at First Night Burlington, The St. Albans Maple Festival, the old Burlington Coffeehouse, and several other venues throughout northern Vermont.
      Admission is $8. Tickets are available at the door. click here for more info.


      Engineer/producer and "really good sound guy" Lyle Glidden wanders around reviewing new CDs and new venues. Here is his report on the new John Gibbons album, Small Town Dance.

      Small Town Dance, the new CD by John Gibbons is a delightful trip through three distinctively American genres: Bluegrass, Classic Country and Folk.
      The disc opens with the plaintive Silence Or Tears. Dealing with the break-up of a relationship and the return of a former love, John's wonderful tenor voice gives the lyric a heart tugging delivery. 220, track three of the eleven tracks and one of my personal favorites, is an ode to the steam engine which is now on display at Shelburne Museum. The Central Vermont Railroad locomotive ran the hills and valleys of our beautiful state years before John was born. I loved the old steam engines of my childhood and John's lyric pushes the buttons of my memory with many happy thoughts. Any train lover will totally relate and love this song.
      Track four, The Kenworth of My Dreams, paints a vivid picture of a guy selling his cherished cars and fulfilling his dream to purchase and 18 wheeler and hit the open road. The song is performed entirely by John and co-producer Colin McCaffrey. McCaffrey, a versatile and extremely talented multi-instrumentalist plays mandolin, pedal steel and bass as well as providing harmony vocals on this delightful song.
      The Wall That Moves is a heart wrenching tribute to the miniature version of the Viet Nam War Memorial that travels our country. The song brought me back to the night I saw The Wall in Enosburg Falls; the deep emotions I remembered came flooding back to me as I remembered the black granite wall covered with the names of thousands of fallen American heroes. Backing vocals by Karen McFeeters augment this song beautifully.
      Season Song pays homage to the attributes of our four seasons. This song has strong influences of Gordon Lightfoot. Written by Craig Anderson, the luthier who makes John's acoustic guitars and accompanies him on finger picking guitar on this song, the track showcases John's influence from the folk music genre. Craig and Karen McFeeters provide super harmony vocals on this really nice number.
      Lulu Wall is a fun, well executed bluegrass tune. Once again, John's soaring tenor voice places this song perfectly in the genre's pocket.
      Another Shot of Rye Whiskey has a country rock feel to it and closes the CD perfectly. Andre Maquera of West Street Digital provides electric guitars on this fun track. Justin Olds plays electric bass and Gary Spaulding plays drums to round out the band on the final track.
      Small Town Dance was recorded at The Green Room studio in Montpelier and engineered by Colin McCaffrey. The one exception being Rye Whiskey which was recorded in Fairfield at West Street Digital.
      I highly recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys Bluegrass, Classic Country and Folk music.

-- Lyle Glidden


BURLINGTON--Kevin Laddison of St. Albans and First Step Dance present a Weekend Dance Workshop with Patti Panebianco all day Saturday at The Champlain Club at 20 Crowley Street. She will hold Bolero, Cha Cha, Foxtrot, Rumba, and Waltz workshops during the day in addition to Viennese Waltz lessons at the USADance event on Saturday evening.
      A New York City professional dancer, Ms. Panebianco has won more than 25 professional titles in the International Rising Star and Open Categories and first place in the American Rhythm Category.
      Workshops are $20 each or all 5 for $90. Register by phone at 802.598.6757 or click here for more info.


WILLISTON--The Brick Church Music Series presents the Will Patton Ensemble with They Might Be Gypsies at the Old Brick Church tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.
      The Will Patton Ensemble performs the gypsy jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt in the 1930s Paris bistros. The quintet has a strong string jazz sound with Will Patton, mandolin, David Gusakov, violin, and Anna Patton on clarinet. Mr. Patton's music features a mix of Brazilian sambas and choros, folk, bluegrass, straight out jazz, some bebop, and many original compositions. His bands have opened for Van Morrison, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, and Earl Scruggs.
      Admission is $8 or $5 for seniors and children under 12. Children under 6 are free. The evening benefits the Vermont Alzheimer's Association.
      Call Rick McGuire (802.878.0919) or click here for more info.


     Vermont Reads is a statewide, Vermont Humanities Council, one-book community reading program. About sixty Vermont towns participated, many through their local libraries.
      The 2010 selection will be The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson. Published this month, the novel tells the story of a refugee family brought to Barre by a church group to begin a new life. The story echoes earlier Vermont families.
      The reading program offers a series of community-based activities to explore The Day of the Pelican. Vermont Reads brings the community together around stories, ideas, and activities that are important to the life of towns of all sizes. Libraries, nonprofit organizations, and schools may apply. The program delivers free copies of the book, author events with Katherine Paterson, VPR programming, book discussions, oral histories, and more.
      Applications are due November 23 for the winter and spring events. Call 802.262.2626, email, or click here for more info.


     Writer Crescent Dragonwagon of Putney works in the classroom to "create an environment where the students, and their writing, are what shine." And she has "a great children's book name; kids love saying it." Her blog site at typepad has pages about her Fearless Writing Workshops, her name, conferences & programs, public speaking, and much more.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      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.