Local Rhythms – Google Nation

I don’t understand math.

A Congressional majority is sixty votes out of a hundred, not fifty-one, and a two by four is one and three-quarters inches thick.

More baffling is the biggest company on the Internet, which gives away most of its products, yet is somehow worth tens of billions of dollars.

How does that work?

Well, Google profits from advertising – we at the (always free) Compass certainly understand that.

It also looks like the company could take over the world.

There’s hardly a game in cyberspace Google isn’t playing.  Want e-mail? Try G-mail.  Need a word processor, calendar, or a place to store and view your documents? Google has all three, and they’re free!

Ditto for digital photo albums (Picasa), video (YouTube) and net telephony (Google Voice).

They’re even taking on Facebook with Buzz, though that little launch had many longing for the good old days when Microsoft was the biggest dog in the pound.  Due to a bug (they insist it’s fixed), users who signed up for the social networking service unwittingly divulged their private data to the world.

This included GPS location information, and a tongue-in-cheek website, www.pleaserobme.com, sprang up to point would-be thieves to easy targets.

This put a stain on Google’s unofficial slogan – “don’t be evil.”

However, with all this frantic activity, including acquisitions that leapfrog the company to the front of the pack in rapidly evolving markets like streaming mobile video and cloud-based music, maybe “don’t be evil, be everywhere” is more apt.

I’d also suggest that anyone whose blogger.com site was unceremoniously shut down last year due to alleged copyright violations might dispute Google’s all-purpose benevolence.

That said, when Google decides to disrupt a sector, it’s usually good for consumers.  In music, the company is rumored to be negotiating to buy a company that would directly compete with iTunes.

Plenty have tried and failed to topple Apple – Google has the war chest to pull it off.

The Mountain View mega-corporation is also making inroads into the iPhone’s world with Android, which is a pretty nifty device.

The latest initiative, Google Fiber, could impact Claremont. The company wants to build – for free, naturally – several ultra-high speed fiber optic networks in select cities and towns.

Communities can submit proposals for consideration, and Mayor Cutts plans to raise the idea with the City Council.

Imagine a sign at the city limits – “Claremont – Powered by Google.”

It could happen.

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, Feb 25: Dala (opening for Vance Gilbert), Flying Goose – Vance Gilbert is a talented performer, but the real reason to hit this show is the two Canadian girls who started singing Frank Sinatra songs in high school and wowed the crowd at last year’s Newport (R.I.) Folk Festival.  Sweet harmonies that remind me of what a duet featuring Joan Baez and Judy Collins might sound like – honey throated and gorgeous.

Friday, Feb. 26: Hexerei/Till We Die, Electra – The standard bearers of the local metal scene return after a brief hiatus.  It’s great to see Travis Pfenning and his band, which has had more that their share of ups and downs, back on the stage. Till We Die rounds out the Metal Mayhem bill – it will be a good night for headbangers.

Saturday, Feb. 27: Three Rix, Plainfield Blow-Me-Down Grange  – Rik Palieri, Rick Nestler and Rich Bala will give a musical history lesson, with songs from the first European settlers and pioneers, Revolutionary War ballads, sea shanties from the days of whaling ships, through lumber camps, bluestone quarries and the Depression-era hobos, right up to the current environmental movement.  Presented by Thom Wolke’s Twin Cloud Concerts.

Sunday, Feb. 28: Dartmouth Chamber Singers, Hopkins Center – An “American Life” concert focused on the leading lights of modern classical music, from the early 20th century up to the present day.  Harmony, rhythm and melody are always at the forefront in works by Irving Fine, Aaron Copland, Thomas Campion and Leonard Bernstein, along with folk-inspired pieces by 21st century composers including Stephen Paulus, Gilbert Martin and Alf Houkoum.

Tuesday, March 2: Open Mic, PK’s Tavern – Singer songwriter Jesse Peters, who’s ramping up a nationwide bicycle tour commending in May, is the biweekly host of this, one of the longest running opening rehearsals in the area.  On his off weeks, pals like Ezra Veitch and Josh Maiocco occasionally pick up the slack.  It’s always a good time, as Bellows Falls is a hotbed of local talent.  Good pints too.

