Capital Sounds

Radio Jarocho, Saturday at Zen Barn, mixes the rowdy, upbeat and at times melancholic music of Mexico with the urban sounds of New York.

Greetings live-music fans, and happy Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos is widely celebrated south of the border, especially so in central and southern Mexico. The multi-day holiday is dedicated to honoring friends and family who have passed, and to helping their souls in their journey to the next spiritual realm.

Like many time-worn traditions, it is an amalgamation of indigenous pagan beliefs with more-modern Christianity, hence it’s being celebrated now as opposed to the spring, the original time being altered to coincide with All Saints Day.

Music is also a central part of the celebration, and to that end, ZenBarn in Waterbury Center is hosting Radio Jarocho on Saturday night.

“Radio Jarocho plays the rowdy, upbeat, and at times melancholic music of the countryside of Veracruz, Mexico, and has been mixing it with the sounds of New York’s urban life for over 10 years. Having recently joined forces with son jarocho legend Zenen Zeferino, they deliver performances that are passionate, energetic, and true to the roots of the genre,” according to the band’s website.

The Zen continues to have some of the more consistently interesting and entertaining programming on the scene right now, and this event should fit that bill to a T. The fun starts at 9 p.m. for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. For tickets and more information, visit

Another kind of celebration is going down at the Chandler Center of the Arts in Randolph this weekend. The Starline Rhythm Boys have been a mainstay in our local scene since their inception two decades ago, playing both dive bar rooms and grand stages along the way. On Saturday night, Danny Coane, Al Lemery and Billy Bratcher will be joined by special guests on pedal steel guitar and fiddle to round out their authentic roadhouse honky-tonk / vintage country sound.

The Chandler is one of the grandest stages our area has to offer, and my hunch is the Boys will pull out all the stops for this 20th anniversary event. Help ‘em celebrate starting at 7:30 p.m. for $21 in advance, $24 at the door. For tickets and more information, visit

Back in the capital city, Positive Pie II on State Street has been booking more consistently of late, which is good news for our downtown scene. On Friday night, they’ll host fem-driven (and cleverly named) rock act Yestrogen alongside the prolific Django Suolo, who’s been playing prodigiously in the area. The no-cover fun starts at 10 p.m.

Speaking of no-cover fun, Charlie O’s has many mottoes, one of them being “never a cover.” On Friday night, the world-famous bar and fine-dining establishment hosts Burlington-based rock acts Zeus Springsteen (another one of my fave band names) and Barbacoa, which has been anchoring the surf-rock sound around these parts for as long as I can remember. Should be a fun double bill in the back of the barroom starting at 9 p.m.

Scott Graves and Brad Beaudet play acoustic in the early slot at 6 p.m. On Saturday night, O’s switches gears when they host old-time act Rust Bucket starting once again at 9 p.m.

If you are looking to get out of town, there are some small venues in some of the bucolic hamlets around central Vermont that are well worth checking out. On Saturday night, you can head out to The Den, located inside Harry’s Hardware in Cabot. It might seem odd that a bar/music venue is located inside a hardware store, but for this quirky town, it works just fine. On Saturday night you can catch The Revenants, an Americana act that features members of the revered Bluegrass Gospel Project. Should be a good one starting at 7 p.m.

Another oddly placed venue is nestled in the back of the Maple Corner Store in Calais, and this one works just as well for the unique community of Maple Corner. Tonight, The Whammy Bar will host open mic starting at 7 p.m. (arrive a bit early to sign up). On Friday night, Texas swing act Big Hat No Cattle will rustle up the fun starting at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, on Saturday, house favorites Jenn and John take the diminutive stage in the cozy barroom. That one also is at 7:30. Both The Den and The Whammy host their shows for no cover, so be generous with your donations for the musicians if you please.

Sweet Melissa’s, on the corner of Elm and Langdon in the capital, is the most active venue in our area, but after the marathon Halloween week they’ve just had, it’s more than understandable how their schedule for November did not make it out by my deadline. Rest assured, there’ll be live music there this weekend, as always, and, as always, it will probably be worth popping in to check it out.

That wraps up this week. Honor your loved ones past, and go see live music.

Ed DuFresne has produced concerts and events (which he prefers to call shows) in and around central and northeastern Vermont since the late ‘90s. He is grateful to live in Montpelier with an exemplary renaissance man as a house mate.

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