• Local music feted at Cider Awards
    By Jim Lowe
     | January 20,2013
    Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo

    Nicole Nelson and Dwight Ritcher perform during the annual Cider Magazine awards show Friday at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.

    Southern Vermont and New Hampshire’s entertainment world came out en masse, dressed to the nines, to fete their best at the second annual Cider Awards on Friday night at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre.

    Central Vermont’s roots-rock star Bow Thayer was the big winner of the gala evening, sponsored by the Bellows Falls alternative entertainment monthly Cider Magazine.

    After a buildup that included Thayer receiving an Achievement Award from former Rutland Herald columnist George Nostrand, and a bravura performance with his band The Perfect Trainwreck, Thayer was named Performer of the Year — capping off the four-hour celebration.

    The other big winner was Rutland rocker Rick Redington. Not only was the veteran musician and entertainer singled out throughout the evening, he was given this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He followed that up with a very personal performance, joined by his teenage son.

    Rusty “The Logger” DeWees was the host of the evening, punctuating the festivities with bursts of his famed Vermont wit, sometimes mildly raunchy but always funny. (DeWees continually tried to keep the evening moving along, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.)

    Despite the surprise of many of the winners, the most unexpected and touching moment had nothing to do with music. After winning Favorite Tattoo Studio, the owner of Killington’s Green Mountain Body Art — on stage, in front of the entire audience — got down on his knee and proposed marriage to his girlfriend. Moved to tears of joy, she accepted.

    Celebrating Cider Magazine’s pubic service, members of Brattleboro’s Team Awesome circulated throughout the audience during the performance by Nostrand’s band, George’s Back Pocket. The team collected donations for the American Cancer Society in anticipation of the team’s upcoming “Dance Away Cancer” fundraising event, which has been substantially supported by the magazine.

    Among a multitude of performances the easy standout was Burlington chanteuse Nicole Nelson’s powerful but touching delivery of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” But there was also raucous bluegrass from Jatoba, real rock from Burlington’s Chad Hollister Band and searing heavy metal from Zombie Fighter, in the band’s swan song.

    The youthful set was represented by Santa Croce, and there was much, much more.

    True, some of the bands would have sounded more appropriate in a nightclub than a 700-seat concert hall. And sound problems erupted throughout the evening. But it was a party.

    Some 40 awards were presented. Among them were the Natalie Turgeon Band as Favorite Country Band; Atlatl as Favorite Metal Band; Linguistic Civilians as Favorite Hip Hop Band; Jatoba was the Favorite Bluegrass Band; and the Chad Hollister Band was named Favorite Rock Band. Appropriately, the Paramount Theatre was chosen Favorite Theater, enthusiastically acknowledged by Executive Director Bruce Bouchard.

    The second annual Cider Awards was a celebration of local music and it proved beyond a doubt that there is some very fine music-making going on in the region.

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