Tonight at the dinner table, I’ll give thanks for my family, and after, antacid. Right now, I want to be a little more public in my display of gratitude. Here’s an honor roll of the people and things that sustained me over the past year.
Thanks to Claremont’s restaurateurs for making my hometown a destination, and transforming the question of where to go for dinner into a wonderfully complex decision process. Demiglace, garlic knots, coconut shrimp or handmade ravioli? So many choices, I love it!
Thanks to the young musicians – Hexerei, Stonewall, foreverinmotion, Syd, the Ruse (past and future), and others – for pumping the blood into my rock and roll heart. There’s not a lot of money in the music business, but these kids have boundless passion and commitment in spite of that.
Thanks to YouTube, MySpace, purevolume and GarageBand.com, for providing easy to use tools to help bands get the word out, and a way for me to find them.
Thanks to the veteran players still in the game. Al Alessi, Pete Merrigan, Spectris, Rick & Dave Davis and the Conniption Fits all continue to represent the region’s rich musical heritage.
Thanks to Charlie, Patrick, Ezra, Thomasina and the rest of the gang at Flying Under Radar in Bellows Falls. It was a great run – come back soon.
Thanks to Josh and Joe Tuohy, for challenging their customers every week with eclectic musical choices. When you walk into Salt Hill Pub, you can expect the unexpected – everything from power pop to Celtic reels to jumping jam band sounds.
Thanks to Gardner Goldsmith at WNTK for proving that two people can be worlds apart ideologically, yet find common ground talking about YouTube, iTunes and the Long Tail. Let’s promote world peace by giving the Israelis and the Palestinians a Radio Birdman record to discuss.
Thanks to Keith Olbermann, for being snarky, smart and never boring.
Thanks to HDNet, for TV concerts that look and sound better than the real thing, and don’t cost a paycheck; also to Rhapsody for building a digital player that makes music discovery portable with their brilliantly cool Channels feature. Now I don’t have an excuse to stay home all the time. Where should you venture this weekend? Here are a few compelling area performances to consider for the coming days:
Thursday: Sun King, Heritage Tavern – Join former members of Shine for an after-dinner party in Charlestown, and dance away the holiday meal. According to National Geographic, the tryptophan in turkey has gotten a bad rap all these years. It doesn’t really make you sleepy after all. I still need a nap after all that food, though, whether it’s the bird’s fault or not.
Friday: Spare Change, Sophie & Zeke’s – Speaking of veterans of the local scene, Joe Stallsmith’s name is discussed a lot when the history of Hanover music comes up. He fronts a few different bands with varying musical styles. This combo is a three-piece – guitar, mandolin and fiddle – that mines the same territory as Spiral Farm Band, another S&Z’s favorite. From Nashville to Texas, with a long walk along the Blue Ridge Mountains – that’s Americana.
Saturday: Davis Brothers Garage Band 2, Shenanigans – After a fun-packed reunion a few weeks back, a local institution returns with a slightly different configuration. Carey Lee Rush sits in on guitar, and there will be a few surprise guests during the evening. Last fall, Rick Davis organized a birthday bash for our mutual friend Bob Rivers, where we watched a few vintage 1981 reels of the band. That must have started this trip down memory lane.
Sunday: Aztec Two-Step, Iron Horse – 35 years after meeting at a Boston open mike night, this duo is still playing and making new music. Their repertoire is full of easygoing folk tunes. It’s a mystery why Seals & Crofts made it to the top of the pile while these guys only got halfway up the ladder.
Tuesday: Irish Sessions with Dave Loney, Salt Hill – Last Tuesday, there were a dozen musicians in the circle at the center of Lebanon’s pub on the Green. That’s what happens when the weather turns cold. So if you want to beat the chill, stop in, grab a pint and enjoy the spontaneous inspiration that so often transpires with this pickup band of fiddlers, pickers and pennywhistlers.
Wednesday: Dinosaur, Jr., Paradise Boston – Long before Nirvana and Pearl Jam, high school buddies J. Mascis and Lou Barlow pioneered the refined garage band sound in the clubs of Northampton, Massachusetts. Mascis and Barlow fought like the Toxic Twins, but in the past few years decided to mend fences and play together again. A new album from the original trio is due next year. The band plays also plays Pearl Street in their hometown on December 1.