Highlights: Singer-songwriter to perform in Norwich on Friday night

  • Singer songwriter Crys Matthews is to perform at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich, Vt., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Brooke Bazarian and Paul West are a part of "The Sweet Science of Bruising" at Dartmouth College's Moore Theater in Hanover, N.H. Joy Wilkinson's play examines the lives of four female boxers during the Victorian era. (Dartmouth College - Eli Burakian)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/26/2020 9:46:12 PM
Modified: 2/26/2020 10:06:47 PM

At some point, count on Crys Matthews to sing the title track from her 2017 folk album Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers during her concert in Norwich on Friday night.

White-robed devil’s in plain sight
Angry protests in the streets night after night
And it weighs heavy on my mind.

If that line from the first verse resonates as a 21st-century corollary to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Four Dead in Ohio, keep in mind that Neil Young wrote his anthem in reaction to the shootings of antiwar protesters by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in April of 1970. Matthews wrote and recorded hers months before white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville, Va., in a “Unite the Right” rally in mid-August of 2017.

And she released Battle Hymn nine days before a white supremacist drove into a crowd of the rally’s counter-protesters, killing 28-year-old Heather Heyer and maiming more than a dozen other people.

“It wasn’t like I was predicting something like this, exactly,” Matthews said last week, during a telephone interview from her home in Washington, D.C. “But I think most people who were paying attention saw some of this stuff coming.”

So many people since have been paying attention to her songs decrying what divides these United States that Matthews can barely get a word in edgewise about love and relationships, along the lines of her other 2017 album, The Imagineers.

“I didn’t anticipate becoming a social-justice songwriter,” Matthews said. “But social-justice songs are the ones people want to hear right now. People seem to have a need to know that other people out there are worried about what’s happening.”

A black woman with a white wife living in the South, Matthews said she was worrying even before the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016. And even before Trump seemed to draw a moral equivalence between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters by referring to “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville debacle, Matthews wrote in Battle Hymn:

We gave a madman all the keys
And let him walk right in the door
And I don’t think he’ll see the light
Until the whole world is on fire.

Matthews’ delivery of that and other songs of social-justice nearly stole a show that Matthews opened for veteran folk singers Garnet Rogers and Natalia Zukerman last spring, and prompted the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley to invite her back as the headliner this week. With the mic and the spotlight to herself on Friday, expect Matthews to unveil some of the new songs she’s written for her next album, Changemakers.

“I want to get these out before Election Day,” she said. “I hope they will help get out the vote.”

Crys Matthews performs on Friday night at 7:30 at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich. Admission $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Best bets

Put up your dukes and prepare for a workout: Between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, Dartmouth College’s theater department wraps up the U.S. premiere of The Sweet Science of Bruising with four performances of British playwright Joy Wilkinson’s examination of women’s lives through the eyes of four female boxers during the Victorian era.

Each in her turn, seniors Kerrigan Quenemoen and Brooke Bazarian, sophomore Jacqueline Byrne and freshman Veronica Cavalcanti reveals and embodies not only the cultural restrictions of the time on women, but reminds the audience of how easily and swiftly the clock can turn back from our own time and culture of relative liberty and opportunity. Their characters, and those of the men who try to control them, bob and weave with intense energy and intelligence on the gritty set, designed by Michael Ganio, deep in the well of the Moore Theater.

For tickets ($15) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

■Pianist Annemieke McLane plays Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata and Brahms’ Ballads and Rhapsodies on Friday night at 7, at the United Church of Strafford. Admission by donation to the fund for restoration of the church steeple.

■South Newbury, Vt., fiddler Patrick Ross joins forces with mandolinist Jamie Masefield, bassist Tyler Bolles and guitarist Doug Perkins for an acoustic concert of Americana music on Friday night at 7:30, in the Esther Mesh Room of the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph. Admission by donation.

■Several dozen teen actors from North Country Community Theatre sing, dance, simper and simmer through four performances of the musical Grease this weekend, starting Friday night at 7:30 at the Lebanon Opera House. Subsequent shows are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2, Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 3. For tickets ($11.50 to $15.50) and more information, visit lebanonoperahouse.org or call 603-448-0400.

