Local Rhythms – Calendar Conundrum

A reader, upset that I’d failed to mention a bluegrass festival near his hometown, recently took me to task for what he perceived as a southern bias in my reporting.

Well, to call Chris Jones “a reader” is bit misleading.  Until last May, when he closed the Middle Earth Music Hall in Bradford, he was a force of nature in the regional music scene.  What he said deserves to be quoted in detail.

He called my coverage north of the 89/91 junction “spotty at best,” and he felt his club deserved more attention than this column had given over the years.

“I do hope that what we did here will inspire some others to carry on,” he concluded. “I would also hope that when you see or hear of a venue starting up that relies on admission revenues rather than alcohol sales, give them all the help you can. They can’t make it without you.”

Well, if I stopped writing tomorrow, the musicians I cover probably wouldn’t miss a beat.  I’m touched, however, that Chris considers my small contribution, mostly born from an inability to master the guitar, important in any way.

But his words raised another problem.  Plenty of people read this column to find out about events, but how do I discover them?  Sadly, the “Wallow in Clay Hollow” Mr. Jones wrote me about had flown right under my radar.

What else have I missed?

So I’ve come up with a solution.  I’ve asked people to email me in the past, but that hasn’t always worked out.  So I figure a little anarchy might shake things up a bit.

A while ago, I created a “Local Rhythms” Google calendar for area musical happenings. I’ve been, shall we say, spotty in keeping it up to date.  I intend to change that – hopefully, with your help.

I’ve modified it so that anyone – and I do mean anyone – can post an event.  The login account is localrhythms@gmail.com and the password is “localrhythms1”.

If there’s a musical event as   far south as Brattleboro, or as far north as Montpelier, plug it in.

This could lead to complete chaos, but it’s worth a try.

I’m not guaranteeing you’ll see every event in the paper, but many things could find their way into our recently revamped web site.

Chris Jones flatters me – I am so not indispensable.  But you, dear reader, are.  I can’t make it without you.

Here are this week’s humble suggestions:

Thursday: Bruce Marshall Group, Newbury Gazebo – Marshall is a versatile guitarist with an amazingly fast touch on the fretboard.  His band gives off a Skynyrd/Outlaws vibe when second guitarist Dave Cournoyer joins in, producing some serious rock and roll energy.  Marshall also plays a steel necked dobro with authority.  It’s the whole package – blues, rock and country

Friday: Starline Rhythm Boys, Barre Old Home Days – There’s neo-traditional, then there’s these guys, who still release 45 RPM records.  Wearing pegged pants and sporting pomade slicked-back hair, they play the kind or rockabilly that never gets old.  Today, as part of the weekend long Old Home celebration, they’re starting a bit early – 5 PM, to be exact.  If you like honest picking with an upright bass, this is your band.

Saturday: Out of Order, Broad Street Park – Three years ago, two Claremont teenagers were killed when the motorcycle they were riding was hit by a car. Robin Flaig and Justin Aiken had great hopes for the future; today’s memorial ride will raise money to help other young people with similar goals.  Out of Order provides the musical entertainment; they also appear frequently at the Imperial Buffet, playing new and classic rock

Sunday: Championship of New England Barbecue, Harpoon Brewery – This 2-day event is mostly about eating, but there’s a full slate of music both days, including the Nobby Reed Project, Bow Thayer and Antennas Up (also at Salt Hill on Friday), who play power pop with a funky backbeat – think Weezer meets Earth, Wind and Fire.  Did I mention food and beer?  It’s a vegan’s nightmare, with ribs, chicken and pork in abundance.

Tuesday: Irish Sessions, Salt Hill Pub – The Upper Valley’s musical melting pot, with blues on Thursdays and rock of every stripe on Fridays and Saturdays.  But it’s Tuesday’s early start (6:30 PM) musical circle of Celtic inspiration that’s closest to my heart – always surprising, always a pleasure, particularly with a nice pint of Guinness.

Wednesday: Cowboy Junkies, Higher Ground – The soundtrack for Prozac Nation, these guys will relax you to the point of catatonia.  It’s as if Patsy Cline disappeared like Amelia Earhart and turned up years later as Nico’s replacement in the Velvet Underground.  At turns moody, ethereal and transcendent, this family band (two brothers and a sister) has kept its unique blend of pop and pathos interesting for over 20 years.