Review: Nationally Known Bands Played Near Brattleboro

Seven local bands, some of which tour nationally, played at a festival whose mission was to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The music festival was on September 17 in Newfane, Vermont. The bands were outstanding. Among the highlights were Simba and Pulse Prophets. Hundreds of people attended; many danced. The autumn weather was sunny and comfortable.

Here are the web sites of the bands that performed:

www.EamesBrothersBand.com

www.shokazoba.com

www.PulseProphets.com

www.MoAmbesa.com

www.ClaytonSabine.com

www.DeWaltMusic.com/simba.shtml

Concert Review: Red Molly

Red Molly performed an excellent public concert in Putney, Vermont, near Brattleboro, on April 17. According to the Boston Globe, "Red Molly may be from New York, but their bluegrass and old-time gospel sounds and buoyant three-part harmonies are so down-home it's as if their notes are carried to you on the crisp air of the Ozarks."

Red Molly will play in North Carolina on April 29 and in California on June 23. The band performed in Putney with singer Chris O'Brien, who performed on Garrison Keillor's radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion."

Vusi Mahlasela in Northampton

Vusi Mahlasela, a singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist who lives in South Africa, performed an outstanding public concert in Northampton on February 16. Mahlasela was active in the movement that overthrew the apartheid government in South Africa. In 1994, he performed at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration.

"Vusi has a sort of profound beauty about him. He has a light on," said two-time Grammy award winner Dave Matthews.

Amy Ray in Amherst Nov. 17

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers founded the the Grammy Award-winning band the Indigo Girls. The first few seconds of Ray's latest CD, Didn't It Feel Kinder, are taken up by her voice alone. Throughout the album, Ray's voice is direct, unsentimental and free of irony.

This record sounds more like the Indigo Girls than Ray's first three solo recordings, which were more punk. The best song on the new CD is "Cold Shoulder," a celebratory rocker: "See that girl over there, she's gonna give me the cold shoulder/ she may be straight tonight, but last night she let me hold her."

Legendary Folk Singer Charlie King Concert Will Benefit Valley Post

Charlie King will perform a benefit concert for the Valley Post on October 2 in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Northampton. Pete Seeger said, "Charlie King is one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time."

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars Will Play in Northampton Sept. 14

The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars band will play its soulful, dance-able reggae and Afro-pop music at the Iron Horse in Northampton on September 14 at 7 p.m. The members of the band lived in Sierra Leone until they fled the civil war there in the late 1990s. The uplifting story of their meeting in a refugee camp in Guinea is told in a documentary film that's named after the band. The DVD is available at your local public library, video store, or from Netflix. The band's new CD was released by the Vermont record label www.cumbancha.com Tickets to the concert are available from www.iheg.com

Natalie Merchant Will Sing in Northampton on July 13

Natalie Merchant, probably the world’s best female singer, will sing in Northampton on July 13. It will be her first concert in the Valley in at least a decade. Her lyrics, and the music on her albums, are often – but not always – excellent. But Merchant’s concerts are always great, thanks to her incomparable voice.

In the song “Motherland," Merchant sings:

Where in hell can you go
Far from the things that you know
Far from the sprawl of concrete
That keeps crawling its way
About 1,000 miles a day?

Native New Zealander Might Sing in Northampton

Jess Harlen, a new singer from Australia with a stunning voice, has performed in Europe and Japan. Her next stop could be Northampton.

“I’d love to play there,” Harlen told the Valley Post recently. Her most popular single on YouTube, “Watch the Water,” was inspired while she was swimming in the warm ocean waters of Mexico – not too far from the U.S., she noted. A brilliant video of her performing that song is at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvBAXq2Vdhw

Harlen writes all her own lyrics and music.

Columbia University Professor Will Sing in Keene

Singer Philip Hamilton will perform a public concert in Keene on April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Hamilton teaches at Columbia University. Born in West Medford, Massachusetts, Hamilton graduated from Middlebury College and Berklee College of Music. In Keene, he will sing with his nine-person a cappella group. They will sing Gregorian chants, the blues, and miners' songs. They have performed at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert will be at Keene State College, in the Redfern building at 229 Main Street in downtown Keene. Tickets cost between $12 and $23.

More information is at:

A Genre Soldiers On: Antonio Hart Quintet at Vermont Jazz Center

There was a brown door in a modest kitchen, scuffed by the onslaught of time, children and life's general maneuvers. It guarded a staircase leading down to a basement, spacious enough and made congenial, such that it was often strewn about with middle-aged men.

When closed, this door allowed a generous amount of space between it and the floor, and was not the most efficient muffler of sound. If one crouched by its bottom, the world it attempted to conceal came spilling forth like the secrets of some giddy deluge.