Perhaps it’s the long run of warm weather.
May is barely in the double digits, and I’m already thinking about June, and the start of the summer festival season.
This, to my mind, lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day
That’s not an exact calendar fit, but it matches the Jackson Gore Music Series perfectly.
The run of free Friday night shows begins May 29th with Gypsy Reel; Buzz Universe plays the finale September 4.
In between, there are festivals everywhere.
Discover Jazz (6/5-14) features big names (Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall) at the Flynn Center and up and coming talent in the Burlington clubs and pubs.
Roots on the River, a/k/a “Fred X” (6/11-14) kicks off with a Sonny Landreth/Chris Smither double bill at the Bellows Falls Opera House; the big Saturday tent show has lots of talented women – Red Molly, the Sweetback Sisters, Jenee Halstead – and namesake Fred Eaglesmith.
Jenny Brook Bluegrass (6/18-21) moves to a new location in Tunbridge, Vermont. Dixie Chicks fans will enjoy female trio Next Best Thing; the Gibson Brothers also return.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (6/30-7/12) celebrates its 30th anniversary with typical genre-bending glee, welcoming everyone from Al DiMeola to Jackson Browne.
The 15th annual Basin Bluegrass Festival (7/10-12) is a mostly traditional affair, with a Sunday morning gospel sing-along, and lots of small “field picking” workshops for musicians.
Green River Festival (7/17/-18) kicks off with a Friday night Signature Sounds showcase. 15 artists, led by Richard Shindell, Crooked Still and Rani Arbo, help the indie label celebrate 15 years in business.
Saturday’s all-day show in Greenfield (MA) has a New Orleans flavor, with CJ Chenier, Trombone Shorty and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings among the talent.
Performers are still being added to the free Lowell Folk Festival (7/24-25); perhaps some folk music will join the polka, blues and honky-tonk already booked.
That won’t be a problem for “George Wein’s Folk Festival 50” in Newport, Rhode Island (8/1-2). Pete Seeger, who threatened to cut Bob Dylan’s power supply at the 1965 event, headlines both days, with purists like Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott joining in.
Complete lineups for these and other shows are on the Local Rhythms Google calendar
More listings are sure to come in the weeks ahead (reader input is appreciated).
It’s going to be a great summer. Here’s what’s on the immediate horizon:
Thursday: Peter Mulvey/Jesse Peters, Boccelli’s – Mulvey’s latest, “Notes From Elsewhere,” is a retrospective of a different sort – re-recorded highlights of his near-20 year career. I’m inspired by Peters’ “Hub and Spoke” tour, which kicks off tonight. The Vermont alt-folkie is will play across three states in as many weeks, traveling entirely by bicycle. Good thing he’s acoustic, as hauling an amp would be problematic.
Friday: Antennas Up, Salt hill Pub – Should be a packed dance floor on the green tonight, if this band’s first CD is any indication. The funkiest nerds I’ve ever heard, the Kansas City trio melds George Clinton grooves to Modest Mouse modernism, with a nod to Boyz to Men and Michael Jackson along the way – “Outta Sight” is a play-by-play homage to the “Billie Jean” video.
Saturday: Roxanne & the Voodoo Rockers, Anchorage – A sure sign of summer is the return of live music to Sunapee Harbor, particularly at this waterside bistro. These blues-rockers should keep the energy level dialed up to 11, with a mix of originals and classics. Keyboard player Sandy Alexander left the band in December to move west – a big loss to the local music scene.
Sunday: Henry Rollins, Portsmouth Music Hall – Poet, punk rocker and raconteur Rollins has found his calling as a spoken word performer, which I guess is another way of saying he’s more cerebral than a stand up comedian, right? He was a fan of Black Flag before joining the band, where he built a reputation as one of the most intense front men in punk or any other genre. These days he prowls the stage without musical backup,
Monday: Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Higher Ground – The most prolific of this artist’s many pen names – he’s been known as the Palace Brothers, Palace and Bonny Billy. “The primary purpose of the pseudonym,” says Will Oldham (his real name), “is to allow both the audience and the performer to have a relationship with the performed that is valid and unbreakable.” Maybe that also explains his Charles Manson beard.
Wednesday: World Music Percussion Ensemble w/ Gypsy Reel, Hopkins Center – African and European cultures combine for “Afro-Celtic music” in this unique performance. Hafiz Shabazz directs the acclaimed Vermont band and the Dartmouth group for a program that mixes Irish and Scottish reels and jigs with songs, rhythms and dances from the West African countries of Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.