Wednesday, March 3: Ted Mortimer, Quechee Inn – One of the most well-rounded guitarists in the area, who rocks out with Dr. Burma and mines the Great American Songbook with his wife Linda Boudreault, plays solo during the dinner hour, which features several soup to nuts food specials in an elegant setting.   A three-course dinner and cool jazz music are indeed a worthwhile combination

This Week’s Compass

Horizon – Mark your calendar

What: Jimmy Dunn’s Funny Guys, Naughty Girls and Dirty Guitars

Where: Claremont Opera House

When: Saturday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $22/advance

More: www.claremontoperahouse.com

It’s a night of mature (18+) comedy featuring one of the funniest guys in Boston, rock and roll and burlesque.  Dubbed as a couple’s night out, the event features Dunn, well known for doing his comedy shtick on NESN after Red Sox games and driving a cab in Olympia Sports commercials.  He’s joined by rock Sal Baglio, longtime lead singer of the Stompers, who performs with his current band the Grease Rockets.

Oh, and there’s dancing girls, one of the main reason it’s necessary to leave the kids home.  Dunn did the show in Manchester a few months back, where it was a big hit. He says it’s the kind of “naughty couples” show familiar to anyone who’s been to Las Vegas.   There will be plenty of give and take with the audience.

But this is the Opera House, after all, so while the entertainment will be bawdy, it won’t be indecent.  Expect the spirits of Rusty Warren and Gypsy Rose Lee, updated for the 21st century, but not a night at the typical gentlemen’s club.

Beyond – Worth driving out of town

What: Pat Green

Where: Pickle Barrel Nightclub, 1741 Killington Road, Killington

When: Thursday, March 4, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $20

More: http://www.picklebarrelnightclub.com

Distance: 46 Miles

If you’ve ever wondered what a night at a Texas roadhouse feels like, check out this show.

A country rocker in the vein of Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney, Pat Green is one of the most overlooked talents in music.  With a career spanning 15 years and 10 albums, he’s won the admiration of his fellow players (Willie Nelson is a big fan) and a solid following, but he’s never broken into the arena world.

That may be a good thing, as the honky-tonk good time vibe of songs like “Wave on Wave” and the ironic “Country Star” fit perfectly in a hot, crowded nightclub like the Pickle Barrel.  Green also writes evocative music – “Footsteps of our Fathers,” from last year’s What I’m For, is one such song, a bit of heritage rock as good as anything coming out of Nashville.

But not many country players would brave a cover of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” as Green did at a show in Northampton, Massachusetts a few years back.  It’s these curve balls, and an unabashed rocker’s spirit that make Pat Green a special, if often not fully appreciated talent.

Players – Local Music Spotlight

Who:  Little Memphis

What:  Country Rock

Sounds Like: Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt

Little Memphis began as Dan D. and The Burning Love, an Elvis Presley tribute band that performed a faithful recreation of the King’s Hawaii television special. Claremont natives Dan LaPorte and musical partner Todd LeBlanc branched out in 2007 with an album of country rock originals, produced in Nashville by Scotty Turner.

With radio-ready songs like “Cutie Patootie” and “Sugar Daddy,” Let Me Down Easy received local airplay, and the band played out at places like Shenanigans in White River Junction.  LaPorte on vocals and LeBlanc on bass are constants in the band, along with a local crew consisting of Tom Nagy on drums, keyboard player Nathan Robbins, Jim Eibner on pedal steel and Pete Henault on lead guitar.

Earlier this year, their song “Hot Date” debuted at number 72 on the Power Source Country Music Chart, and the band recently appeared live in the studio on local country station KIXX-FM. The band recently posted a new song for purchase on their www.littlememphisband.com web site. “Get in This Car” was written by local singer/songwriter Ed Leavitt, who also wrote “The Nights the Lights Went Out In Graceland” for the band.

Upcoming local gigs:

Friday, March 19th – 9:00 PM Shenanigans, White River Junction

Friday, April 30th – 9:00 PM Shenanigans, White River Junction

Friday, June 11th – 9:00 PM Shenanigans, White River Junction

Saturday, July 10th – Wounded Warrior Project Benefit Show, Mt. Sunapee Ski Resort, Sunapee