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Entertainment Highlights: When Songwriters Cover Other Songwriters’ Song, at the Tupelo

There’s no shortage of talented musicians in the Upper Valley, so there’s no shortage of musicians playing competent cover songs. Visit most of the region’s bars and clubs on the weekends, and you’ll hear some good ones.

Joey Leone, though, knew there was also plenty of great, original music in the area, and wanted to showcase it.

He came up with the idea for a one-night show, Songwriters Playing Each Other’s Songs, which will take place at White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, and feature himself and local musicians Bow Thayer and Rick Redington, as well as Pittsfield, Mass.-based Tony Lee Thomas.

“I thought that was a pretty cool, novel idea of guys playing each others’ songs by themselves,” Leone said earlier this week, shortly before heading out for the show’s third and final rehearsal.

If he was inspired by the range of talent in the Upper Valley and beyond, he was also inspired by a pair of videos he came across, where the song trading worked perfectly. One was a collaborative performance between Paul Simon and George Harrison on Saturday Night Live. The other was Carole King and James Taylor performing together at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.

When he had the idea, Leone, an accomplished guitarist who lives in Quechee, quickly reached out to Thayer, Redington and Thomas, all of whom he knew but didn’t get much chance to see or perform with because of touring schedules. They all accepted.

“One of the goals was, to me, for our fan bases to see us working together, and to see musicians who don’t get a chance to hang out much,” Leone said. “I think the overall message is embracing the communal aspect of musicians.”

On Friday, each of the four artists will play four of each others’ songs, for a total of 16 covers, and then all of them will each play four songs of their own. Leone said he hopes that nights like this upcoming Friday could become more common in the Upper Valley, perhaps spreading more original live music to clubs and bars.

He mentioned the famed movements that came out of such cities as Athens, Ga., and Seattle in the past several decades, how specific areas became fertile ground for strong musical voices. The musicians in those areas listened to each other, were inspired by each other and came out with new music that cemented a sound.

Even though the Upper Valley doesn’t have the population or packed-in feeling of a large city, Leone said, the music scene is unique. With Friday’s show, he intends to put that on display. His goal:

“(That) these songwriter nights would start to pop up, and (people will) think of the Upper Valley, and central Vermont, and northern New England in general as a place for original music.”

Tupelo Music Hall will present Songwriters Playing Each Other’s Songs, featuring Bow Thayer, Joey Leone, Rick Redington and Tony Lee Thomas, at 8 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $15.

Best Bets

The 21st New World Festival will take place in Randolph on Sunday, taking 11 hours to explore New England’s Celtic and French Canadian musical heritage. Musical acts at the daylong fest, which will take up the Chandler Center for the Arts as well as parts of Main Street and the Bethany United Church of Christ, include Vishtèn, Genticorum and Les Poules à Colin. Dance troupes Cantrip, Midnight Capers and On the Border will make return performances. Tickets to the event, which includes a performance by the No Strings Marionette Company and an instrument petting zoo, are $39 for adults, $11 for students and $5 for children ages 2 and up. They can be purchased on the day of the show or by calling 802-728-6464.

∎ Violist Scott Woolweaver will head this year’s Annual Mozart Festival, put on by Pentangle Arts in Woodstock. The 16th year of the festival will have Woolweaver leading an ensemble through performances of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Viola Quintet in D Major (a first at the Woodstock festival) and Ave Verum Corpus. The show is at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Music

The traditional folk group Manran combines Gaelic and English older folk sounds with more modern flourishes, including accordion, fiddle and flute in its six-person lineup. The band visits Haverhill’s Alumni Hall on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased from www.alumnihall.org.

∎ Danceable Vermont band Panton Flats will finish off the Okemo Summer Music Series in Ludlow, Vt., with a free performance on Friday at the Jackson Gore Courtyard. The music begins at 6 p.m.

Theatre

Laughter on the 23rd Floor, the Neil Simon play about the star and staff of a 1950s variety show, will finish its run at the New London Barn Playhouse this weekend. The final shows are tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $23.50 to $33, and can be purchased from www.nlbarn.org.

Bar and Club Circuit

Linda Boudreault and Ted Mortimer of Dr. Burma will perform at Jesse’s in Hanover. Music starts at 5 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Two-time winner of Granite State Blues Challenge, Arthur James, will perform at the Three Guys Basement BBQ tonight. Music starts at 7 p.m.

∎ ∎ Ted Mortimer will also play jazz guitar at 7 p.m. tonight at the Canoe Club in Hanover. The restaurant will also welcome pianists Gillian Joy on Friday and Jonathan Kaplan on Saturday, and Susan Gabriel and David Westphalen on Sunday. All music starts at 7 p.m.

∎ River Stones Tavern in Quechee will invite three Nashville recording artists to the Upper Valley tonight. There’s no cover charge to see Clay Canfield and Chris Weaver, both performing solo, as well as David Shelby, who will appear with his band. The show starts at 7 p.m. Though the show is free, tables need to be reserved, and can be by calling 802-295-1600.

∎ Grafton-based hard rock band Jester Jigs will return to the Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon Friday. Show starts at 10 p.m.

∎ The Party Crashers will perform at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Friday, marking the band’s second visit to the venue this month. The show begins at 9 p.m.

∎ Wherehouse will perform at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee on Friday, and Flabberghast will take the stage the next night. Both shows are at 8:30 p.m.

Open Mics

Tupelo will hold its monthly open mic on Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m. Signup begins an hour earlier, and there is a $5 admission fee. The Jonee Earthquake Band is the night’s featured performer.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic, hosted by Chad Gibbs, on Mondays at 9 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 on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.

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

∎ The Wheelers run an open mic night at the Seven Barrel Brewery on Wednesday, 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.

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