Highlights: Festivals in Orange County feature music and fresh air

  • Upper Valley musicians Hunter Paye, left, and Senayit Tomlinson will perform at this weekend's Patrick Ross Camping and Music Festival in Newbury, Vt. (Courtesy Senayit Tomlinson) Courtesy Senayit Tomlinson

  • Jerry Douglas, left, leads the Earls of Leicester into Tunbridge to headline the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival, which starts Thursday. (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

  • The Americana trio Lula Wiles, from left, Isa Burke, Mali Obomsawin and Eleanor Buckland, is among the bands peforming at the Patrick Ross Camping and Music Festival in Newbury, Vt. (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2019 10:00:21 PM
Modified: 6/26/2019 10:00:16 PM

When her parents moved to Orford in the mid-1990s, New York City native Senayit Tomlinson couldn’t imagine making the rural Upper Valley the center of her art and her life.

Then in 2002, Middle Earth Music Hall opened in nearby Bradford, Vt., and the soul singer-songwriter found her musical tribe.

“At the time, I didn’t know anyone here,” Tomlinson, 44 recalled this week. “We ended up having this incredible open-mic community at Middle Earth, where I met people like Jen Grossi and Don Sinclair, and worked with them on the Summer Street music series. It’s been almost 20 years of building a network of people who at first didn’t know we were all around here.”

Tomlinson, who settled in Orford in 2005 and practices in a studio in Bradford, and many members of her network will perform this weekend at the third annual Patrick Ross’s Camping and Music Festival in Newbury, Vt.

Ross founded the Newbury festival in 2017 and tapped his own contacts in the Americana and bluegrass communities to build an event that this year includes the rising all-woman trio Lula Wiles and Vermont comedian-performance artist Rusty “The Logger” Dewees. It has become an established, low-key alternative to the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival, which marks its 19th year, and 10th in Tunbridge, this weekend.

In addition to Tomlinson, the lineup of Upper Valley veteran musicians at Ross’ festival includes Stockbridge, Vt.’s Bow Thayer, Oxbow High School graduate and singer-songwriter Hunter Paye, Goshen, N.H., singer-guitarist Tom Pirozzoli, Moxley Union guitarists Tristan Bellerive and Nathaniel Titorenko, and The Bayley-Hazen Boys.

“Pat actually pays all the artists,” Tomlinson said. “At most festivals, it’s just headliners who get paid, and everybody else gets the exposure. Pat is a gigging musician. He knows what it takes.”

So does Paye, who recently moved back to the valley from Portland, Ore., to help his family, and is preparing to work on a variety of recording, performing and educational projects with Ross.

“This is a great event to come home to,” Paye, who will perform a duet with Tomlinson and play a set of his own during the festival, said this week. “It’s a great way to start this next phase of life. You could see all of the potential during last year’s festival. It was already a good family of people working to make something. If you’re doing it right, it should get a little bigger and a little better each year.”

That’s pretty much the formula that Candi Sawyer followed with the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival. When it outgrew its original, small venue in Weston, Vt., Sawyer moved it in 2009 to the wide-open spaces of the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, allowing her to invite more up-and-coming performers to Vermont and to keep hosting headliners such as The Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Seldom Scene and Ricky Skaggs.

This weekend, Grammy-winning dobro player Jerry Douglas highlights the 10th gathering in Tunbridge, performing a 90-minute set with his band The Earls of Leicester on Saturday night at 8.

The Seth Sawyer Band opens the festival with a concert at noon on Thursday, and subsequent performers include the Feinberg Brothers (two shows), the Malpass Brothers and Dreamcatcher.

The upstate New York-based Gibson Brothers, a mainstay of the festival since its founding, are scheduled to play a 90-minute set at the end of Friday night’s shows, and two more performances on Saturday. The husband-and-wife duo of Darin and Brooke Aldridge also plays two shows on Saturday.

Patrick Ross’ Music and Camping Festival, at Harvest Moon Orchard in Newbury, Vt., opens Friday afternoon at 4 with a performance by mountain-country rocker Dwayne Benjamin, and continues through noon on Sunday. To learn more, visit patrickrossmusic.com

The Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival runs from Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds. For tickets and more information, visitjennybrookbluegrass.com.

Best bets

Randolph-native soul singer-songwriter Myra Flynn serenades the Feast & Field Market on Thursday night at 5:30 at Fable Farm in Barnard. Admission by donation.

■In the next live performance at the Hopkins Center’s SHIFT festival, on Friday at 8, the Australian acrobats of Circa perform Humans, choreographer Yaron Lifschitz’s meditation on humanity’s place in the balance of nature, at the Moore Theater; tickets cost $11 to $47. Additional stagings are scheduled for Saturday night at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 3. Before Saturday’s show, the ensemble will lead a workshop on circus skills, for a fee of $10.

