• Capital Sounds: No stopping Charlie O’s
    June 26,2013

    Ed DuFresne

    Did ya’ miss me? Apparently my column for last week never arrived to my editor, and due to my busy work schedule at my other job, I never got the memo. No need to rehash what was an excellent week of music around the area – hopefully some of you were out to see some of the excellent talent that I witnessed. And, my editor and I have a plan to make sure that things don’t get lost in cyberspace again, so you can look forward to seeing this piece once again every Thursday.

    In the meantime, I’ve not done any booking for a while, but that is changing this weekend. Being that I am afforded the luxury of shameless self-promotion here, I’m going to take full advantage of it. And, since I’m frequently stopped on the street and asked about events at more family-friendly hours, I’m happy to say this is one of them!

    This Sunday, myself and The Vermont Thrush Restaurant will present Cumbiagra, NYC’s premier Cumbia band, on the patio at 3 p.m. For those not familiar, Cumbia is an extremely infectious brand of traditional Columbian dance music; this particular band has been described as “Frank Zappa meets the Buena Vista Social Club,” and I dare say that descriptor still does not do them justice — they are that good! Come on out, bring the family, and enjoy a Sunday afternoon of dancing, food and drink on the patio. For those that don’t know, The Thrush is located behind the Gulf Station on State Street in the heart of ol’ Montpeculiar.

    Now back to the nightlife. Positive Pie II on State Street in the capital presents a CD release party Saturday night for local-ish new-folk artist Kris Gruen, who is celebrating the release of his latest “New Comics from the Wooded World.” Also on the bill will be Worcester resident Chad Hollister, a pop artist who has achieved no small amount of success with his songs gaining radio airplay nationwide. No word on the format each will bring to the stage at press time, but my guess is there will be some band accompaniment rather than just solo appearances. The show starts at 10:30 p.m.

    Charlie O’s has really been upping their musical game lately, with a pair of stellar shows last weekend. The bar is becoming known as the spot in town for edgy, push-the-envelope performances, and this weekend should be no exception as they have two nights of punk rock.

    On Friday, Swillbillie and Crazy Hearse bring the rockabilly side of the genre to the back of the barroom. Expect a loud and rowdy time starting at 10 p.m. On Saturday, the punk rock vibe continues with Lost World and Cellular Chaos, who I expect play a bit more straightforward brand of the genre, also starting at 10 p.m. And, as always at the ol’ World Famous, the shows are fo’ free!

    If you’re looking to get out of town, there are options galore this weekend at The Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction. Tonight the Tupe presents former Vermonter and 8084 member Randy Smith and His Merry Band of Men. He’ll be playing his solo work as well as some material from his former Vermont-based project. Up and coming singer songwriter Keeghan Nolan opens the show, starting at 8 p.m.

    On Friday night, the TMH presents “The Jazz Stars Align” with The Interplay Jazz All-Stars at 8 p.m. Then, on Saturday night, the premier show of the weekend takes place when signature blues and folk artist Chris Smither takes the Tupelo stage. “With a weary, well-traveled voice and a serenely intricate finger-picking style, Mr. Smither turns the blues into songs that accept hard-won lessons and try to make peace with fate.” Expect topnotch songwriting and impressive guitar work starting at 7 p.m.

    And, if you fancy it, stick around for Club 188, the Upper Valley’s popular dance party, starting at 10 p.m. For more info, tickets, etc., visit www.tupelohallvermont.com. Troop on down to the Tupe!

    Heading in the other direction, you can catch American blues artist Sonny Landreth up in Stowe at the Spruce Peak
    Performing Arts Center on the Mountain Road. The dude is known for his unique slide-guitar style, and has recently released his 11th album. The show starts at 8 p.m, and for tickets and more information, visit www.sprucepeakarts.org.
    That about wraps up this week. Cheers!

    Ed DuFresne is the former talent coordinator at Langdon Street Café and The Black Door, occasionally produces concerts, and books at various venues in the area on a freelance basis as well as being a PM sous-chef at The Vermont Thrush Restaurant. He lives in Montpelier with a lovely Polish anarchist, a budding renaissance man and a calico cat named Turtle.

    The Times Argus and Rutland Herald regularly review CDs by Vermont performers. (They must have been reviewed to be considered for December’s annual Tammie Awards.) To have your CD considered for reviewing, please send it to: Arts Editor, The Times Argus, P.O. Box 707, Barre, VT 05641.

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