Many years ago, I produced a music series in various grange halls around central and northern Vermont. The Town Hall and Grange Series was largely successful despite its logistical challenges. One particularly challenging one was the Waterbury Center Grange Hall, which at the time was not used very much.
The place has come a long way since then, and has been reinvented as The Grange Hall Cultural Center. Located at 117 Howard Ave., the stately old building now houses an art gallery and performance space. On Friday night, they’ll host a show with Inner Fire District. The band’s members are currently scattered between Burlington and New Orleans, but love to get together and play the state they were founded in. Their Yiddish cabaret-klezmer-Balkan folk sound has been a fave around these parts for years, and it should be a treat to see them in the revamped, culturally significant building. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $10, and those and more info can be had by visiting the Grange Hall Cultural Center’s Facebook page.
That’s not the only thing happening over in Waterbury Center these days. The Zen Barn on Guptil Road has also been hopping with live music. This weekend is a relatively quiet one for them, but they do host a weekly Grateful Dead night on Wednesdays that is exceedingly popular from what I hear, so if you’re a Deadhead looking for a fix, I’d highly recommend checking it out at 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
Sticking outside the capital for the moment, if you are looking to check out a known quantity country artist, you are in luck Saturday night. The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph will host award-winning country music star Lorrie Morgan at 7:30 p.m. This should be a good one for hardcore country fans. Tickets range $40-$75, with the concert honoring local firefighters and celebrating the recent opening of the new Randolph Village fire station. For those and more information, visit www.chandler-arts.org.
Back in ol’ Montpeculiar, there’s live music as usual this weekend. On Friday night, Positive Pie II on State Street gets back into the swing of things when they host the Seth Yacovone Band. Seth’s been playing his brand of hard rockin’ guitar-driven blues since he was a teenager and shows no signs of slowing down. The 10:30 p.m. show is for no cover charge at the door, meaning free.
Speaking of free, Charlie O’s on Main Street in Montpelier has “never a cover” as one of its ubiquitous mottos. On Friday night in the early slot, you can catch Z-Jazz at 6 p.m. They’ll be followed by rockers Fossa starting at 9 p.m.
On Saturday night, Charlie O’s will host rock acts Happy Spangler and Preece starting once again at 9 p.m. Kudos to the ol’ World Famous for keeping the music flowing in the back of the barroom.
Speaking of keeping the music flowing, Sweet Melissa’s on the corner of Elm and Langdon here in the capital has it on tap nearly every night. Information on its offerings has been hard to come by at my desk of late, as the November calendar never made it to its Facebook page.
I managed to get my hands on a paper copy, however, and can tell you local favorite ’80s tribute band Duroc will play Friday night. Expect this one to be well attended starting at 9 p.m. for a nominal cover at the door. I’m quite sure Mel’s will have live music Saturday night as usual as well, but unfortunately the calendar I have ends with the last day of the month. So you’ll just have to stop in to see what’s in store.
Finally, though, it might be a snowy drive, it’s always worth it to journey just outside the capital to Calais, where you’ll find the cozy confines of the Whammy Bar nestled in the back of the Maple Corner Store. It’ll host its weekly open mic tonight starting at 7 p.m.
On Friday night, bluegrass act The Sky Blue Boys takes the diminutive stage starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night features solo acoustic soul artist Liam Alone, once again at 7:30 p.m. All shows at the Whammy are for donations, with all proceeds going to the artists.
That wraps up this week. Whether it’s a grange hall, cultural arts center or a barroom, free or for a modest or not-so-modest fee, 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.