Local Music Spotlight
Who: Larry Dougher
What: Blues scholar with a rock and roll heart
Sounds like: Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Larry Dougher has a passion for the blues that extends well beyond his prodigious guitar talents. He plays with the authority of someone who’s been knocking around bars since he was 14, but has a knack for unearthing blues history with every note. On a recent night in Claremont, he unearthed nuggets from Charlie Patton and Tommy Johnson’s 1927 ode to Sterno drinking, “Canned Heat Blues” (the song that gave the band its name).
When he plays live, Dougher usually brings a bass player and a drummer, but he’s equally talented playing solo on a Takamine guitar. His recently released album of original material, Let Me Stay, is a tasty blend of Chicago blues and high energy songs like “I Wanna Know” and “I’ll Always Be.”
The 27-year old Dougher also coaches JV basketball at Stevens High School in Claremont, works as a technology specialist in the Windsor school system and last year took time away from music for a tour of duty in Kuwait with the U.S. Air National Guard.
Silver Fern Grille and Bar, Claremont:
Worth driving out of town
Eastern States Exposition
West Springfield, MA
Distance: 100 miles
Why: The Big E
When: Daily through Sunday, October 4
Tickets: $12-$15 Adults, $8-$10 Children
Freaky food like a bacon cheeseburger on a glazed donut bun is one reason to attend this, the largest fair in New England and one of the 10 biggest in North America. There’s also a lot of free music, which this weekend leans country. Honky-tonk heartthrob Lane Turner performs on Friday, September 25. The following night it’s Little Big Town, sounding a lot like Fleetwood Mac. On Sunday it’s back to pure country with Jamey Johnson, who penned hits for George Jones, Trace Adkins and George Strait.
The final weekend rocks, with Poison front man/reality TV bad boy Bret Michaels appearing Sunday, October 3 and South African hard rockers Seether closing things out the following night.
Along with that, there’s a European-style circus and the regionally themed Avenue of the State. Of course, there are rides with names like Spinout, Crazy Flip and Fireball, which are probably best experienced after downing the fair’s signature dessert, the Big E Creampuff or a glazed donut bacon cheeseburger.
Mark your calendar
Who: Vermont Symphony Orchestra
Where: Bellows Falls Opera House
When: Thursday, Oct. 1, 7:30pm
Last year, Ray Massucco realized his dream of bringing the VSO to Bellows Falls for the first time, a black tie affair complemented by glorious acoustics. Even non-fans of classical music got caught up in the magic. Immediately afterward, Ray got busy locking the symphony in for another performance. This 2009 Made in Vermont Music Festival tour is led by conductor Anthony Princiotti, and features an arrangement of a Mozart string quartet, Quartet in C Major, KV 157; Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games); and Haydn’s Symphony No. 82, commonly known as “The Bear.”
Each year, the Symphony commissions an original work by a Vermont composer to premiere during the fall tour. For this program, Derrik Jordan, of East Dummerston pays tribute to the yearlong Lake Champlain Quadricentennial with Odzihozo and the Lake, which is based on an Abenaki creation story.
The tour stops in nine Vermont cities, including Woodstock on October 4. But you’d be hard-pressed to find one of them as proud as Bellows Falls. It’s truly a big night on the town.