Local Rhythms – What a Weekend!

moondance.jpgForget Memorial Day – Columbus Day is the biggest three-day weekend around these parts.  It’s times like these I wish I was that Michael Keaton character in “Multiplicity,” able to clone myself and be several places at once.

Every community, it seems, has something scheduled.   On Friday, Windsor has its 7th annual “Moondance” celebration scheduled from 5-10 PM.  Apart from being named after the coolest Van Morrison song ever, the gala has great music.

Claremont’s Fall Festival combines the hugely successful Chili Cook-Off with an apple pie baking contest and music by the Flames.  Later in the evening, the raucous music of “Accordion Warrior” Gary Sredzienski will enliven Opera House patrons. Hexerei also hosts a multi-band show at the Moose.

For those who can’t get enough of chicken dancing, there’s the annual Oktoberfest, held Saturday and Sunday at Windsor’s Harpoon Brewery.  The fest features a wide range of German food, oompah band the Jolly Kopperschmidts, and plenty of beer.  You can bring the kids, though, as Harpoon offers some of the best root beer, cream and orange soda around – along with a chance to win some at the keg bowling game.

Across the river in Springfield, the Vermont Apple Festival is in its 24th year at Riverside Middle School.  The two-day event features crafters, agricultural exhibits, and of course, lots of apple consumption.  Wellwood Orchards, one of my favorite family destinations, is the festival’s official orchard.  Some of my favorite musical performers are there as well – Spiral Farm Band, Jesse Peters and Alli Lubin, among others.

Moving indoors, there’s live music aplenty.  There’s Claremont’s polka show, of course.  At Lebanon’s Opera House, Jonathan Edwards makes an appearance Saturday night, along with the Wailin’ Jennys, a stellar Americana trio.  They have harmonies like the Dixie Chicks, and if they decide to say anything controversial, they’re in luck –they’re all Canadian.

Dartmouth welcomes Rosanne Cash to the Hopkins Center Saturday.  She recently released what many are calling the best record of her career, “Black Cadillac.”  It explores the loss of her mother, father and stepmother, and what lives on.  The show includes music from the album and other hits like “Seven Year Ache” and “What We Really Want,” along with a multimedia backdrop that explores Cash’s legendary musical family heritage.

Here are a few more upcoming choices:

Thursday:  Jason Cann, Brown’s Tavern – A naturally talented guitarist with a voice to match, Cann also fronts Wherehouse (who perform Saturday at the Anchorage.  He’s comfortable playing everything from Dave Matthews to Dave Loggins, and he occasionally pulls an original out of his hat.  Electrified or sitting down, he’ll always deliver a pleasant evening.

Friday:  Comedy Connection, Electra – Sponsored by KIXX-FM, this is billed as comedy with a country flavor.  Not Electra’s typical fare – Hexerei/Stonewall (10/27) are more representative of that.  Sheila Van Dyke’s standup routine delves into life as a “Yankabilly” on the lookout for Deer Crossing signs, which promise fresh road kill, and free dinner for a month.  Roy Johnson, another area comic, co-headlines

Saturday: The Moores, Salt Hill – Toby and Tom Moore, from Yer Mother’s Onion, are joined by their father for an acoustic-flavored version of the band’s show.  Hugh Moore is, I’m told, a woodworker who crafts his own musical instruments, so it’s likely all three will be playing “homemade” guitars.  The three part harmonies alone are worth the trip.  Expect “Acoustic YMO” in addition to their many well-played covers.  Hopefully, they’ll have their new CD for sale as well.

Sunday: The Strokes, Hampton Beach Casino – Post-punks throwbacks born in the same milieu which produced their main influences – Iggy & the Stooges, Lou Reed and Television.  They’ve moved in a few musical directions over the years – stripped down for their early releases, overstuffed for the critically scorned “ Room on Fire” and minimalist but punchy on their most recent, “First Impressions of Earth.”

Monday: Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, Berklee Performance Center – Spun off from the enigmatic Rilo Kiley, this band is Bobbi Gentry keeping Billie Jo’s secret, Miss Peggy Lee watching her house burn in “Is That All There Is?”  Rich harmonies infuse “Rabbit Fur Coat,” one of the best alt-Americana releases of this year.   Usually, bands like this don’t rise far beyond cult status, reaching wide audiences only by opening for more established acts.  It’s nice to see this deserving group headlining a decent room.

Tuesday: Carlos Ocasio, Canoe Club – The well-regarded leader of bands like Frydaddy and Gusano stops by for his 12th Canoe Club performance.  Solo, he plays Caribbean Quattro, delta slide blues, acoustic gospel and soul. Ocasio reminds me just how cross-pollinated the local music scene is.  He’s in two bands, and his band mate Wally Wysk plays with About Gladys, and recently became one half of Have Blues Will Travel.

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