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Entertainment Highlights: ’90s Faves Rusted Root Are On Their Way Again

Even if you’re not familiar with Rusted Root, the roots rock group from Pittsburgh that plays a sold-out show tomorrow night at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, it’s possible you’ll recognize the jubilant opening chords of Send Me On My Way, one of the songs that put the group on the map nearly 20 years ago.

Released in 1994, Send Me On My Way peaked at No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100, but since has had nine lives. It’s been played at high school graduations, included in films like the animated feature Ice Age, and used by NASA as the “wake up” song for the Mars Rover expedition. Whether it’s the upbeat chants of “On my way,” cheery sounds of pipes or the free-flowing lyrics, the song has meant different things to different people, including lead singer Michael Glabicki.

“My experience has been that it’s a really healing song,” Glabicki said in a phone interview this week, en route to Rusted Root’s show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “As far as what it is … I think it’s very mysterious and still to this day, what it’s actually communicating and meaning in people’s lives, is something that will always be a mystery to me.”

Rusted Root came of age in the early to mid-‘90s, an era when groups like Hootie and the Blowfish and Toad the Wet Sprocket were churning out radio-friendly rock songs that won over the masses.

Rusted Root’s approach was a bit ahead of their time. The group drew inspiration from world music traditions, incorporating them into a mainstream rock sound. Doing so won them a devoted following among college students, and it allowed them to stay true to their artistic vision.

“When I started writing music and coming up with a vision of the band, I really decided in my mind that I didn’t want to sound like anybody else,” Glabicki said. “There was a real intention to not be influenced by what was happening at the time.”

Following the release of Rusted Root’s 2002 CD Welcome to My Party, the band took a seven-year hiatus between studio albums, during which time Glabicki played a series of acoustic shows. “Rusted Root was my first band, and when I went out with just my acoustic guitar, it was really bare and stripped down and it was just really scary. It took me almost five years to feel comfortable with that,” he said. Yet the time off allowed him to develop a new dynamic to bring to the Rusted Root repertoire when the band reunited, “and I think it really matured the sounds in a really good way.”

Glabicki and Rusted Root are making a return visit to Tupelo following the release of their latest CD, The Movement, in October, an album that has won over the Rusted Root faithful with whimsical lyrics and danceable grooves. “People are really eating it up,” Glabicki said. Some people have said it’s our best record yet, which feels really good to us.” Such praise parallels Glabicki’s feelings about the band and its future direction.

“I’m having a blast. I’m having the most fun that I’ve ever had,” he said. “The crowds are really responding to the lineup and I just think that it’s come together, whereas before, it seemed like we were trying to find something.”

Rusted Root performs at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction.

Best Bets

Nearly 50 years after co-founding Jefferson Airplane, Paul Kanter tours with his successor band, the “political science-fiction” group Jefferson Starship. The band rolls into White River Junction for a show of psychedelic rock at 8 p.m. Saturday at Tupelo Music Hall ($55-$65).

∎ Some of the best voices in the Upper Valley will come together at the Eclipse Grange Theater in Thetford tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for a “Cabaret Against Hunger.” Directed by Steve Leblanc, with accompaniment from pianist Matthew Wiencke, the evening will feature familiar favorites from Broadway shows. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Vermont Food Bank and ACF International, which works to cure hunger in developing nations ($15, adults; $12, seniors; and $10, students).

∎ Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall in Haverhill is the only Upper Valley stop on Bread and Puppet Theater’s tour of their show “The Circus of the Possibilitarians.” The show, which takes place at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Alumni Hall, finds the 50 year-old Northeast Kingdom puppetry, theater and music company performing “a satirical horse and butterfly circus” that touches on the political and social issues of our time ($10 adults; $5, students).

∎ Got the late winter blues? Shake them off at Barnard Town Hall Saturday night at the Masquerade Jazz and Funk Winter Carnival, organized by BarnArts Center for the Arts. Starting at 6 p.m. and continuing through late in the evening, enjoy music from the Woodstock Union High School Jazz-Funk Band, pianist Sonny Saul and bassist Bill Martin, the Hanover-based funk band Green Room, and Jenni Johnson and the Junketeers from Burlington. Revelers are encouraged to wear colorful costumes ($15, adults; $5, students).

