×

Entertainment Highlights: Royalton Singer-Songwriter Embarks on a Career in Music



Thursday, July 30, 2015
In the hours before she steps to the microphone at Bentley’s Restaurant tonight to perform a mix of her own acoustic and alternative-pop songs and covers of popular music of the last six decades, you might catch Alison Turner helping with chores on the family farm in Royalton.

“My father just recently built a sugarhouse,” Turner, a 2011 graduate of South Royalton High School who goes by the stage name AliT, said during an interview on Tuesday. “I’ve been splitting wood for it with him.

“He’s always working on a project.”

The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree: In her first summer out of Wagner College, Turner is singing at venues around the Upper Valley.

She’s writing and recording songs and shooting video to accompany songs from her fifth demo album,  Break.

She’s racing to keep up with her Twitter feed and update her professional Facebook page.

All in all, no time for stage fright, in the opening weeks of her five-year plan to gain a foothold in the music business.

“It’s amazing how you really have to know every aspect of the industry outside of just the creative part,” Turner said this week. “On top of being a writer and performer, you have to be a producer, a publicist, a manager, an agent, a promoter, a technician — I just recently became acquainted with all the different types of equipment out there and it was so overwhelming — and, yeah, I have found that musicians are so much more than what people see. They have a lot going on.”

And while singers like Christina Aguilera — whom a 6-year-old Ali Turner saw perform at the Champlain Valley Expo in the late 1990s — and Alanis Morissette — who will leap to mind as soon as you see and hear Turner’s video (youtube.com/watch?v=Zx7rKEuB22o ) of her song, One Like Me — inspired her to sing and then to write her own music, Turner appreciates more every day the practical courses she took at Wagner, along with voice lessons and choir.

“I had business classes: financial accounting, macroeconomics,” she recalled. “Then I would have the arts: like photography and film classes. Classes in the music business and the film business. It all helped me as an artist, to hear about how you need to think of yourself as a brand.”

Turner learned at least as much from the few gigs she had time to perform at community centers and open mics between classes at Wagner, on Staten Island, N.Y.

“It was really hard, because New York (City) was so competitive,” she recalled. “A lot of venues would require 50 people to show up, which was hard when a lot of the available slots were on Tuesday nights, when it was hard to get my friends to come.”

Turner’s plan to bolster her competitive muscles for an eventual return to New York — or to Los Angeles or Nashville, if the right opportunity presents itself — includes gaining a foothold in Vermont’s largest city, where she seriously considered going to the University of Vermont before her parents nudged her to test herself a little farther afield.

“Even in Burlington, it’s hard to get weekend gigs” as a solo act, she said. “Bands have the big following up there.”

Turner added that she is open to joining a band, under the right conditions.

“I have a very strong vision,” she said. “I’ve always liked doing projects mostly by myself. Group projects are fine, but I’ve tended to fall into the background.”

During a spell of wondering whether she should seek a more behind-the-scenes role in the entertainment business, Turner recently saw what she hopes her future look like, at a concert by the Los Angeles-based indie-pop performer Meiko ( The Bright Side, Dear You ).

“I got there, and it was just her and her guitar,” Turner said. “That gave me a little more confidence.”

Alison “AliT” Turner will perform at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock tonight from 8 to 11. Subsequent shows are scheduled for Aug. 22 at Bentley’s, Aug. 29 and Sept. 12 at the Inn at Weathersfield in Perkinsville, and Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Tunbridge World’s Fair. For more information, visit http://nosilat.wix.com.

Best Bets

If you missed him at the Flying Monkey Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H., last week, Dr. John will lead his Nite-Trippers into Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium tonight at 8 for a concert blending jazz, rock, funk, blues and a generous seasoning of New Orleans voodoo. For tickets ($30 to $50) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

∎ In what promises to be a grand finale to the series of author readings at the Canaan Meetinghouse, 91-year-old National Book Award-winning poet David Ferry will recite from his work and talk about his ongoing translation of Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid. Also taking the podium will be short-story writer Megan Mayhew Bergman, reading from her new collection, Almost Famous Women, each imagining the life of a real woman of the 19th or 20th century. The readings begin at 7:30. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

∎ Sharks! Jets! Maria! Opera North opens its run of West Side Story, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein’s musical re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet in 1950s New York, at the Lebanon Opera House on Friday night at 7:30. Subsequent shows over the next week are scheduled for 7:30 on Saturday and Tuesday nights and at 2 on Wednesday afternoon, followed by 7:30 stagings on Aug. 8, 11 and 13. For tickets ($15 to $88) and more more information, visit operanorth.org/west-side-story.html.

