So what if it’s been spitting snow in these first weeks of April? Spring is around the corner, and by extension, summer. Which for music lovers means one thing: outdoor concert season.
Higher Ground Presents and Ben & Jerry’s have just confirmed two shows for their annual Concerts on the Green at Shelburne Museum, and they’re both pretty big deals. I’ve been given the go-ahead to break the suspense, so here goes.
First up are Wilco, who appear on Friday, June 29. I’m pretty psyched for this one, as I’ve been listening to a top-secret advance of the band’s latest, Sky Blue Sky, pretty much nonstop for the last couple of weeks. It’s a supremely soulful disc, featuring some groovy detours into early 1970s-style guitar rock. To me, it’s what jamming should sound like — heartfelt, solid but not flashy, and in service to the song. Having been a fan of “new” Wilco axe man Nels Cline for some time, I have to say it’s great that boss Jeff Tweedy allowed him space to shine on track after track. A few of my online critic pals have lately dismissed Wilco as “dad-rock”; if that’s the case, you can call me Papa Rea.
The queen of transcendent country, Emmylou Harris, appears on Monday, August 6. Harris has been performing and recording for more than 30 years and, in that time, has helped pave the way for countless musicians. Her work with the late Gram Parsons is, of course, legendary, and her solo material is positively gorgeous. So is she, in my humble opinion.
Judging from our Pop 10 list of top sellers at local record shops, a lot of you purchased All the Roadrunning, Harris’ recent collaboration with ex-Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler. The “Sultan of Swing” won’t be at this show, but I’ll bet Emmylou will do just fine without him.
A limited number of “early bird” tickets will be made available for the Wilco — these run $33. Regular advance tickets are $38, and day-of-show admission (if it isn’t sold out by then) is $39. Emmylou Harris tickets are $48 advance, 52 bucks day of.
Tickets go on sale this Friday at 11 a.m., so break out those credit cards. Purchases can be made at the Higher Ground box office, online at http://www.HigherGroundMusic.com or by calling 888-512-SHOW. Stay tuned for announcements about the rest of the artists appearing in the series.
PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW
Local rockers Carrigan have been playing quite a few out-of-state shows lately, with sometime guitarist Daryl Rabidoux in tow. They’ll be back at Club Metronome alongside The Static Age and Drive the Hour on Wednesday, April 11.
The show marks Rabidoux’s last appearance with the band for a while — he’s packing up and heading off to Providence, Rhode Island, in the coming weeks. As previously reported, Rabidoux will be busy putting together the new incarnation of Strangeways Recording, which until recently was located on lower Main Street in Burlington.
In addition to Rabidoux, the Metronome gig will feature satellite member Jebson Interlandi, who has lately rocked the bass for local rockers The Cripples. This incarnation of Carrigan is my personal favorite, so I’m definitely gonna be there.
Carrigan drummer/electronics manipulator Ken Johnson told me of the band’s recent adventures in Austin, Texas, as part of that city’s massive South By Southwest festival. Long story short: They played on a backyard patio at a vegan barbecue — hardly a prime spot if you’re looking to impress industry types. “We only got to play for, like, 20 minutes,” Johnson relates. “It was easily 90 degrees, Zack [Martin] was running a fever, and Daryl had to literally sprint across town to get our laptop right before our set, which was left in a parked van somewhere in downtown. So we were a pale, sweaty mess in Texas.” Beats being a pale, freezing mess in B-town, right?
UP A CREEK WITH A MUSICAL PADDLE
I recently received word about a new local compilation sponsored by Middlebury’s Otter Creek Brewing Co. The disc, which was produced by The Dirtminers’ front dude Raph Worrick, features a bounty of fine local bands. And, by the by, OCB happens to make some awesome beer. Now can I get an endorsement, or perhaps my picture on a bottle?
Personal pipe dreams aside, the CD is damn solid. Artists appearing include Chuch, Japhy Ryder, Patrick Fitzsimmons, Farm, Vorcza, Lowell Thompson, Kris Gruen, Starline Rhythm Boys, The Eames Brothers Band and, of course, The Dirtminers.
And, much like the beer, the music is fresh. “Most of the tracks are from just-released or soon-to-be-released CDs,” says Worrick. “It’ll hit shelves around April 15, and folks should look for the CDs stuck on the outside of the beer boxes.” A thousand copies will be given away in this manner, attached to OCB’s Vermont Sampler 12-packs. That’s my kind of distribution.
Compilation albums often suffer from sonic schizophrenia, but that’s not the case here. Says Worrick, “It’s a varied group of songs, but they hang well together.” I’ve had a listen, and couldn’t agree more.
Fans of weird-ass pop might want to swing down to Burlington’s Euro Gourmet this Monday for a show with Remote Islands, Nosebleed Island (do I detect a theme?) and Fighter.
Headliners Remote Islands hail from Philadelphia, the land of cheese steaks and Rocky Balboa. RI have no connection with either, but it’s always fun to talk useless trivia. I’ve given a thorough listen to the band’s adorably bizarre album, Smother Party, and I can’t tell if they’re playing at being crazy, or actual crazies playing. RI have been compared to Blur, Pavement and Radiohead, which I frankly don’t hear. It’s more like if Daniel Johnston’s voice dropped an octave and he started messing with cheap synths and drum machines.
Locals Nosebleed Island are quickly gaining notoriety around town for their shattered pop ditties about robots, vampires and romance. Fighter, who play all manner of odd and handmade instruments, features local artist Graham Keegan.
The show takes place at 7 p.m. and costs $5. Visit http://www.TickTick.org for more info.
Just wanted to give a quick heads-up about a benefit show with blues-rockers Nobby Reed Project at the St. Albans Owl’s Club on Saturday, April 14. The band is performing in support of friend Jimmy Bedard, who is struggling with cancer. “We’re trying to do anything to help his family with costs,” says NRP drummer Eric Belrose. “This is one way we as a group of musicians can use our talent to help.” The show takes place at 7 p.m.; admission is $15.