Local Rhythms – Every Wednesday I Have the Blues @ ShP

Picture 19
Johnny Bishop Opens ShP Blues Series 7/15/2009

One of my favorite topics is “Desert Island Discs.”  What are the 10 records I’d insist on having if I could have no others?

The list is always changing, but what’s constant is diversity.

This week includes “Quadrophenia,” Patty Griffin’s “1,000 Kisses,” the second Tom Petty album  and “Diana Krall Live in Paris.”

Oh, yeah, and Nickel Creek’s “This Side” – I love to mix it up.

To extend the metaphor, if I were forced to name a night club using the same criteria – you know, there can only be one – it would likely be Salt hill Pub in Lebanon.  The reason? Variety

Just about every night features a different style of music to enjoy, and it’s the kind of stuff that might make it into my endlessly evolving magic list.  Fridays and Saturdays in particular are routinely days of discovery at the pub on the Green.

I’ve lost count of the bands I’ve grown to love after seeing them for the first time courtesy of music maven and Pub proprietor Josh Tuohy.

Josh never gets in a rut, either.  Thursday, which in the past had both a hosted open mike and a jam session, is quiet for the moment.  The Tuesday Irish Sessions continue, but even they took a breather for a few weeks.

I’m glad they’re back, because this year’s been stellar, as anyone fortunate enough to have been in the house for the Dublin City Ramblers post-Opera House jam can attest.

The latest innovation begins next Wednesday, with the return of the Summer Blues Series.  First up is harmonica hero Johnny Bishop.

The series is sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon, and runs through early October.  Upcoming performers include:

• Jim Ruffing & Mike Benoit, known for their work in Dog Dayz

• The Elmores – Ted Mortimer, Bobby Gagnier and Brian Kennel

• Arthur James, who ran Blues Thursdays at ShP Newport

• Charlie Hilbert, an ineffably natural bluesman

• Juke Joynt, one of Dave Clark’s many musical projects.

October 7, they’ll all gather for a big finale night jam session.  Between now and then there should be plenty of cross-pollination, according to Josh.

That means folks will be sitting in, so expect some nice surprises.

There’s nothing like a good night of blues to get my Mojo working.  Did I mention that my Desert Island Disc list always includes some Clapton, B.B, King, John Mayall or Stevie Ray Vaughn?

Sho’ nuf.

What else is happening?

Thursday:  Steve Forbert, Colburn Park – After having a big hit with “Romeo’s Tune” in the late 70’s, this singer-songwriter experienced a music industry nightmare in 1984, with an album held hostage and a recording career stalled for years.  Now he makes and distributes his own material, plays solo, and is about as genial a guy as you’d ever hope to meet.   Good on you, Steve!  This is a free show.

Friday: Basin Bluegrass Festival, Brandon (VT) – Just a few miles north of Rutland, three days of pickin’ and grinnin’ kicks off, featuring some of the top names in the genre.  Performers include Blistered Fingers, the Pinehill Ramblers, Crossover, Lorraine Jordan, Smokey Greene and Dave Nichols’ band Spare Change,  Plus, there’s that festival staple – workshops for guitar, mandolin and fiddle.  So bring yours!

Saturday: Music in the Meadow, Chester (VT) – Every year since 2003, Pat Budnick has held a fundraiser for breast cancer research at her charming little “Motel in the Meadow”.  She chose the Susan G. Komen charity because of its local focus. 75 percent of all money raised stays in Vermont.  This year’s event runs all weekend, and features Tom Hitchcock, the Stockwell Brothers, GB 101 and more.

Sunday: Destiny, Newport Common – I don’t know much about this band, but I do know the Newport Common is a fun place to see a live show.  Destiny advertises itself as a family band – whether that means they’re all related, or that certain AC/DC covers are off-limits remains to be known.  I do hope the weather cooperates.  When did New Hampshire turn into the Pacific Northwest, anyway?

Tuesday: QQQ, Moore Theatre – The folks behind this year’s “Music Box at the Moore” are aiming for a NYC club vibe, so who better to open the series than QQQ, who record for “New Amsterdam” records?  The viola-violin-guitar-drums outfit combines the threads of many influences – Eurofolk, progressive rock and Appalachian Americana are a few, but as Time Out New York says, “there’s no shorthand term for what QQQ is up to.”

Wednesday: Skellig, South Strafford Unitarian Church – Traditional music featuring fiddle, guitar, flute, accordion and vocals continues this weekly series of music.  Skellig joins members of a few different bands together to perform a mix of European-inspired folk, with an emphasis on Celtic rhythms.  Go to www.stafforduuchurch.org for more information on this excellent series, which continues through August 19th.

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