On the Beat: Ali McGuirk's Radio Bean Residency and the Debut of Miss Transistor | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Beat: Ali McGuirk's Radio Bean Residency and the Debut of Miss Transistor

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Published January 17, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated January 17, 2024 at 10:14 a.m.


Ali McGuirk - COURTESY OF BEN COLLINS
  • Courtesy Of Ben Collins
  • Ali McGuirk

Ali McGuirk is finally putting her stamp on her adopted music scene. Three years after the roots and soul singer-songwriter moved to Burlington from Massachusetts, she's getting ready to hold down a residency at Radio Bean.

Starting on January 17, McGuirk will play every Wednesday at the club, bringing along some of her favorite local acts and debuting a brand-new project of her own.

"The timing is great, because I actually feel like I live here now," McGuirk said by phone. "Between COVID and having a chaotic tour schedule after the last record, I just didn't get a chance to settle and do anything with the local scene."

Now properly rooted in the Queen City, McGuirk is excited to try out new stuff with the home-field advantage Radio Bean provides. She's assembled a crack squad of musicians to back her up, including Dwight Ritcher (Dwight + Nicole), swapping out his Gibson Flying V guitar for the drum kit; Jeff Leonard (Fruition) on bass; and the All-Night Boogie Band's Brendan Casey on guitar.

"I still love playing songs from Til It's Gone, but I'm really excited to try out some new songs at the residency," McGuirk said, referring to her 2022 LP. "And having these shows booked will hopefully put a fire under my tush to finish some of the songs that are, like, 80 percent finished."

The new songs won't be the only fresh thing McGuirk brings to the Bean. She and Nicole Nelson, the other half of Dwight + Nicole, will debut their new project, Miss Transistor, at the January 17 show. A duo featuring Nelson on bass and McGuirk on guitar, it promises to be a harmony-heavy vocal group, according to McGuirk.

"I'm thrilled to do this with Nicole. Singing with her is legitimately one of my favorite things ever," she continued. "Our voices are so different, but when they link up it's hard to tell who is who, which is so cool."

McGuirk said she and Nelson have been dreaming of launching Miss Transistor since she moved to Burlington in 2021, but it took some time for them to make it happen between their own album releases.

"We're just dipping our toe into existence," McGuirk said of the upcoming Radio Bean performance. "It's sort of our soft opening, you know?"

For more information and tickets, head to radiobean.com.


Cory Wong - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Cory Wong

It's the annual Founders Cup Ski Race & Benefit Concert weekend at Spruce Peak Arts in Stowe. To celebrate, the nonprofit hosts guitarist Cory Wong (Vulfpeck) and vocal group Trousdale for a concert on Saturday, January 20. Wong is a frenetically fast guitar wizard who can channel jazz, funk and rock seemingly in the same riff, a wonder to behold on the six-string. Los Angeles' Trousdale are an all-female trio with melody for days and uplifting songs suffused with harmonies.

"This exclusive event raises important funds to help underwrite Spruce Peak Arts in bringing unforgettable shared artistic experiences to the base of Stowe Mountain," executive director Seth Soloway wrote in a press release for the show.

Learn more and get tickets at sprucepeakarts.org.


I still haven't made it out to one of the Farmers Night events at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier, but I'm champing at the bit. The series, which has hosted all sorts of talent under the ol' Golden Dome for more than a century, is bringing a version of the Moth to the Statehouse, with an assortment of Vermonters telling stories and comic asides. The show goes down on Wednesday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m., hosted by comedian and storyteller Susanne Schmidt, who also leads storytelling workshops this weekend at the inaugural *snap* First Person Arts Festival at the Flynn in Burlington. Featured Farmers Night performers include author and sexuality educator Cindy Pierce, writer Cormac Stevens, graphic designer Thomas Baginski, and folk duo Cricket Blue.

The series is (as always) free and open to the public. Learn more at legislature.vermont.gov.

Seven Shows to Watch Out For:

  1. Rough Francis, Saturday, February 3, at the Stone Church in Brattleboro
  2. Poolside, Wednesday, February 14, at Le Studio TD in Montréal
  3. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tuesday, February 20, at Barre Opera House
  4. The Robert Cray Band, Friday, February 23, at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland
  5. Ron Funches, Thursday, February 29, through Saturday, March 2, at the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington
  6. Sasha Velour's Big Reveal Live Show, Sunday, March 3, at the Flynn in Burlington
  7. Kim Gordon, Thursday, March 21, at the Higher Ground Ballroom in South Burlington

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