Clouds and sun
64°
Clouds and sun
Hi 66° | Lo 50°

Entertainment Highlights: Variety Comes to the Valley

‘The Logger’ Brings Holiday Show Here

  • A Tribe Called Red consists of three Canadian DJs who combine electronic dance music with vocals from the chants of Native North Americans.

    A Tribe Called Red consists of three Canadian DJs who combine electronic dance music with vocals from the chants of Native North Americans.

  • ©Jay Blakesberg/Retna LTD.

    ©Jay Blakesberg/Retna LTD.

  • A Tribe Called Red consists of three Canadian DJs who combine electronic dance music with vocals from the chants of Native North Americans.
  • ©Jay Blakesberg/Retna LTD.

Rusty DeWees has performed as “The Logger,” his blue collar Vermonter alter ego, for 17 years, playing shows all around the Green Mountain State, telling stories in a thick Green Mountain drawl that he wrote when was living in New York but was thinking about home.

Those humorous stories — of using chain saws and driving trucks, the things DeWees did as a youth in Stowe, Vt. — formed the bedrock of the character.

“It just came out of me, stuff about the working class,” DeWees said.

Every few years he puts together a Logger’s Holiday Variety Show. The last time he did it, the year was 2009. The next time will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lebanon Opera House. (And a Nov. 9 show in Bellows Falls will follow.)

For his holiday show, DeWees hires local musicians and puts together a distinctly Vermont-flavored program that owes debts to 1970s TV programs hosted by talents such as Dean Martin, Carol Burnett and Sonny and Cher.

“I just kind of grew up with that, and I like that format,” he said. “It gives you,” for lack of a better term, ‘variety.’ ”

It also gives him more jokes per minute, as the variety show format is more conducive for quick-hit jokes than the longer storytelling of his standard shows.

Besides The Logger, DeWees, who has also appeared in various TV shows and movies, will roll out his Uncle Furmon character to recite the Cajun Night Before Christmas. The show’s live music takes two forms: One is a big-band style group of songs led by the vocals of Keeghan Nolan, from Fairfield, Vt., who recently signed a Nashville recording contract; the other is the acoustic The Logger and The Fellers, in which DeWees plays guitar alongside another guitarist and a fiddler.

Other than Nolan, the band includes a wide-ranging cast of musicians, including Patrick Ross, whom DeWees called a “bearded master fiddler,” and Zach Trepenier, a sophomore saxophonist who goes to the West Rutland School.

DeWees reached through the decades to find a model for the banter he hoped to achieve with The Fellers.

“I’ve been studying the Rat Pack since the last holiday show,” he said, recalling the time when Frank Sinatra and pals did live shows at nightclubs. “They’re doing that show three times a night; the last show is at 3 a.m. The audience thinks that they’re just BSing on stage. The audience thinks it’s off the cuff. It’s actually tuned to a T.”

Rusty DeWees will perform “The Logger’s Holiday Variety Show” at the Lebanon Opera House at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased from lebanonoperahouse.org.

Best Bets

Famed blues musician Taj Mahal will headline Wednesday’s “World Blues” show at the Lebanon Opera House. The show, which also features South African blues guitarist Vusi Mahlasela and New Zealand rock band Fredericks Brown, will celebrate not only the American blues, but the world music that inspiresd it. Mahal, a two-time Grammy Award winner (with nine total nominations), has ventured into genres including reggae and West Indian music. Wednesday’s show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets range from $39 to $59 for adults. They can be purchased at lebanonoperahouse.org.

∎ Canadian DJ trio A Tribe Called Red synthesize a pair of influences that seems so wildly divergent that, at the very least, something interesting has to come from it. In this case, it works. The group’s “powwow step” marries electronic dance music with samples of traditional powwow vocals from the chants of Native North Americans. A pair of Friday night shows will take place at Dartmouth’s Collis Common Ground and offer limited seating to make room for dancing on the floor. General admission tickets for both the 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. shows are $20, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

∎ Boston-based singer-songwriter Catie Curtis, called by The New Yorker a “folk-rock goddess,” will perform at the Plainfield Town Hall, against the Maxfield Parrish backdrop, at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The show will be the only Upper Valley stop on a tour that goes up and down the East Coast (and nearly all the way across the country, too). Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They can be purchased at twincloud.wix.com/twin-cloud-events or by calling 603-287-1216.

Looking Ahead

Lisa Marie Presley — yes, Elvis’ daughter — will bring her brand of southern folk and roots music to White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24. For tickets, which are $40 apiece, go to tupelohallvermont.com.

