The leaves are golden, and so once again is our beloved dome here in the capital. The gold leaf restoration on the top of the capitol building has been completed, and all that is left is for our iconic statue of Ceres to be placed once again at the top.
No word I know of on when that is scheduled to happen, but I would not be surprised if she waited out the winter away from the elements, as it would be somewhat appropriate for the goddess of agriculture to not show again until the spring.
The live-music scene is also golden at the moment, with many of our local venues getting or staying active through the fall season. Here’s what’s coming down:
A lot of people like to hear something familiar when they go see live music. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “but I’ve never heard of them” when trying to tout a live act that is playing around. To that end, most folks have heard of Fleetwood Mac, the classic rock act that cranked out hits through the ‘70s and ‘80s. The original Fleetwood Mac is somewhat in turmoil these days, but you can catch the next best thing at the Barre Opera House on Friday night when Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute takes the majestic BOH stage. The band is known as being the most accomplished Fleetwood Mac tribute in the world, playing the music live without a net and with no gimmicks. Tickets for the 8 p.m. performance are $25-$33, and those and more info can be found at www.barreoperahouse.org.
Back in the capital, Sweet Melissa’s will host one of our most enduring and successful local musicians when Dave Keller has a CD release party for his latest, “Every Soul’s a Star.” The recording marks a label debut for Dave (Catfood Records), and one on which he also worked with a Grammy-winning producer (Jim Gaines). According to Dave, this is his strongest studio effort yet, and I’m sure he’s anxious to showcase the new material to the local faithful. To that end, he’ll play two shows at the Elm and Langdon corner hotspot at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday night. Tickets will be $10 at the door. Congrats to Dave on his latest and hopefully the material comes across as well live as it does via the studio.
Mel’s also has music nearly every other night of the week as well, tonight featuring Nancy Smith at 6 p.m. followed by a triple bill with Eastern Mountain Time, Party of the Sun and Chesty Rollins, starting at 8 p.m. On Friday night, Essex-based Humble Hero takes the black-box stage. Self-proclaimed purveyors of “hero rock,” the trio cites acts like The Pixies and Bruce Springsteen as influences. They’ll rock out heroically starting at 9:30 p.m. On Sunday, you know the drill — live band karaoke, as always, at 8:30 p.m.
Outdoor shows are quickly becoming scarce as the season changes, but you have a chance to catch one Friday night at Fresh Tracks Winery on Route 12 in Berlin just south of the capital proper. Kava Express will play rock and soul classics starting at 7 p.m. for the final installment of Fresh Tracks Friday Night Fires series. Food will be available starting at 6 p.m. and the music is free of charge.
Hopping back into town, Charlie O’s has music both Friday and Saturday nights once again this week. On Friday, longtime Burlington rockers Osage Orange take the back of the barroom. On Saturday night, O’s hosts country/soul/rock act The Red Newts, who also hail from Burlington. Come on down and catch what the Queen City has to offer starting at 9 p.m. both nights.
ZenBarn over in Waterbury Center has something of note nearly every week, and this week is no exception. On Saturday night, Mamadou Kelly, a musician from Mali who has toured extensively with the legendary Ali Farka Toure, will perform. Mamadou is known for having an encyclopedic knowledge of his home region’s music, and his four-piece band interprets the simple yet layered compositions in such a way as to transform the listener to another time and place. Check out authentic playing that illustrates “the real roots of American blues and jazz” (George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly) starting at 9 p.m. for $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Some of our more rural environs have live music this weekend as well, and as mentioned last week, they are great drives to head out to a bit early to check out the quickly dwindling foliage.
The Whammy Bar in Calais has a particularly strong lineup this weekend following their open mic tonight at 7 p.m. On Friday night, another local musician who has found a fair modicum of national success as well as radio play takes the diminutive Whammy stage when Chad Hollister plays his brand of feel-good pop starting at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Johnny Blue Jeans plays blues and soul starting once again at 7:30 p.m.
Further afield in Cabot, The Den at Harry’s Hardware is another small venue/bar with a cozy space for live music. Saturday night at 7 p.m., they’ll host indie-folk fiddler Dan Wyman. All events at Harry’s and The Whammy Bar are by donation.
That wraps up this week. Remember, all that glitters is gold, 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.