■Devotees of French-Canadian folk music can indulge a double dose of the genre this weekend, starting Saturday night at 7:30 with the quintet Le Vent du Nord performing at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph. For tickets ($13 to $36), visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-9878.

And wait, there’s more Celtic-inflected Quebecois rhythm on Sunday afternoon at the Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon. Guitarist-composer Yann Falquet and fiddler Becky Tracy open their show-and-tell at 1:45, leading a workshop on “The French-Canadian Experience” for aspiring musicians.

At 3:30, the duo plays a concert, before segueing to a jam session at 5. Registration for the workshop costs $20, as does admission to the concert. The combined fee to attend both is $35. To register and learn more, visit uvmusic.org or call 603-448-1642.

■On the theme of the “Sound of Gratitude,” soprano Alyssa Becker, pianist Kirsten Becker and flutist Madison Shimko perform works of Bach, Beethoven, Shubert, Nikolai Kapustin and Rebecca Clarke on Saturday night at 7, at the Charlestown Bible Church. The trio also will present a composition by Kirsten Becker, a Charlestown resident. Admission is by donation, with proceeds benefiting David’s House at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Theater/performance art

Citrus, preview performances of Northern Stage production on Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. Opens officially on Saturday night at 7:30, and runs through March 15. For tickets ($17.75 to $32.75 for previews, $17.75 to $57.75 from Saturday on), visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

The Ideal Candidate, Dartmouth College senior Nick Gutierrez’s comedy about a young adult scrambling through a weekend of interviews for a summer internship, Friday night at 8 and Saturday afternoon at 3 at Warner Bentley Theater in Hanover. Admission free.


Singer-songwriter Chris Smither, Thursday night at 8 at Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille in New London. Admission $40; reservations required.

■Singer-guitarist Martin Grosswendt, Americana, Friday night at 7 at Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. Admission by donation.

■Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble and Youth Wind Ensemble, classical, Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover. Free.

■Dartmouth Opera Lab, open workshop of opera and musical theater, Sunday afternoon at 12:30 at Dartmouth College’s Top of the Hop in Hanover. Free.


HopStop dance parties for kids with music from Quechee-based DJ Sean/Livemixkings, Saturday morning at 11 at Dartmouth College’s Alumni Hall in Hanover, and Saturday afternoon at 3 at CSB Community Center in Claremont. Free.

Bar and club circuit

Mad Hazard Band, jazz, bossa nova and blues, Thursday night at 5:30 at the Quechee Club’s Davidson’s Restaurant.

■Guitarist Ted Mortimer and bassist Scot Corneille, jazz Thursday night at 6 at Peyton Place restaurant in Orford.

■Fiddle Witch, bluegrass, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; Turner Round, rock, Friday night at 9:30; the RoadTrash Band, roots rock, Saturday night at 10.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Yeager, Friday evening from 5 to 8 at The Common Man in Claremont and Monday night at 6:30 at 506 on the River in Woodstock.

■John Lackard Blues Duo, Friday night at 6 at Big Fatty’s BBQ in White River Junction.

■The Contraband, roots rock, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

■Singer-guitarist Ken Macy, Saturday afternoon at 4, at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon.

■Guitarist Ted Mortimer, Saturday afternoon at 4 at Salt hill Shanty in Newbury, N.H.

■The B3 Brotherhood, funk, blues and jazz, Saturday night at 7 at The Public House Pub in Quechee.

Open mics, jam sessions

Alec Currier’s weekly open-mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday night at 8.

■Joseph Stallsmith’s hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday nights at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Jakob Breitbach’s jam session of acoustic roots, Tuesday night at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday night at 7 at Colatina Exit.

■Jes Raymond’s twice-monthly acoustic session of String Band Karaoke, Wednesday night at 6 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

■Peter Meijer’s open mic, Wednesday nights at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com or at 603-727-3304. Send entertainment news to highlights@vnews.com.

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