∎ While hikers pining to commune in peace with nature might want to steer clear of the trails on Killington Mountain this weekend, lovers of reggae and other world music (not to mention Caribbean food) can celebrate summer in stereo during the Vermont JerkFest at Killington Resort on Friday and Saturday. Among the highlights is Friday night’s 6:30 concert by west-African drummer-guitarist Mamadou Diop and his eponymous band, which blends the rhythms of Senegal with high-life, juju, rumba, samba, salsa and reggae. Tickets to the Mamadou concert are $50; see mamadou.com to reserve tickets and learn more. For more information on the JerkFest as a whole, visit vermontjerkfest.com or call 617-395-7680.

∎ Starting Friday, Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts will begin taking orders for tickets to its list of music, theater and dance performances for the 2015-2016 season. The lineup of artists range from opera supernova Renee Fleming and jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman in October to a South-African reimaging of Swan Lake in January and Grammy-winning world-music diva Angelique Kidjo in April. Orders can be made online, by fax and by snail mail. For more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Looking Ahead

For its final Free for All concert of the summer, Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center is bringing the Gordon Webster Septet to the green in Hanover next Thursday for an evening of swing dance music. Before the concert itself at 5:30, the septet will give free lessons in the Lindy Hop at 4:30.

∎ The John Lackard Blues Band will perform at the Quechee Green next Thursday night at 6:30.

∎ If you missed their mid-June marathon of concerts featuring music from Broadway and musical theater, or left one of them thirsty for more, Classicopia pianist Daniel Weiser and soprano Erma Mellinger will hit the road again on Aug. 20 with a suppertime concert of “Melodies on Parade” at the Quechee Club. The meal starts at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7:15. The deadline to reserve tickets ($70, including supper and dessert) is Aug. 10. For reservations and more information, call Marcia Colligan at 603-643-3337, or email marcia@classicopia.org or nuyawker@aol.com.

Theater/Performance Art

The New London Barn Playhouse will open a short run of the musical Steel Magnolias with two shows on Wednesday at 2 in the afternoon and 7:30 at night. Subsequent stagings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 7, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, and at 5 on Aug. 9. This weekend, the Barn will lower the curtain on its staging of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical comedy adapted from the Michael Caine-Steve Martin movie of the late 1980s, with performances tonight at 7:30, Friday afternoon at 3, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 5. For tickets ($19.50 to $40) to and more information about these and coming attractions, visit nlbarn.org or or call 603-526-6710.

Music

Fiddler Andy Stewart and guitarist-singer Mary Jo Slattery will join forces for the weekly free concert on the Quechee Green tonight at 6:30.

∎ As an open rehearsal, the women’s chorus Cantabile will hold its annual Summer Sing tonight at 7 the Black Senior Center in Hanover. All women are welcome to join the group. To learn more, email larissa.pyer@gmail.com.

∎ Spencer Lewis and the Folk Rock Project will perform from 5:30 to 7 tonight, during the weekly Feast and Field Market at the former Clark Farm in Barnard.

∎ Guitarist David Nelson and pedal-steel maestro Buddy Cage will lead the latest incarnation of The New Riders of the Purple Sage into Freight House Hall in White River Junction for a night of psychedelic country on Friday night at 8. For tickets ($30 to $45) and more information, visit lohtix.com or the Lebanon Opera House box office, or call 603-448-0400.

∎ The chamber quartet of pianists Gail Jennings and Jeanne Fischer, violinist Andrew Jennings and violoncellist Norman Fischer will perform “Music from Around the World for Eight Hands,” including compositions of Stravinsky, Kodaly, Schubert and Borodin, at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park in Cornish on Sunday afternoon at 2. While the $7 admission to enter the grounds entitles visitors to attend the weekly summer concerts at Saint-Gaudens, donations are welcome. For more information on the series, visit nps.gov/saga/planyourvisit/summer-concerts.htm.

