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Highlights: Guy Davis Brings His One-Man Blues ‘Adventures’ to Enfield

  • Bluesman Guy Davis brings is one-man show "The Adventures of Fishy Waters," to Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield in early April. (Courtesy Thom Wolke)



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Whatever people think of Garrison Keillor in the wake of recent allegations of sexual harassment, bluesman and storyteller Guy Davis will always consider the public-radio raconteur a role model for spinning tales.

“He opens your eyes to the human psyche,” Davis said in a telephone interview before a recent European tour. “You go down to Washington, D.C., people there tell lies or tell the truth to tell lies.

“Garrison Keillor is using lies to tell the truth.”

In that spirit, Davis will perform his one-man show of stories and song, The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues, four times between April 6 and 8 at the Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield. If you want to see and hear how Davis inhabits the role of a bluesman making his way through the Jim Crow-era South, you’d better hurry to reserve a seat.

“The first three shows are sold out,” Shaker Bridge director Bill Coons said this week. “We’ve added a fourth show on Sunday night (April 8) at 7:30, and there are still tickets available for that show.”

The show has evolved from several influences, including Davis’ Broadway performances as harmonica wizard Sonny Terry in a revival of the musical Finian’s Rainbow, and the lead in Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil.

Davis also is harnessing stories and storytelling styles that he watched and heard at a Vermont summer camp run by folk singer Pete Seeger’s brother John, and from family members of both of Davis’ parents, legendary stage and screen actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

“My personal pedigree is not straight out of the blues,” Davis said, “but the people who created the blues were people just like my grandparents, who chose the church and the community over the rowdy aspect of the blues.”

Now 65, Davis appreciates another skill that he inherited from his father.

“My dad, who the world knows as an actor, considered himself even more a writer,” Davis said. “I discovered it within myself in this process, something I didn’t know was there. He would rise at 5 every morning with yellow legal pads. Sometimes I found him there at the table after an all-nighter of writing. He was working on his craft. He said that talent is a mighty fine thing, but craft means doing it whether you feel like it or not. That example got me into better working habits.”

Davis started sharing Fishy Waters’ stories and songs in living rooms and for school audiences, and gradually built it into a production that, on larger stages, places Fishy in a boxcar, with projected images of lynchings, hobos on trains and other harsh realities. He is grateful that people of many ethnic backgrounds are turning out for the shows, large and small, in a time where so many seek stories on small screens.

“The internet, efficient as it is in spreading information, lacks that eye-to-eye contact that a person gets from a live performance.

“Till the day I die, I will be telling some kind of story.”

Guy Davis performs his one-man show The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues at the Shaker Bridge Theatre in downtown Enfield on April 6, 7 and 8. For tickets ($25) to the April 8 show at 7:30, visit shakerbridgetheatre or call 603-448-3750.

Best Bets

The 1776 Project kicks off a three-weekend revival of the Broadway musical 1776 on Friday night at 7:30 at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. The play, first produced in the 1970s, re-imagines the struggle of the 13 colonies to declare independence from Great Britain. It runs through April 14. To reserve tickets ($22 to $25, plus service fee) and learn more, visit the1776project.org.

Burlington-based singer Jenni Johnson leads her Jazz Junketeers into the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret on Friday night, for a concert on the theme of “Celebrating Women in Music.” The performance, which starts at 7, will perform renditions of songs made famous by such vocalists as Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Roberta Flack, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Patsy Cline and Norah Jones. The band includes Barnard residents Mark van Gulden on vibraphone and percussion and Kathleen Dolan on flute. For tickets ($20) and more information, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

South African choreographer Dada Masilo stages and dances in her reimagining of the 19th-century French ballet Giselle on Friday and Saturday nights at Dartmouth College’s Moore Theater in Hanover. The performances, both starting at 8, mark the U.S. premiere of Masilo’s interpretation of the ballet about a peasant girl betrayed by her lover, featuring music by South African composer Philip Miller and visuals by artist William Kentridge. To reserve tickets ($25 to $50) and learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

No fooling, April or otherwise: “Social-justice vigilantes” Krish Mohan and Andrew Frank bring their Anti-Imperialism Nationwide Comedy Takeover to the Woolen Mill Comedy Club in Bridgewater on Sunday night at 8. Admission is $10 at the door.

Looking Ahead

Patrick Garner will perform the one-man play Benjamin Franklin: America’s First Citizen, at the Claremont Opera House on April 6 at 10 a.m. To reserve tickets ($5) and learn more, call 603-542-0064.