Music

Steve Earle, the singer-songwriter and progenitor of the “New Country” genre, will play a show — along with his band The Dukes — at the Lebanon Opera House at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Tickets range from $32 to $52, and can be purchased at lebanonoperahouse.org or by calling 603-448-0400.

∎ The season’s first Shindig dance at the Tunbridge Town Hall will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, featuring the music of the Vermont blues group The Collin Craig Continuum. The dances will be held the first Saturday of every month through April 5, with a special New Years’ Eve Shindig. Season passes for all six Shindigs are $47, and can be purchased from shindigsvt.com. Upcoming performers include The Party Crashers, The Gully Boys, The Shugarmakers and The John Lackard Band.

∎ Multi-instrumentalists Skip Gorman and Will Patton will perform a double concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The show, at Lebanon’s First Congregational Church, will feature bluegrass mandolin, Celtic fiddle, swing, Be-Bop, Brazilian Choro music and more by Gorman, Patton and several other contributors. Tickets are $25. Earlier that day, the pair will host a fiddle tune jam at Salt hill Lebanon from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. will run workshops at the Upper Valley Music Center. Regristration for one workshop is $15, and registration for two is $25. For more information and to register, contact David Beaufait at 603-632-5137 or dwcdwb@gmail.com.

∎ The Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble will perform Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait , which includes spoken bits of Abraham Lincoln texts, at 8 p.m. on Friday at Spaulding Auditorium. James Rice, a member of Dartmouth’s theater faculty, will narrate. The ensemble will also play pieces including Hector Berlioz’ Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, Op. 15 and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Toccata Marziale . Tickets are $10 for general admission, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

∎  Folk singer Greg Brown will play at Tupelo at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $35, and can be picked up at tupelohallvermont.com.

∎ Folk and rock group Incognito will perform at Claremont’s First Congregational Church at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 at the door, and proceeds will go to the church.

∎ Blues and roots group Jeanne & the Hightops will play at the Wilder Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance, and can be purchased from wildercenter.com.

Theatre

Northern Stage’s production of God of Carnage, the Yasmina Reza play about two sets of parents who meet to discuss a spat between their children, but become less and less adult-like over the course of the meeting, runs until Nov. 17. The show, which began its run on Wednesday, includes performances every day of the week excluding Mondays. Tickets range from $15 to $52, depending on the date and show time. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to northernstage.org.

∎ The Pentangle Players’ production of The Wizard of Oz will conclude this weekend, with 7:30 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. General tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door, and can be purchased at pentanglearts.org. Shows take place at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre.

∎ The Post Mills Companion, a radio variety-style show, will be held at the Congregational Church in Post Mills, Vt., at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission at the door is by donation, and proceeds to go HelpKidsIndia.org. For more information, call Bob Totz at 802-649-3137.

∎ National Theatre Live in HD will simulcast a performance of Othello to the Loew Auditorium in Hanover starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear star in the London theater’s production of the Shakespeare play. Tickets are $23 and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

Film

The Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock will host the second film in its annual film series on Saturday, with a screening of Brooklyn Castle at 3 p.m. It follows five kids at a below-poverty-level junior high school who are members of the school’s national championship-winning chess team. Tickets for adults are $9. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to billingsfarm.org/filmfest or call 802-457-2355.

Bar and Club Circuit

Acoustic duo Buskin & Batteau will perform at the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. on Friday. There’s a $15 suggested donation.

∎ Classic rockers Hi-Way Five, a group inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Lynyrd Skynyrd, will perform at Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Friday, starting at 9 p.m.

∎ Mike Spine, a Seattle-based musician specializing in bluesy guitar work, will make his Lebanon Salt hill Pub debut on Friday, with a show starting at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the Please Don’t Tell Band will play a host of classic and contemporary rock covers, also starting at 9 p.m.

∎ Winner of the Granite State Blues Challenge “Poor Howard” Stith will perform at Salt hill Hanover on Saturday, starting at 9 p.m.

∎ Green Room, a funk, blues and soul group based in New Hampshire, will perform at the Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon on Friday night. The show begins at 10 p.m.

∎ The Peter Concilio Jazz Trio will perform at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Susan Gabriel will sing and play the piano and flute at the Canoe Club in Hanover tonight. On Friday, Gillian Joy will play, and Bob Lucier will perform on Saturday, both on the piano. Phil Singer will play guitar at the club on Sunday. All shows begin at 7 p.m.

∎ Nashville recording artist Clay Canfield brings his talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Open Mics

Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic, hosted by Chad Gibbs, on Mondays at 7 p.m.

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

∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 pm.

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

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This week, it’s a Halloween party; come in costume.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242. Send Highlights to Highlights@vnews.com.