∎ The Lyme Town Band will present a free concert on the Fairlee town common on Tuesday night at 6:30. During the accompanying ice-cream social, audience members will be invited to make their own sundaes for a $3 donation benefiting the Fairlee Community Church of Christ.

∎The Shana Stack Band will perform its blend of southern rock and country during the free weekly Music in the Meadow concert at the Grantham Department of Parks and Recreation’s pavilion on Shedd Road on Tuesday night at 6. Each concert this summer includes sales of hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream.

Film

If Albert Maysles’ 1975 documentary Grey Gardens intrigued you, or at least didn’t take you past the point of tolerance for up-close-and-way-too-personal cinema, consider heading over to Dartmouth College’s Loew Auditorium on Saturday night at 7 to see Roar. Director Noel Marshall’s 1981 movie follows actress Tippi Hedren (The Birds) and her then-young daughter Melanie Griffith in their efforts to maintain a California sanctuary for dozens of lions, tigers and other wild creatures. For tickets ($5 to $8) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu/Online/filmspecialroar or call 603-646-2422.

∎ The Hopkins Center this week announced a switch of venues for two films scheduled for Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. Documentarian George Butler will present his new movie Tiger, Tiger, about wildlife biologist Alan Rabinowitz’ effort to save the Royal Bengal tigers in the watery Sundarbans region straddling India and Bangladesh, in Loew Auditorium at the Black Family Visual Arts Center. At the same time, the new film adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel Far From the Madding Crowd will run in Spaulding Auditorium. For tickets ($5 to $8) and more information, call 603-646-2422, or visit hop.dartmouth.edu or the box office.

Circus

The Grafton Recreation Committee is hosting back-to-back shows by the Walker Circus on Wednesday evening at the town recreation field on Prescott Hill Road. Big-top attractions will include animal acts, acrobats, aerialists, and clown comedy. Showtimes are 5:30 and 7:30. For discounted tickets ($15 for adults) and information about coupons for free admission for children 14 and younger, visit walkerevents.net or go to the Grafton town office on Library Road or call 603-523-7700 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Never Too Late folk duo of Hilde Ojibway and Adam Sorscher will perform at the Canoe Club in Hanover on Thursday night starting at 6:30. Following them to the club microphone with shows from 6:30 to 9:30 over the coming week are jazz pianist Bob Lucier on Friday, guitarist Dan Freihofer on Saturday, vocalist Sabrina Brown and pianist Fred Haas with a set of jazz on Sunday, pianist Bart MacNamee on Tuesday and singer-guitarist Jack Beecham on Wednesday. And on Monday night, Marko the Magician will perform his weekly sleight-of-hand between 5 and 8.

∎ Flew-Z will play covers of modern rock classics at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, starting at 9 Friday night. At the same time on Saturday, the will play.

∎ The dance band Second Wind will play Friday night at 5 at Jesse’s in Hanover

∎ Club Soda will rock Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9.

∎ The Stockwell Brothers will bring a bluegrass vibe to the dance floor at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

∎ The weekend lineup at Salt hill Pub in Newport features Todd Moses and Fujita Five on Friday night at 9 and the classic rockers of Hi-Way Five starting at 9 on Saturday night.

∎ The stampede of music at Windsor Station begins Friday night with the Windsor-based rockers of Carton at 10 and the hip-hoppers of Burlington’s Maiden Voyage at 11:30. Riddim Vigil pulls in Saturday at 9 for a night of reggae, followed on Tuesday night at 6 by Kyle Boisvert and Elijah Rock.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

∎ String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

∎ Clay Canfield hosts an open mic at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock on Saturday nights at 7, followed by dancing at 10 under the supervision of video-jockey Rich Meijer. Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentley’s on Monday nights at 8:30.

∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Tuesday nights at 8.

∎ Jim Yeager hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

Correction

The Hopkins Center will screen the 1981 documentary Roar at Dartmouth College’s Loew Auditorium on Saturday night at 7 p.m. An earlier version of this column gave an incorrect date for the screening.

ENTERTAINMENT HIGHLIGHTS