On the Beat: Xander Naylor Scores a Film; Experimental Show at Bauschaus VT; the Pinery's Sundown Sessions; Tributes at Maple Tree Place | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Beat: Xander Naylor Scores a Film; Experimental Show at Bauschaus VT; the Pinery's Sundown Sessions; Tributes at Maple Tree Place


Published June 19, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 19, 2024 at 10:58 a.m.

Xander Naylor - FILE: LUKE AWTRY
  • File: Luke Awtry
  • Xander Naylor

Xander Naylor always seems to be on the move. The Burlington-based guitarist routinely tours India with musicians Vinay Kaushal and Shreyas Iyengar as the Xander Naylor Trio, playing a fusion of jazz and Indian music. After meeting R&B musician Michael Mwenso when he curated Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in 2022, Naylor joined the latter's touring band, Mwenso & the Shakes. And on top of his local solo shows with other jazz musicians such as Mike Bjella, Naylor is a member of the fusion act Breathwork.

Somehow, between all those gigs, Naylor found time to score a film. Hayseed is a small-town murder mystery from Brooklyn-based writer-director Travis Burgess. The two were already friends, and when Naylor said he was thinking of trying to get tracks from his 2020 album, Continuum, into films and advertisements, Burgess had the perfect collaboration.

For the Hayseed soundtrack, Naylor put together a band of top area musicians, including bassist Rob Morse, drummer Ethan Snyder, Bjella on horns and Tripp Dudley on additional percussion.

He aimed to "create something that felt universal yet at the same time foreign," Naylor told me. "We tried to play it like it was one band sampling a variety of different styles in their set."

Name-checking musical influences such as Mulatu Astatke, Ry Cooder and T Bone Burnett, Naylor described the resulting soundtrack as "groovy and pulling from a typically American feel" — with the addition of klezmer.

The record, which drops in early September, marks the first official release from VT Music Lab, a new studio in Essex Junction opened in 2023 by Dwight + Nicole drummer Ezra Oklan and Cooked bassist Drew Holland. The studio has also launched a label, Music Lab Records.

The self-titled first single from Hayseed will be released on Friday, June 21.

Zach Pollakoff - FILE: CALEB KENNA
  • File: Caleb Kenna
  • Zach Pollakoff

Artist and musician Zach Pollakoff is preparing to host another show exploring the intersection of experimental music and art. Along with his own project Narrow Shoulders, Pollakoff has booked New York-based indie-rock artist Ben Seretan; Chicago composer and cellist Lia Kohl; Chicago electronic singer-songwriter Whitney Johnson, aka Matchess; and an installation from Vermont artist Lydia Kern.

The show goes down on Friday, June 28, at Bauschaus VT, Pollakoff's rental house in Charlotte. It once belonged to painter Maize Bausch and her architect husband, Carl Bausch, whose designs were profiled in the New York Times Magazine in 1978. That makes the house easily one of the more interesting venues in the area, so don't miss out. Check out bauschausvt.com for more info.

At 377 Pine Street in Burlington, the Pinery has returned for a second summer of its mega-popular South End Get Down, the event that evolved from the old ArtsRiot Truck Stop series. New this year is the Sundown Sessions concert series: Every other Saturday all summer long, some of Burlington's best musicians will play free concerts starting at 7 p.m.

Surf rockers Barbacoa kicked off the series on May 25, followed by Madaila on June 8. This Saturday, June 22, psych-rock-funk fusion act the Moonlight Project take the stage. The summer bill continues with jazz outfit the Connor Young Band, Killington rockers the Super Stash Bros and Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Burgess.

Speaking of summer series, Maple Tree Place on the Green in Williston is hosting outdoor concerts again. While it may not be the spot to catch cutting-edge new music, the series serves up top-notch tribute acts.

On Thursday, June 20, Maple Tree Place had planned to host Britishmania, a Beatles tribute act that runs through every era of the Fab Four, complete with costume changes, but it was postponed to August 8 due to high temps and a stormy forecast. July 11 jumps forward a few decades with New York's Finest, a tribute to the Police. Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks and the Eagles will all get the tribute treatment on the green this summer, though local folk-rock act the Thea Wren Band will bring some original music to the mix on August 15.

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