Entertainment Highlights: Where to Welcome 2014

As the Upper Valley and its institutions settle down for the annual winter’s nap between Christmas and New Year’s, the question arises: Where in this sleepy valley can a person can ring in the New Year with a modicum of good clean fun? How about just fun?

When the ball drops on Times Square, where will you be? Already in your jammies, struggling to keep your eyes open while whoever has replaced Dick Clark tries to gin up enthusiasm for the year to come? Or will you be in bed, while visions of Healthcare.gov, quantitative easing and sequestration dance in your head?

And if that scenario gives you insomnia, which option would send you to sleep faster: Harry Reid reading the Senate rules on filibuster and cloture, or Mitch McConnell? I call it a draw.

If those options don’t sound appealing, consider going out to local music venues over the coming week. The usual arts institution suspects don’t have much in the way of performances until after the New Year, but up and through the New Year there will be plenty of live music to keep you stomping at the Savoy or jumpin’ at the Woodside.


Friday night at the Woodstock Union High School Auditorium, four Woodstock songwriters will be playing a Nashville-style Songwriters in the Round. Bryan Frates, Troy Ramey, Tad Davis and Jack Snyder are all local boys made good musically. They’ll be doing acoustic versions of their original songs. The show starts at 7 p.m. and runs to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 with half the proceeds going to Zack’s Place, a local enrichment center for people with special needs.

∎ The Salt hill Pubs Entertainment Industrial Complex, in Hanover, Lebanon and Newport, N.H., brings a lot of talent to their stages Friday and Saturday nights.

∎ Acoustic guitarist Dave Bundza, a Manchester favorite, returns to Salt hill in Newport Friday night. The show starts at 9 pm. and runs until midnight. On Saturday evening at Salt hill Pub in Newport, the Celtic-influenced rock band, the Jordan Tirrell Wysocki Trio, takes the stage at 9 p.m.

∎ Don’t forget Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, where Brooks Hubbard, Enfield’s favorite son, brings his music to the stage Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight.

∎ Over at Salt hill in Hanover, The Gordies, a blues/rock trio, make their debut Friday evening at 9 p.m.

∎ If you’re down Hartland way Friday night, Skunk Hollow Tavern will feature stalwart Upper Valley dance band Sensible Shoes from 9 p.m. on.

∎ Meanwhile, Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction never slows down. On Saturday evening Stephen Kellogg, whose music is described as a combination between 1970s folk and 1980s hard rock, stops by, beginning at 7 p.m. Local talent Brooks Hubbard opens for him.

And Tupelo will usher in 2014 on New Year’s Eve with the ever popular Dr. Burma. The evening appears to be sold out, according to the Tupelo website, but if you want to check on availability, call 603-437-5100 or go to the website, www.tupelohallvermont.com.

∎ If jazz piano and vocals are more your style this New Year’s Eve, the Canoe Club on South Main Street in Hanover will feature the duo of Bob Merrill, who also plays piano behind the silent films at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, and Leila Percy, a jazz singer from Maine. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Call 603-643-9660 for reservations, and call early!

∎ But if a more raucous, rockin’ New Year’s Eve is your taste, Salt hill in Lebanon features The Conniption Fits!, one of the area’s most energetic rock bands. You must be over 21 to attend. Tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. Call 603-448-4532 to reserve a spot or go to the Salt Hill website at www.salthillpub.com.

∎ Down in Newport, Salt hill will bring country and western rocker Dave Sammarco to the stage on New Year’s Eve. Call 603-863-7774 for more information or go to the Salt hill website at www.salthillpub.com.