This week’s Compass

Local Music Spotlight

Who: Loose Cannons Band
What: Classic covers
Sounds Like: The Band, Grateful Dead

Loose Cannons plays a versatile mix of blues, country, bluegrass, reggae, and rock and roll.

Randy Budner has been with the band for four years, doing lead and back-up vocals and lead and rhythm guitar John Sanchez joined three years ago on lead and rhythm guitar as well as lead and back-up vocals. Sanchez originally joined the band as a mandolin player easily moved to when the time came.

Dennis Ulatowski joined a year ago on drums and percussion. joined in the last year. The newest member of the group, bass player Mike Schwarz, is perhaps the most seasoned, with 35 years experience playing with different blues, rock and country bands in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.

Budner feels that one of the keys to the band’s success is their shared vision of what they want to do musically from both an artistic and marketing perspective. He says, “Enjoying the music is paramount. Knowing what we are and focusing on our strengths is right up there as well.”

The band will be part of the upcoming Claremont Brew Fest in September. They can be also booked for private functions through the website.

Upcoming Gigs:

Thursday, March at 7:30 p.m. – Apres Ski at Whaleback Mountain Resort in Enfield
Friday, March 12 at 9:00 p.m. – Silver Fern Bar and Grille in Claremont
Saturday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. – Apres Ski at Polar Bear Pub, Mt. Ascutney Resort Base Lodge
Saturday, March 27 at 3:30 pm – Spring Fling Event at Polar Bear Pub, Mt. Ascutney Resort Base Lodge

Mark your calendar

What: Stonewall & Spectris
Where: Alyson’s Orchard, 57 Alyson’s Lane off Rt. 12 in Walpole
When: Saturday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Musicians and charitable deeds go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Two local rockers, Stonewall and Spectris, are often seen lending support to a worthy cause. This time around it’s Drewsville Head Start, an organization providing preschool education to low-income children, that is the object of their largesse.

“It’s a cause that means a lot to use,” wrote Spectris guitarist Chris Bergmann on the band’s web site. “Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing social and cognitive development through the provision of educational, health, nutritional and other services to enrolled children and families. They need us.”

Details about ticket prices can be found on the web at and

Compass Preview

Worth driving out of town

Keene Pumpkin Festival

Distance: 39 miles
When: Saturday, October 17, 10AM – 9PM
Tickets: FREE

There’s something fundamentally wrong with Boston, a city of over 600,000 people, stealing Keene’s crown for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place a few years ago. But the humble city of 22,000 took it in stride, continuing to host its’ annual Pumpkin Festival while publicly de-emphasizing attempts to re-claim the title.

Not that they won’t be trying. Everyone attending is asked to bring a carved pumpkin and a votive candle. But there’s a lot more to this event than orange orbs as far as the eye can see.  For example, a kid’s costume parade that’s always a great photo opportunity, a $2.00 climbing wall for teenagers, fireworks, food and vendor stands and a great array of music, on three different stages.

A local radio station is sponsoring its own music festival in the McCue’s Billiard Hall parking lot, located near the lower end of Main Street on Emerald Street. The event, which will raise money for the Professional Firefighters of Keene Local 3265 Scholarship Fund, features Edens Lie, Bending Tunez, the Conniption Fits, Vegas Temper and Aerosmith tribute band Draw the Line.

Mark your calendar

Who: Last Kid Picked
Where: Newport Opera House
When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $16 (21+ only)

Daylight Saving Time ends on Halloween night. Does that mean the night of spooks and hauntings will last an extra hour? If so, the place to be is Newport, for an adults-only masquerade ball that includes a full bar and the much-beloved Last Kid Picked, a band that’s been making music in one form or another since All Hallows Eve 1996.

That first night, the band was known as the Werewolves of London, and since then October 31 has belonged to LKP, which plays a mix of classic rock and pretty much everything else. Their song list includes “Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy,” Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” and even an Eminem song or two.  How’s that for variety?

This shindig has sold out in years past, so it’s best to check soon for tickets. They Newport Opera House is unique in that it feels less like a performance hall than a party for affairs like this one, with big tables and chairs spread out across the floor. Be warned, though – patrons will move the furniture when dancing fever strikes.

Local Music Spotlight

Who: Second Wind
What: A funky Americana Sonny & Cher – “Classy, sassy, and fun, with a little fire”
Sounds like: Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins with finesse guitar playing

Terry Ray Gould and Suzi Hastings play a lot of farmer’s markets, which makes sense. The two members of Second Wind have the same kind of intimacy with their music that local growers have with their crops. Each rendition of a well-known song is handcrafted with the same kind of care

The two were friends for a long time before deciding to enter a talent show at the Newport Opera House, where Hastings is well known for her musical theatre work. For the showcase, the pair covered Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and something clicked. That was three years ago, and they’ve been playing together ever since.

Summer is wound down, but last week they performed in Claremont’s Broad Street Park gazebo one last time, playing until it was dark. They’re obviously passionate about what they do. The only thing Terry seems to love more is warm apple pie, which explains the farmer’s market connection.

Upcoming gigs:

Thursday, Oct. 15 – Brown’s Tavern, Brownsville
Fridays through Nov. 27 – Carmella’s, Claremont
Saturday, Nov. 28 – Brown’s Tavern     Brownsville
Friday, Dec. 11 – Elixir, White River Junction
Tuesday, Dec 29. Quechee Club, Quechee

Compass features

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.

Upcoming gigs:

Silver Fern Grille and Bar, Claremont:

October 23
November 28
December 11


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.