Soundbites: Welcome to 2020 | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: Welcome to 2020


Published January 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

From left: Jamie Masefield, Matt Flinner and Will Patton - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • From left: Jamie Masefield, Matt Flinner and Will Patton

Back in Action

Welcome to 2020. To borrow words once made famous by the legendary Nina Simone, "It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me. And I'm feeling good." I just got back from a much-needed vacation, during which I primarily binge-watched animated Disney movies via Disney+. Actually, I watched all of the major animated releases, in chronological order, and ranked them as I went. If you bump into me out and about, try to guess which one was my favorite. I'll give you a hint: It wasn't Home on the Range, a bizarre 2004 Western starring the voice talents of Dame Judi Dench and Roseanne Barr. Yes, this is a movie that exists.

This year is likely to bring about some exceptionally good music and nightlife. Already on my radar are new releases from local indie-rock outfits Clever Girls and Couchsleepers, not to mention singer-songwriter Jonny Wanzer, who's been dropping delightfully unhinged Instagram videos for the past several months that challenge the Queen City's status quo. In a nutshell: He might be running for mayor of Burlington. Or it's all a publicity scheme to promote the album. Or it's both. We'll find out soon enough.

Also on the horizon is the 10th anniversary of Waking Windows. The three-day Winooski music festival hits the Onion City on Friday, May 1. The grassroots event has grown exponentially since its inception. Though no acts have been announced (be on the lookout for an initial lineup unveiling sometime soon), you can bet that someone huge will be taking on headlining duties. I know Seven Days contributor Chris Farnsworth has been lobbying for "Weird Al" Yankovic via social media for some time now. Let's hope he's successful.

A little birdie (named Facebook) told me that the renovations at Drink, a Burlington bar, are nearly complete. No official grand reopening date has been named yet, but the downtown watering hole is poised to possibly become the city's next swank hang and DIY music venue. It can't come soon enough because, honestly, right now, the bar is a bit on the beige side, if you catch my drift. Tons of potential, but not a ton of personality.

And since we're at the beginning of a new year, I just want to remind folks to remember to pitch stories and album submissions early and often. Please don't be a stranger!

The Results Are In

Remember in 2019 when Big Heavy World teamed up with consulting firm Sound Diplomacy to create the Vermont Music Sector Report? The intention of the in-depth survey was to gather data regarding all facets of Vermont's music ecosystem. Without said data, conversations about how to improve said ecosystem tread on the anecdotal side at best and the hypothetical at worst.

But here's the thing about data analysis: It only reflects the given sample, not the entire population. And the sample obtained for this survey is, unfortunately, heavily skewed.

According to the summary report, now available for download at, only 204 people responded to the survey. Of those 204, 75 percent were male. Atop that, the average respondent was male, white and at least 40 years old.

I'm not here to bash age, race or gender. If I were, I'd be a hypocrite, because I'm only three years away from fitting the aforementioned demographic to a tee. But I feel that the sample size and its demographic breakdown seriously call into question how accurately this report reflects the experiences of all working musicians and music professionals in the state. How is it possible that only approximately 53 people age 39 and under responded to this survey? (Seven percent were 18 to 24; 19.4 percent were 25 to 39.) Isn't Big Heavy World itself all about empowering the next generation?

This was an opportunity to get a clinical evaluation of everything from how live music performance relates to income to assessing the demand for collaborative artistic spaces. I could go into more detail, regurgitating the various data points included in the 47-page document. But, knowing that the data primarily came from one particular niche, does any of it matter?

What a disappointment.


Andriana Chobot and Joshua Glass - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Andriana Chobot and Joshua Glass

This week, a triad of Vermont's finest mandolin players — Matt Flinner, Jamie Masefield and Will Patton — teams up for a string of shows. Performing as the Vermont Mandolin Trio, the artists have multiple lifetimes of experience among them. You have four chances to see the folk trifecta, all over the state: Wednesday, January 8, at the Light Club Lamp Shop in Burlington; Friday, January 10, at ArtisTree in South Pomfret; Saturday, January 11, at Burnham Hall in Lincoln; and Sunday, January 12, at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro. Bassist Pat Melvin accompanies the three mandolinists. (From now on, can we call them "mandalorianists"?)

With the recent closing of Stonecutter Spirits' Highball Social, itinerant karaoke night Hotel Karaoke was once again in need of a new location. (It originated at SideBar in 2018.) Hosted by the charismatic Edward Jahn, the event has now moved to a new night and venue: Tuesdays at Orlando's Bar & Lounge. I don't know what it is about Hotel Karaoke that attracts some of the best amateur singers in town, but it's well worth your time — even if you don't sing!

Lovers of piano-driven pop should check out the final stop on pianists Andriana Chobot and Joshua Glass' Piano Duel Tour. They hit the Stone Corral brewery in Richmond on Saturday, January 11. The duo recently stopped by the Tim Lewis-hosted "Live at Robot Dog Studio" web series to present a sexy, dramatic version of Prince's "Little Red Corvette."

A couple of new DJ residencies to put on your radar: Ron Stoppable hosts Throwback Thursday at Half Lounge, a new weekly gig devoted to hip-hop spanning the '90s to the late '00s. Every fourth installment features a vinyl set, as well. It kicks off on Thursday, January 9. The same night, vinyl-only DJ duo Local Dork hosts a new monthly residency at Nectar's called The Classics. The recurring dance party will feature some of the music industry's most lauded voices, beginning with the dearly departed David Bowie. (The Starman, who died of liver cancer in 2016, would have turned 73 on January 8.)

Listening In

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.

Polo & Pan, "Dorothy"

From "John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch," "Plain Plate of Noodles"

DaVido, "Get to You"

Labrinth & Zendaya, "All for Us"

Caroline Rose, "Bikini"

Correction: January 16, 2020: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Robot Dog Studio.