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Know When to Fold 'Em

Soundbites: Kenny Rogers, Triple Play, Yonder Mountain String Band

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Does any song in the pantheon of modern music offer more sage wisdom than "The Gambler?" A staple of dive bar jukeboxes and karaoke nights the world over, the Kenny Rogers classic has been the soundtrack for many a rowdy night on the town. In fact, I'm guessing the world would see significantly fewer one-night stands and walks of shame if sauced-up bar patrons would take a second to listen to the lyrics. I mean really listen, man. "Know when to walk away, know when to run." Words to live by.

Why do I bring this up? Mostly because I can. Also, because it appears the country legend/fried-chicken maven is quite capable of following his own advice: Sadly, Rogers has cancelled this Saturday's scheduled appearance at Burlington's Memorial Auditorium. Bummer.

Those who purchased tickets via credit card will be automatically refunded. Those who paid in cash, gold coin, blood or interesting trade can be remunerated at the point of purchase. Once you've gotten your dough back, I recommend heading down to JP's Pub for karaoke. I guarantee somebody will bust out "The Gambler," probably badly and more than once. Good times.

AFTER DARK

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's getting dark earlier and earlier these days. As summer has valiantly clawed at the turning pages of the calendar, it would be easy to forget that it is, in fact, fall. And as we begin the inexorable march towards winter, I ask myself: Why do I live here, again?

One group that benefits from shorter days are the good folks at Middlebury's After Dark Music Series. You see, their shows start at 7 p.m., and right about now it's actually dark then. Good planning, folks!

OK, I admit that last bit was a stretch, possibly even totally lame. What isn't lame is the lineup the long-running series has slated for this season. Celebrating its thirteenth year, ADMS has pulled out all the stops. And that's really saying something, as past seasons have seen such notable acts as Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Greg Brown and The McGarrigle Sisters.

This Sunday, the series gets off to a hot start with the well-heeled folk-jazz stylings of Triple Play. Featuring percussionist Joel Brown, classical guitarist Peter "Madcat" Ruth and bassist Chris Brubeck — son of legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck — the group is world-renowned for its exotic blend of folk, jazz, blues and classical music.

If the band doesn't totally sell you — and it should — the show takes place in the acoustically friendly, in-the-round confines of Middlebury's United Methodist Church, and is preceded by delectable gustatory offerings from some of the area's finest volunteer chefs.

ASS, GAS OR (NEW) GRASS

Some of our more astute readers are likely aware that jammy bluegrass sensations Yonder Mountain String Band are set to take over the Higher Ground Ballroom this week for a two-night hippie hootenanny. What you may not realize is that while they're playing both Monday and Tuesday, it's actually just one long show. In fact, I've heard a rumor that the whole thing will be one big extended jam of "Maid in the Canyon." Sick, dude.

OK, I made that last part up. But they really are playing two nights this week, and I'm sure there will be plenty of face-melting acoustic jams to induce copious wiggling on the dance floor.

If you can't wait until Monday to get your pluckin' fix, I'd suggest heading over to Nectar's this Wednesday, October 10, to catch up-and-coming jam-grass act PossumHaw. Venerable Americana guru Robert Resnik gave the group's new disc, Madtom, a glowing review in last week's paper and, frankly, that's good enough for me. Local mountain-blues act The Eames Brothers open up.

DO BEES REALLY HAVE KNEES?

I have no idea. But I'm sure someone will write in at some point next week and set me straight — probably citing Wikipedia as a source. Sigh. Anyway, whether bees have jointed ambulatory limbs is actually quite irrelevant to this next bit of info. But you probably already gathered that.

Sharon Dietz, proprietor of the nifty little Morrisville café The Bee's Knees, has been threatening to sell her valley hotspot for about as long as I've been writing for Seven Days. Geez, I hope there's no correlation.

Thankfully, it appears she's had a change of heart, and has refocused her efforts towards keeping the place open — even eventually expanding. Citing a second wind, Dietz plans to redouble her efforts by enlisting the aid of experienced chefs and café managers to guide the restaurant/coffee shop in the direction it's been begging to go for years. Problem is, she hasn't found them yet.

Normally, I wouldn't use SoundBites for what is essentially a glorified "Help wanted" ad. But given The Bee's Knees' status as the heart and soul of Morrisville's burgeoning arts community, I thought I'd lend a hand.

If you've never been, I strongly urge you to make the trip down Route 100 and check it out. They have great music in one of the coziest settings this side of Radio Bean, their locally focused menu is positively mouth-watering, and they've got a really cool little bar. Who knows, maybe you'll find a new job to boot.

DA MUSICAL SCENE

Speaking of the Bean, I just have to drop in a line about this next show.

If you've lived in Burlington for any length of time, you know Super Birdman. Or at least you know his bicycle — and no, I'm not talking about the tie-dyed Nader dude.

The Queen City's favorite Jamaican transplant — and his eye-catching ride — is a downtown icon. I've heard he even charges tourists to photograph his multi-colored bike. How entrepreneurial!

He is also, believe it or not, a reggae singer.

I should explain that Birdman's music sounds, well, exactly like how you'd imagine a Jamaican riding a bike covered in stuffed animals and pinwheels would sound. And it's great.

If you've never caught his act, I suggest you make your way to the tiny hipster hangout on North Winooski Avenue this Sunday night and check out Super Birdman's Birthday Bashdown. Consider it a Burlington music-fan rite of passage.

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