Local Rhythms – Autumn Tempered By Talent

Labor Day is in the rear-view mirror, and apple orchards have PYO signs posted.   Summer’s fading, and autumn is close at hand.

I grew up in California, which has only two seasons, rain and not raining, so I (mostly) welcome the transition.  When I hear my furnace kick on – not so much.

My melancholy feeling is tempered by the last blast of outdoor shows at Great Woods and Meadowbrook.   The Big E in Springfield (MA) sends summer out in style with ticketed shows from Natasha Bedingfield, Fergie and (sold-out) Sugarland. The state fair also offers free shows from LeAnn Rimes, Jordin Sparks, Malo, Jason Aldean and others.

Inevitably, though, things will have to move indoors.  Upcoming shows at area Opera Houses offer some comfort.

In Lebanon, Pete Seeger, his grandson Tao-Rodriguez Seeger and bluesman Guy Davis play a benefit show September 12, followed by Martin Sexton on the 13th.

Newport Opera House has a community talent night planned for September 20 – rehearsals are the 15th – and several stage productions in the works.

Claremont features plenty of comedy this season, with über-Bostonian Lenny Clarke September 20, “R-Rated Hypnotist” Frank Santos October 11, and the immensely popular Bob Marley November 11 – his third visit to the area.

The Woodstock Town Hall Theater welcomes Dar Williams October 2, and Crooked Still October 10.  With Buzz Boswell now in charge of Pentangle Arts – he ran Lebanon for years – it will be an interesting season.

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra comes to the Bellows Falls Opera House for the first time on October 1.  The VSO “Made in Vermont” tour also stops in Lebanon October 5.

In Randolph, Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean performs September 14 at the Chandler Music Hall.  The recently renovated theatre continues the worldly vibe with Frigg on October 11 and Sol Y Canto October 14.

Further north, Dan Tyminski (of Allison Krause & Union Station fame) performs at the Barre Opera House on September 26, followed by an Old Time Fiddlers Contest on the 27th – which should be happening outdoors, crisp air or not.

The wonderful pairing of John Sebastian and string wizard David Grisman, which might be dubbed “A Nashville Cat plays Dawg Music,” comes to the Paramount Theatre in Rutland on October 3.

A week later Columbus Day, and the annual Springfield Apple Festival (October 11 & 12) will leave no doubt that fall is upon us.

Enjoy the sun while you can, along with these events:

Thursday: Ninja Monkey, Bellows Falls Farmer’s Market – There’s a few familiar faces in this band – Josh Maiocco, formerly of Ingrid’s Ruse, currently with the kick-butt trio 84 Sheepdog; man-about-town Ezra Veitch, Matt Parker and Café Loco’s Michael Lenox.  What do they sound like? Not sure, but it’s like steak and eggs or tomatoes and basil – if you start with the right ingredients, something good’s bound to come out.

Friday (oops – I mean Saturday): Stonewall, Shenanigans – Their debut album, while not exactly Chinese Democracy, has been a long time coming.  I’ve been listening to “What If?” all weekend, and I have to say that Stonewall did an amazing job (with the help of the late Doug Bashaw) of moving their edgy live sound into the studio.  Being a trio means forces every member to stay at the top of their game; Josh, Ryan and Phil are among the best musicians in the area.

Saturday: Glory Days of the Railroad, Downtown WRJ – With gas prices spiraling out of sight, there’s a renewed interest in train travel – Amtrak is suddenly cool.  This event celebrates railroading past, present and future. In addition to exhibits and family activities, there’s music from the Stockwell Brothers, the East Bay Jazz Ensemble, the Flames and blues-rock from the Chad Hollister Band.

Sunday: This Is the Place of Parting, Redfern Arts Center – A play/performance art piece set in 2041 with lions, sermons, puppets, masks, film, and an international cast, this show also plays in Saxtons River Thursday, and Hadley, MA on Friday, before ending its run Sunday in Keene. The Brattleboro-based band Amargosa will play the original soundtrack of what’s billed as a “quest for faith and a true celebration of the human experience.”

Tuesday: Acoustic Coalition, Murphy Farm – This loose affiliation embodies the Upper Valley scene. Most of the players at this weekly jam session, returning to Quechee after spending the summer up north, gig with other bands – some with several. Listen to Acoustic Coalition recordings on yellowhousemedia.com (a great source for all things local and music) to get a sense of the inspired fun that transpires.

Wednesday: Gillian Joy, Canoe Club – Hanover’s most music-friendly club presents a piano player who’s been compared to George Winston – subtle but skilled, nuanced yet strong. Canoe Club impresario John Chapin calls her “totally promising,” and she’s been asked back several times.  That’s enough for me.