The festival continues on Saturday afternoon at 3: At Dartmouth’s Bema Outdoor Amphitheater, an ensemble of 99 professional and community percussionists perform environmental composer John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit. Admission is free.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Iris DeMent plays Spaulding Auditorium on Saturday night; admission $11 to $47. Singer-songwriter Pieta Brown opens for DeMent at 8.

To learn more about SHIFT, including free talks that precede several performances, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-727-3304.

■Students and faculty close the annual Interplay Jazz Camp with a concert on Saturday at noon at Kimball Union Academy’s Flickinger Arts Center in Meriden (admission $20). And at 6:15, faculty members perform a free concert on the downtown Lebanon mall at 6:15 p.m.

Windsor Station is inviting fans of jazz and ragtime to dress in 1920s garb for Saturday night’s Speakeasy Costume Party, where the Prohibition Jazz Band will turn the clock back by nearly a century. The musicians are singer-pianist Bob Merrill, trumpeter Dave Ellis, clarinetist-singer Samantha Liardo and double bassist Peter Concilio. For reservations to the dance, which runs from 8 to 11, call 802-674-4180.

■The Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar wraps up at the Enfield Shaker Village this weekend, with free concerts by faculty and students in Mary KeaneChapel on Saturday night at 8 (on the theme of “Rituals and Ceremonies”) and on Sunday afternoon at 4 (“Everybody Loves Difficult Music”).

Theater/performance art

Peter and The Starcatcher, musical, performances at New London Barn Playhouse from Thursday night through July 7. To reserve seats ($20 to $37) and learn more about 2019 summer season, visit nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.

Waiting for Godot, outdoor performances of the Samuel Beckett farce, at Fable Farm in Barnard, on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. Visit barnarts.org for tickets and more information.


Revenants, Americana, Thursday night at 7 at Colburn Park in Lebanon; Upper Valley Community Band, Monday night at 7.

■This Hope, gospel, Thursday night at 7 at Christ Community Church in Plainfield. Admission by donation.

■ Barika, roots and funk, Friday night at 5:30 behind the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock, overlooking the Ottauquechee River; admission by donation.

■Dixie and the Diamonds, rock and jazz, Friday night at 6 on Strafford Common. Admission by donation to maintenance fund for Strafford Town House.

■Chris Kleeman Trio, blues, Friday night at 6:15 on downtown Lebanon mall.

■Canyon Run, Americana, Friday night at 6:30 at Haddad Bandstand in New London.

■Yvonne & the Reverbs, rock and pop, Saturday night at 7 at Orford bandstand.

■ Zoe & Cloyd, bluegrass/Americana, Saturday night at 7:30 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. Admission $15.

■Violinist Layale Chaker and cellist Jake Charkey, chamber/classical, Sunday afternoon at 2 at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish. Admission included in the $10 entry fee to the park.

■ Lyme Town Band, Sunday afternoon at 4 on Fairlee Town Common.

■The Tricksters, rock and pop, Tuesday night at 6:30 at Fairlee Town Common.

■ Singer-songwriter Dave Keller, Wednesday night at 6:30 on the Quechee Green.

■Jake Davis & the Whiskey Tones, Americana, Wednesday night at 6:30 at Ben Mere Bandstand overlooking Sunapee Harbor.


WoTown Dance Party, Friday night at 7 at Windsor Farmers Exchange, featuring classic Motown music. Admission by donation.

Bar and club circuit

Royalton singer-songwriter Alison “AliT” Turner, Thursday night at 5 at The Hungry Bear Pub & Grill in Bradford, Vt.; Adam McMahon Blues Duo, Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4.

■The Repeat Offenders, rock, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; Johnny O, Americana, Tuesday night at 6.

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

■Oxford & Clark, Americana, Friday night at 7:30 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover; Fu’Chunk, funk and rock, Saturday night at 8.

■Gold Tooth Gator, blues, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland.

■Chad Gibbs, rock, Friday night at 8 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; Toby Moore, rock, Saturday afternoon at 4.

■The Party Crashers, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; Road Trash Band, roots-Americana, Saturday night at 9.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Alec Currier, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Newport.

■Pianist Norm Yanofsky and guitarist Billy Rosen, jazz, Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., during brunch at Courthouse Restaurant in Newport.

■Jim Yeager, rock/funk, Monday night at 7 at Woodstock Inn’s Richardson Tavern.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker plays jazz with guitarist Billy Rosen and bassist Peter Concilio on Tuesday night at 7 at Carpenter & Main in Norwich; and with guitarist Norm Wolfe on Wednesday night at 5:30 at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

■Jazz pianist Sonny Saul, Wednesday night at 6:30 at On the River Inn in Woodstock.

Open mics/jam sessions

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

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

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music, Tuesday nights at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

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

■Jim Yeager hosts open mics at The Public House Pub in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; and at Skunk Hollow Tavern on Wednesday night at 8.

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

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