St. Patrick’s Day

No matter which Salt hill Pub location you visit on St. Patrick’s Day, there will be a festive atmosphere and lots of music to satisfy most tastes. The Lebanon and Newport pubs will have a full day of entertainment starting at 9 a.m. Sunday with the ceremonial first pint of Guinness, while Salt hill in Hanover will have the first pint at 10 a.m. Sunday. The Lebanon pub will have a performance by Irish balladeer Jim Barnes at 9 a.m. Sunday, followed by Celtic music from the Vermont group Atlantic Crossing at noon. The duo Bel Clare will perform traditional Irish music at 4 p.m. and O’hanleigh goes on at 9 p.m. Salt hill in Newport features Bel Clare at 9 a.m., O’hanleigh at 4 p.m. and Atlantic Crossing at 9 p.m., plus a noon show from Flare Eire with Randy Miller and Roger Kahle. Not to be outdone is Salt hill in Hanover, which boasts music from bagpiper Anthony Santoro at 10 a.m. Sunday, followed by the Ron Meck Irish Duo at 1 p.m., Barnes at 4 p.m. and Bel Clare at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.salthillpub.com.

Folk and Jazz

HopStop, the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ series of free performances for children and families, hosts a show from Gerry Grimo and the East Bay Jazz Quintet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dartmouth’s Alumni Hall. Grimo and his bandmates will demonstrate their instruments, and play a series of Dixieland, swing and jazz favorites.

∎ The folk-jazz duo Don & Jenn perform at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Stone Arch Bakery in Lebanon.

On Stage

Northern Stage presents David Mamet’s drama Race, which examines the racial attitudes of a white man accused of raping a black woman, and three attorneys, two black and one white, at the firm hired to represent him. Race will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday; at 5 p.m. Sunday; and a matinee performance this afternoon at 2. Visit www.northernstage.org for more information.

Dances

The third Friday of the month is contradance night at The Little Theater in Woodstock. Things get under way with a dinner at 5:30 p.m., and dancing commences at 6 p.m. with music from the Old Sam Peabody band and caller Delia Clark ($8 suggested donation).

Coffeehouse

Brothers Walt and Nic Kutylowski of the duo FatHands perform in tomorrow night’s Sunapee Community Coffeehouse, starting at 7 in the basement of the Sunapee Methodist Church. A hat will be passed for the performers.

Bar and Club Circuit

∎ Jason Cann plays his weekly set at 6 p.m. tonight at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.

∎ Funk group Green Room will get things moving at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover, starting at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ Singer-songwriter Brooks Hubbard plays for diners at Bistro Nouveau in Grantham at 6 p.m. tomorrow, and also plays a show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

∎ Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland has music tomorrow from Carlos Ocasio and Frydaddy at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ St. Patrick’s Day weekend at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon kicks off tomorrow night with a 9 o’clock show from the Irish rock band Black Agnes, followed at 9 p.m. Saturday with a performance by Celtic band P.S. Rock from Rhode Island. As always, the pub has live traditional Irish music sessions at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Newport starts out St. Patrick’s Day weekend with the Irish duo Tristan Henderson and Peter MacFarlane at 9 p.m. tomorrow and Irish singer Jim Barnes at 9 p.m. Saturday.

∎ The Conniption Fits play rock and pop favorites at 9 p.m. tomorrow at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

∎ The Wheelers will play a set at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon, beginning at 10 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ Upper Valley favorites The Gully Boys perform at CJ’s at Than Wheeler’s in White River Junction at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

∎ Joice Marie performs cover songs in the Blue Bar at Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor at 6 p.m. Sunday.

∎ Canoe Club in Hanover has music from Stephen Wang tonight, folk singer Cormac McCarthy tomorrow, guitarist Phil Singer on Saturday and pianist John Lovejoy on Tuesday.

Student Performances

Thetford Academy students will perform The Fish, a new comedy by TA alumnus Sam Chapin, at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. “The Fish” is TA’s entry in a regional drama festival that will be held at the school on March 23, and the cast and crew will welcome feedback from the audience following the Tuesday and Wednesday shows ($5, adults; $2, students).

Open Mics, Jams

∎ Ed and Dixie Eastridge will perform a blues jam evening tonight at 3 Guys Basement Barbeque in Hanover, starting at 8.

∎ Randy Miller, Roger Kahle and friends lead a session of traditional Irish music at 6 tonight at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

∎ Windsor’s Old South Church hosts a community coffeehouse night at 7 p.m. Saturday, with local artists invited to perform family-friendly entertainment.

∎ Tonight, Salt hill Pub in Lebanon has an open mic hosted by Seth Barbiero and Brian Warren from 8 to 11.

∎ Chad Gibbs hosts Salt hill Pub in Hanover’s open mic at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

∎ Shepard’s Pie Restaurant on Route 4 in Quechee is the site of a Tuesday night open mic, starting at 6.

∎ The Colatina Exit in Bradford has an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

∎ There’s an open jam every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 at Tuck’s Rock Dojo in Etna.

∎ Wednesday night is open mic night at Skunk Hollow Tavern. It’s led by Gregory Brown and starts at 8:30.

∎ Anthony Furnari hosts an open mic at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Katie Beth Ryan can be reached at kbryan@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.