Greetings live music fans, and welcome to 2019! Last week, due to the timing of the change of the year and my deadline, there was a dearth of events for me to cover post-New Year’s Eve. Hopefully lots of you made it out for the evening, as it was quite the last night of the year here in the city of the Golden Dome. Being a week into the new year, however, venues should have the info up for me to properly preview the coming weekend, so here we go.
Although one of Montpelier’s most venerated and successful resto/bars, The Three Penny Taproom is not generally known for live music. They do, however, boast a really nice, acoustically sound dining room that seems perfect for it. They usually only advertise their infrequent live music events in-house, but a little bird told me about this one tonight that should be well worth checking out. Sara Grace and Andy SoOts (aka Andy Suits) will be performing their original tunes and tasty covers starting at 8:30 p.m. The duo is one of central Vermont’s premier acts, and always delivers a great show with their signature funky soul-folk style. Should be a great one to check out for no cover.
Charlie O’s is back in the swing of things for the new year, with live music both Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday night, you can catch John Smith playing acoustic in the early slot at 6 p.m. Thereafter, it’s rock with Carter Glass taking the land beyond the pool tables by storm starting at 9 p.m.
On Saturday night, O’s presents a unique act in the mostly one-man band known as Bloodshot Bill. Though he “plays well with others,” as noted on his website, he mostly appears as a one-man rockabilly wrecking ball. He hails from the unlikely location of Montreal, but he’s found much success beyond those environs, in the deep South and indeed around the globe for “Growlin’, hootin’ and hollerin’ his way through his set(s) with reckless abandon” (No Depression). He’s been called “Roy Orbison with a head injury” (John Waters), but I would liken him more to a jacked-up Elvis on acid. At any rate, this looks to be a fun and unique show in the back of the barroom starting at 9 p.m.
I am a big fan of folk music, a genre that is encompassing of a plethora of artists and styles. However, I am quite picky, and these days prefer new-folk styles that stay true to the tradition, yet provide a post-modern, often rowdier spark than the tradition generally dictates. Just such a band plays the Barre Opera House Saturday night when “Dublin folk miscreants” Lankum takes the premier central Vermont stage in the heart of the Granite City. The award-winning foursome has been lauded as “the most convincing folk band to come out of Ireland in years” (The Guardian), and is recognized for their aggressive, urban-punk-flavored take on the ancient themes of the genre. This sounds like a winner and gets my pick of the week. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. for $26, and tickets and more information are available at www.barreoperahouse.org.
While the Whammy Bar in Calais has yet to put up its January schedule, its somewhat counterpart bar in the bucolic village of Cabot has. On Saturday night, The Den at Harry’s Hardware in the heart of the hamlet on the edge of the Northeast Kingdom presents Leadfoot Louise, a local non-traditional three-piece stringband headed up by longtime central Vermont musician Rebecca Padula. They’ll get the party started in the cozy barroom starting at 7:30 p.m., for no cover, with donations most likely appreciated.
Sweet Melissa’s was ground zero for NYE, and Montpelier’s most active music venue continues that programming into the new year. Tonight, you can catch Barre-bred outlaw country artist Tim Brick starting at 8 p.m. On Friday night, a house favorite returns when The Seth Yacovone Blues Band takes the black box stage starting at 9 p.m.
On Saturday night, Mel’s sometime bartender and sea-shanty purveyor Robert Morgan performs at 6 p.m., followed by rocker Carter Glass (a busy guy this weekend) at 9 p.m. Finally, as it has for a few years now, live band karaoke continues its popular and successful run in the Sunday night slot, with your hosts and backing band The Butcher Blocks kicking things off at 8:30 p.m.
That wraps up this week. 2019 promises to be a year full of live music, but it’s up to you to provide an audience, so to that end, 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 housemate.