Stannard writer Ben Hewitt describes northern Vermont’s “stick season” as “the time between the leaves’ dropping and the first snow that sticks — a time that brings its own stark beauty and rituals.”
And while it’s typically a more subdued time of year than the colorful craze of foliage season, there are some hot roots music shows in the coming week to brighten up our darkest nights.
Here’s a look at some noteworthy options.
Tuesday — Cordovas
Rising Nashville roots-rock quintet Cordovas makes a Vermont debut Tuesday in support of its 2018 album, “That Santa Fe Channel,” the band’s debut for ATO Records. The album was produced by Kenneth Pattengale of the acclaimed indie-folk duo the Milk Carton Kids.
Rolling Stone dubbed the group one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” in 2017, adding: “Caught halfway between Duane Allman’s Telecaster twang, the Dead’s hazy harmonies and the stoned swoon of California’s folk-rock heyday, Cordovas wring new life from older influences, hoisting their freak flag high on ‘That Santa Fe Channel.’”
The band includes bassist/vocalist Joe Firstman, drummer Graham Spillman, keyboardist Sevans Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Lucca Soria and guitarist/vocalist Toby Weaver.
Signal Kitchen and Nectar’s present Cordovas and opener Pappy at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Nectar’s, Burlington. Free for age 21 and older; $5 for age 18 and older; for information, go online to liveatnectars.com or www.signalkitchen.com.
Friday — Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Anyone who saw “Country Music,” the stellar film by Ken Burns that recently aired on PBS, knows just what a national treasure Ricky Skaggs truly is. Though the late great Bill Monroe will always be “the father of bluegrass,” Skaggs is perhaps the most qualified candidate for the title of No. 1 son.
Skaggs even owes his stage start to Monroe, who called him up and handed him his mandolin at the tender age of 6. By the time he was 10, Skaggs had played with the likes of Flatt and Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers. Since then, the mandolin maestro, now 65, has gone on to become a high lonesome legend of his own, garnering 15 Grammy Awards and a 2018 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
And Skaggs’ backing band Kentucky Thunder adds further instrumental fireworks. “Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show,” says Skaggs of the group. “And that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win.”
Kentucky Thunder includes Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Russ Carson (banjo), Jake Workman (lead guitar), Mike Barnett (fiddle), Dennis Parker (baritone vocals, guitar) and Jeff Picker (bass, bass vocals).
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder with opener Bob and Sarah Amos perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at Stannard Gym, Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, 1001 College Road, Lyndonville (KCP Presents). Tickets are $39-$49 (free for students); call 802-748-2600 or go online to www.kcppresents.org or www.catamountarts.org.
Saturday — Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
Rising North Carolina country-rockers Sarah Shook & the Disarmers return to Burlington two years after their 2017 debut at ArtsRiot. Shook, 34, a native of Rochester, N.Y., and her five-piece group are touring in support of their sophomore album, “Years,” released last year.
Shook says the album is about “picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after years of being trampled and beaten down, jutting your chin out, head high, after they’ve done their worst and saying, ‘still here.’”
“Honest to a fault and as foul-mouthed as a drunken sailor,” said Rolling Stone — which called the album “one of the best country releases of 2018” — of Shook, “she’s a nonconforming spitfire who’s proud of not fitting in with mainstream country music.”
“With Sarah Shook in the mix,” said No Depression of the album, “hardcore country is alive and well, and dangerous as all get out.”
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers with opener Reid Parsons will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Club Metronome, Burlington. Tickets are $13 advance, $16 day of show (age 18 and older); call 802-658-4771 or go online to liveatnectars.com.