Highlights: Labor Day Weekend Offers an Abundance of Music

  • Bow Thayer of Gaysville works at home before a weekend on the road with his band Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Thayer in addition to touring and recording with the Perfect Trainwreck, Thayer runs a studio at his home and produces the yearly Tweed River Music Festival in Stockbridge. Valley News - James M. Patterson jpatterson@vnews.com photo@vnews.com

  • Bluesmen George Kilby Jr., left, and Sherman Holmes perform with Bow Thayer at two shows on Saturday.

  • Bud Johnson, half of the folk-rock duo the Kind Buds plays a solo acoustic show at The Public House in Quechee on Friday night.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/1/2016 12:01:42 AM

Fire up the GPS or unearth your Twin State road atlases. Top off your gas tank. And dig out a coin to flip.

To keep up with all the concerts and music festivals in the Upper Valley this Labor Day weekend, you’ll be traveling some.

And so will the performers.

On Saturday and Sunday, while the Plymouth Folk and Blues Festival echoes off the hills surrounding the grounds of the Calvin Coolidge memorial in Plymouth Notch, Vt., Camerata New England opens its eighth season of chamber music concerts with performances in Norwich and Haverhill.

And on Sunday afternoon and evening, Randolph closes to vehicle traffic the block of Main Street containing the Chandler Center for the Arts, where the New World Festival offers its annual buffet of French-Canadian and Celtic rhythms.

At least on Saturday, you have more than one option for catching blues legend Sherman Holmes. On tour with roots musician George Kilby Jr., Holmes, now in his mid-70s and the sole survivor of the Holmes Brothers trio that influenced the likes of Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Joan Osborne, plays first at 2 on Saturday afternoon at the Plymouth festival, then heads to White River Junction for a show at 8 that night at the Briggs Opera House.

Americana musician Bow Thayer of nearby Stockbridge, Vt., will follow Holmes and Kilby to the stage in Plymouth, then open for and play with them at the Briggs.

“The guy who’s running the festival … was looking for another gig for Sherman to make it worth the trip for him,” said Thayer, who is about to release a record celebrating country blues pioneers Mississippi Fred McDowell and Dock Boggs. “I looked all around and the Briggs worked out. I wanted to help out. (Holmes) probably won’t be around again. Hell, when I’m that age, I hope somebody helps me out. It’s super-important that the younger generation will help keep these guys’ music alive. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Recordings and YouTube footage are nice, but it’s not live.”

While Holmes, Kilby and Thayer are hot-footing it east to White River Junction for the Briggs show (for advance tickets and more information visit yellowhousemedia.com) on Saturday afternoon, singer-songwriter Jesse Terry will perform at Plymouth from 4 to 5. And at 8 p.m. at Good Commons in Plymouth, Jay Ottaway will lead a jam session.

Sunday afternoon’s lineup at Plymouth features Boston-based singer-songwriter Julia Mark at 2, Contoocook, N.H., troubador Zak Trojano at 3 and singer-songwriter Samantha Farrell at 4.

While admission to the Plymouth Folk and Blues Festival is free, donations are welcome. For more information, visit plymouthfolk.com.

The Camerata New England trio of cellist Linda Galvan, pianist Evelyn Zuckerman and violinist Omar Chen Guey performs piano trios of Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Hummel and Anton Arensky at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Norwich on Saturday and at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Sunday. For tickets ($28 for adults) to and more information about the Norwich concert, which starts at 7 p.m., call 802-785-4833 or visit cameratanewengland.org. To order tickets ($22 to $24) and learn more about the Alumni Hall performance, which starts at 2 p.m., call 603-989-5500.

Vishten and Cantrip are among the bands and Uillean piper Paddy Keenan is among the solo headliners scheduled to perform during the 24th New World Festival along Main Street in Randolph from noon to 11 on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Other individual musicians playing in and around the Chandler Center for the Arts and Bethany Church include Upper Valley accordionist and pianist Jeremiah McLane and Vermont fiddler Sarah Blair. Tickets cost $35 if purchased by Friday, $40 thereafter. To order tickets in advance, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464. To learn more about performers and the schedule, visit newworldfestival.com.

The festival also is looking for volunteers ages 12 and older who are willing to help out with a variety of tasks for three to four hours. Those who sign up earn an all-day pass to the festival. To learn more, reach out to volunteer coordinator Yasi Zeichner, at nwfvolunteer@chandler-arts.org or at 802-485-9242 evenings and weekends.

Looking Ahead

The Skinny Pancake in Hanover this week began selling tickets to a Sept. 29 appearance by Vermont singer-composer Anais Mitchell, whose folk-rock opera Hadestown is drawing raves and audiences on Broadway. Admission is $15, plus a handling fee. To reserve tickets and learn more, visit skinnypancake.com or call 603-277-9115.

On the theme of “A Poor Lonesome Cowboy,” pianist Annemieke McLane and baritone Peter Schoenaker will perform Don Quixote songs by Jacques Ibert, opera arias and Broadway songs at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret on Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

In preparation for their holiday concerts on Dec. 3 and 4 in Woodstock, the Freelance Family Singers begin weekly rehearsals at Woodstock’s First Congregational Church on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. All ages are welcome. While the participation fees are $10 to $15, scholarships are available.

The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph is now selling tickets for a 2016-2017 season that includes such performers as country-folk singer-songwriter Iris DeMent, the Cajun band Beausoleil, folk singer-songwriter Greg Brown, banjoists Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein. To reserve tickets and learn more, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464..

