ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 16 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 23, 2012


      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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      MRBA will hold its 3rd annual River Festival at the Recreation field in Montgomery Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. There will be live music by the Missisquoi River Band, the Shady Trees, and Don't Call Betty.
      The Missisquoi River Band includes Cindy Weed, stand up bass, Jim Weed, lead and rhythm guitar, and artist Pat Murphy, guitar. "We all sing and write many our own songs," Cindy Weed said. "Jimmy was inspired by the late Doc Watson and taught me how to play guitar in my 20s." His great uncle was Sterling Weed, band leader until age 100, who died at 104.
      "This music is really kicking," Mr. Murphy said.
      The Northeast Kingdom rockers Don't Call Betty is a six-piece alt/country rock band playing original music as well as songs from Wilco, Old '97s, Drive by Truckers, Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks, the Rolling Stones, Son Volt, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and more.
      The Belfry will host a beer tent. There will be food, a portage race, and other activities.
      Admission is $5. The River Festival is a benefit for the Missisquoi River Basin Association. Additional support provided by the Abbey Group, Champlain Chevrolet, Concept 2 Rowing, Little Painters, Missisquoi Construction, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Vermont Farms & Homes Real Estate, and Whitehead Electrical Services.
      Call 802.933.9009 or email for more info.


     The Summer of Music has been busy! Franklin County has hosted more than 40 festivals, major events, theatricals, and individual concerts in just eight weeks but all good things must close.
      The 22nd season of Summer Sounds brought free concerts to Highgate, St. Albans Bay, and Swanton and came to an end on Sunday, just in time for the Champlain Valley Fair to start. The series dodged rain drops a couple of times and used Highgate Volunteer Firehouse to good advantage.
      This popular series brings exceptional performances "from away" with groups rarely heard in Franklin County. This year, we also began to introduce the newest musicians now starting to perform professionally. We teamed with Keeghan Nolan to showcase talented under-21 performers from this area. The Young Guns on the Tailgate Tour included Tiffany Couture, Alanna Freeman, Mingo Maquera, Troy Millette, Rosie Newton, and Deanna Pelletier.
      Dark Horse, Jenni Johnson and Junketeers, Longford Row, Towne Meeting, and Mr. French. The Summer Sounds Surprise was the Joe Levesque Big Band in their first appearance in Highgate.
      The popular series enters its 23rd season next year. The All Arts Council will need your help to host Summer Sounds concerts in several Franklin County towns. I am taking suggestions for the performer list right now. You can help us arrange an appropriation in your Town to host concerts in your own local parks. And we need a major sponsor to help underwrite and advertise the series. Email the All Arts Council to volunteer or for more info.
      The Summer Sounds concerts were 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 and Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing, and the Swanton Chamber.
      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 for the outdoor family music and festivities. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church.
      Visit for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The One Federal Restaurant and Lounge Thursday Night Summer Concert Series presents the Nobby Reed Project this evening at 7 p.m. Vermont's premiere blues trio includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals.
      Admission is free. Click here for more info.

CHELSEA, VT--The Pines Reunion and Benefit, Guitars Not Guns, presents the Nobby Reed Project and the Sword & Spirit band for an evening of hard driving blues and alternative acoustic folk in support of Vermont children on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      Guitars not Guns was founded in 1992 by Ray and Louise Nelson of San Jose. As foster parents, they help kids by providing guitars and lessons.
      Admission is $15 per person. Call 802.685.3344 for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Downtown St. Albans Summer Concert Series presents Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm playing on the green in Taylor Park tomorrow evening at 5:30 p.m.
      The rain site is City Hall Auditorium.

WEST SWANTON--Justice raises the roof in their first ever gig rocking the barn beams at Niles Landing on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Bring your cooler to see Todd Dunn, lead and rhythm guitar; Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Mike Stella, drums; and Scott Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals.
      Click here for more info.

HIGHGATE--The Maplewood Organics beef and vegetable farm presents the Gore Road Local Food Festival celebrate innovative farmers around the Gore Road on Sunday at 3 p.m.       Eric and Hannah Noel will host the Food Festival at 3550 Gore Road with fresh hot pizza from the NOFA pizza oven; face painting; and Green Mountain Blue Cheese made on the Boucher family farm just down the road plus children's activities, interactive booths. and music by the Missisquoi River Band.
      Call 802.524.2444 or email for more info about the festival and click here to find out more about the Northeast Organic Farming Organization.

ST. ALBANS--Have as much fun as possible as Chow Bella continues Comedy for a Cause, a new, charity event series on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A night of stand up comedy with five of Vermont's best comedians, the show will benefit the Rec Dept and City Pool.
      Colin Ryan of A Stand Up Life produces the show.
      Admission is $15. There are just 70 tickets available. Call the city pool (802.524.6796) to reserve a ticket or email for more info.


     I like to read regional writers whenever I can, so anything new by Chris Bohjalian or David Budbill or Archer Mayor will always get my attention. The Cabot Cheese Vermont Writer's List links to a number of well known and lesser known writers so I have plugged a cheese company for the first time as an art site, even if all their links are not current.


      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 © 2012 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.