The Europe-based Gob Squad Collective will stage an avant-garde adaptation of War and Peace on April 6 and 7 at Dartmouth College’s Moore Theater in Hanover. For tickets ($20 to $35) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Opera North will celebrate the centenary of the birth of composer Leonard Bernstein with a recital of music from West Side Story, Candide, On the Waterfront and other works, on April 7 at the Roth Center for Jewish Life in Hanover. For tickets ($25) and more information about the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., visit operanorth.org or call 603-448-4141.

The Acacia Chamber Music ensemble of clarinetist Meghan Davis, flutist Leslie Stroud and pianist Matthew Odell will play a concert benefiting the addiction recovery agency Headrest on April 7 at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. Admission is $20 to the concert, which will feature compositions of Arvo Part, Miguel del Aguila, Olivier Messiaen, Gary Schocker, Florent Schmitt and Alberto Ginastera.

The Party Crashers will serenade the Hand to Heart Project’s annual benefit dance at Plainfield Town Hall on April 7 at 8 p.m. Admission is by donation ($10 or more is suggested) to the nonprofit Hand to Heart’s program of giving home massages and compassionate touch to cancer patients. There will also be a silent auction benefiting the project.

Bassist Peter Concilio, guitarist John Stowell, trumpeter Dave Ellis, saxophonist Tom Robinson and drummer Tim Gilmore will play jazz at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on April 6 at 8 p.m.

The Quebecois trio De Temps Antan will perform at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on April 8 at 7:30 p.m. For reserve tickets ($20 to $22) and learn more, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500.

World Under Wonder will hold auditions for its summer prodution of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible on April 11-13, at the company’s playhouse in Weathersfield. The McCarthy-era drama, set in colonial Massachusetts during the height of the hysteria over witches, will be performed at the playhouse on June 29 and 30 and on July 6 and 8. To learn more, email worldunderwonder@gmail.com.

Theater/Performance Art

Shaker Bridge Theatre hosts a reading of author and editor Jack Beatty’s play, The Battle Not Begun, on Saturday night at 7:30 at Whitney Hall in downtown Enfield. Admission is free. (See related story.)

Music

Pianist-singer Bill Wightman, singer-guitarist Cliff Clegg and drummer Jody Bregler play jazz, pop and rock at the Flying Goose Brewpub & Grille in New London next Thursday night at 8. For tickets ($25), visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

The South Royalton Town Band is inviting aspiring musicians of all ages and abilities to rehearse for and perform in its Thursday night concerts on the bandstand at the town green during the summer of 2018. Genres of music range from marches and showtunes to popular compositions and Dixieland. For a schedule of rehearsals, email srtownband@gmail.com.

The Lyme Town Band has begun rehearsing for the summer of 2018 on Tuesday nights at 7 at the Lyme School cafeteria. Musicians of all ages and levels of experience are welcome.

Bar and Club Circuit

Guitarist Ted Mortimer and accordionist Steve Pixley pull into Windsor Station tonight at 7. Funkwagon invades the venue on Friday night at 9:30, Fu’Chunk rocks The Station on Saturday night at 9:30 and singer-songwriters Johnny O and Ben Fuller appear on Tuesday night at 6.

Randy Miller hosts the weekly live session of traditional Irish music at Salt hill Pub in Hanover tonight at 6. John Lackard sings and plays blues Saturday at 9 p.m.

Tirade frontman Toby Moore plays a solo set of acoustic rock at Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9. GrooveSum performs its mix of rock, blues, funk and Americana on Saturday night at 9, and on Tuesday night from 6 to 9, fiddler Roger Burridge and piper Anthony Santoro share their weekly session of traditional Irish music.

Roots musician and storyteller Doug Lantz monopolizes the microphone at Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 8. Roger Kahle joins Randy Miller on Wednesday night at 6 for their weekly live session of traditional Irish music.

The rock/soul duo SIRSY performs at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Saturday night at 9.

Rocker Chris Powers plays the tavern at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday night starting at 5.

The Party Crashers turn up the volume at the Engine Room in White River Junction on Friday night at 8.

Pianist Sonny Saul performs jazz at the On the River Inn in Woodstock on Saturday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 9.

The Conniption Fits rock The Dusty Bottle in downtown Bradford on Saturday night starting at 9. Open to ages 21 and older, at a cover charge of $5.

Saxophonist Michael Parker and guitarist Norm Wolfe fill the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm with jazz on Tuesday night at 7.

Open Mics

Jim Yeager hosts open mics on the following nights over the coming week: tonight at 7 at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret; at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock on Monday night at 7:30; at the Public House in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; and on Wednesday from 8 to midnight at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic at 7:30 on Thursday nights. 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 his weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass on Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

Fiddler Jakob Breitbach leads a weekly acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music on Tuesday nights at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

Tom Masterson hosts the weekly open mic at Bradford’s Colatina Exit on Tuesday nights at 8.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Entertainment news also can be sent to highlights@vnews.com.