Theater/Performance Art

The New London Barn Playhouse lowers the curtain on its 2016 season with performances of the marital farce Don’t Dress For Dinner tonight, Friday night and Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday at 5. For tickets ($20 to $29) and more information, visit nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.


Harmony Hotel performs at Colburn Park in Lebanon from 4 to 7 this afternoon, during the Lebanon Farmers’ Market. Next Thursday afternoon, Steven Spensley plays fiddle and guitar.

Bull and Prairie serenades the Feast and Field Market in Barnard with a dose of Americana tonight from 5:30 to 7:30. Next Thursday night brings Bow Thayer to the former Clark farm for still more Americana.

Dick McCormack sings and tells stories at the Stone Arch Bakery in Lebanon on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Rustic Overtones plays the final concert of the Cooler in the Mountains series at Killington Resort’s Snowshed Base Area on Saturday afternoon at 3:30. Admission is free.

Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis plays on the Flanders Stage in Sunapee Harbor on Saturday evening from 5 to 7. And in the final concert of the summer at the venue, Pete Merrigan performs on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3.

The Upper Valley Music Center Chamber Orchestra is looking for violinists and viola players for the coming season of performances. . Weekly rehearsals start on Wednesday night at 7 at the music center headquarters on Hanover Street in Lebanon. From Sept. 14 on, the orchestra will rehearse at Lebanon Middle School, in preparation for a Nov. 20 concert featuring Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. While there will be no auditions, the first two rehearsals serve as a free introduction for aspiring newcomers. The participation fee is $50 for the coming year. To learn more, call Ruth at 802-785-4247 or conductor Dave Wysocki at 802-299-8144.

Starting on Tuesday night, the North Country Chorus begins rehearsing weekly for the series of three Christmas concerts that the ensemble will perform at venues in northern Vermont and New Hampshire over the first weekend of December. The program includes Arthur Honegger’s A Christmas Cantata, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and other seasonal works. The chorus, now numbering about 80 members, is welcoming new members through Sept. 20. To register for rehearsals, which will take place at St. Johnsbury Academy, visit northcountrychorus.org. For more information, call 802-748-5027 or email arowe@stjacademy.org.

Bar and Club Circuit

Gillian Joy commands the piano at the Canoe Club in Hanover at 6:30 tonight. Following her to the microphone over the coming week with shows from 6:30 to 9:30 are the Sensible Shoes duo of Barbara Blaisdell and Tim Utt on Friday, jazz singer Rowley Hazard on Saturday, guitarist Bruce Gregori on Tuesday, guitarist Michael Blum and bassist Jim Stinnett on Wednesday, and guitarist Ed Eastridge and saxophonist Michael Parker next Thursday night. And on Monday night between 5:30 and 8:30, Marko the Magician performs his weekly sleight-of-hand.

Singer-songwriters Scott Sanborn and Brian Butterworth performs at the Boho Cafe in downtown White River Junction tonight between 7 and 10, followed Friday night at 7:30 by Martin Decato with a set of Americana music.

Singer-songwriters Brian Warren and Mike Carol pull into Windsor Station tonight at 7. Following them to the venue on Tuesday night at 6 will be singer-guitarist Bill Temple.

Waylon Speed frontman Kelly Ravin brings his guitar to the Skinny Pancake in Hanover for a solo show tonight at 7:30. Next on the stage with 7:30 shows over the weekend are singer-songwriter Dana Twigg on Friday night and the jazz duo of guitarist Billy Rosen and saxophonist Fred Haas on Saturday.

The Michael Parker Duo appears at Bentley’s restaurant in Woodstock tonight at 8, followed Friday night at 8 by singer-songwriter Chris Powers and next Thursday night at 8 by the bluesman Arthur James.

Peter Merrigan performs a set of acoustic rock at Salt hill Pub in Newport tonight. The Friday night lineup at the Upper Valley’s Salt hill Pubs features singer-songwriter Wayne Canney in Lebanon and Alison “AliT” Turner with Soulfix in Hanover. Stepping to the microphone on Saturday night are Talking Smack with a rock show in Newport, singer-songwriter Michael Spaulding in Hanover and the Sullivan Davis Hanscom Band in Lebanon. All shows start at 9.

Singer-songwriter Tad Dreis performs at the tavern at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday night at 5.

The Bradford duo of Don and Jenn Sinclair opens for songwriter-activist David Rosane at the Colatina Exit in Bradford on Friday night from 7 to 10. The appearance also is the release party for Urban Country, which Rosane, the Sinclairs, Will Paton and Jaro recorded as David Rosane and the Zookeepers.

Bud Johnson of the Kind Buds folk-rock band performs his solo acoustic show at The Public House in Quechee on Friday night at 7.

Friday night at 8, boss bassist Peter Concilio leads tenor saxophonist Matt Langley, keyboard wizard Tom Robinson and drummer Tim Gilmore into Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners for a session of jazz.

Soulfix take the stage at Mountain Meadows in Canaan on Saturday night at 8.

Bow Thayer performs his weekly set of Americana at the Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Wednesday night starting at 7:30.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

Joe Stallsmith leads a weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Monday nights at 6.

Kerry Rosenthal hosts the monthly acoustic-jam session at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret on Tuesday night from 7 to 9. Singers as well as instrumentalists are welcome. While admission is free, donations are appreciated. For more information, visit artistreevt.org.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Tuesday nights at 8.

Jim Yeager hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, at 8:30 on Wednesday nights.

The Boho Cafe in White River Junction stages an open mic next Thursday night at 7.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

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