Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ethiopian Boogie Funkifies Lincoln for a Good Cause

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM

The New Nile Orchestra boogieing down in a 2013 show - COURTESY OF THE NEW NILE ORCHESTRA
  • Courtesy of the New Nile Orchestra
  • The New Nile Orchestra boogieing down in a 2013 show
For the second year in a row, Vermonters are invited to boogie themselves silly, Ethiopian-style. And it’s all in the name of a good cause.

On Saturday, May 2, Vermont’s own New Nile Orchestra will headline the second annual Ethiopian Boogie Benefit, the proceeds from which will benefit the Vermont-Ethiopia Teacher Exchange and Action for Youth and Community Change (AYCC) a nonprofit organization that fosters cultural exchange. Admission to the concert, which will take place at Lincoln’s Burnham Hall, includes Ethiopian food jointly prepared by local chefs and visitors from the Ethiopian city of Hawassa.

The Vermont-Ethiopia Teacher Exchange, explained theater artist David Schein, does exactly what it sounds like. In 2014, the program sent five Vermont teachers to Hawassa, where they worked with Ethiopian teachers in two-week classroom residencies. To initiate the second stage in that cultural exchange, two teachers from Hawassa have just arrived in Vermont. Tedelech Assefa and Adane Kebebew will visit classrooms in Monkton, Vergennes and Grand Isle.

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Fun Home Grabs 12 Tony Award Nominations

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Fun Home on Broadway, right next to another pretty popular musical. - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • Fun Home on Broadway, right next to another pretty popular musical.

Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechdel's star just got even shinier. The musical based on her graphic memoir Fun Home was nominated for 12 Tony Awards!

As reported in the New York Times and elsewhere today, Fun Home is in the running for the following:

  • Best musical (along with An American in Paris, Something Rotten! and The Visit)
  • Book—Lisa Kron
  • Original score—Jeanine Tesori (music) and Lisa Kron (lyrics)
  • Actor, lead, in musical—Michael Cerveris (who plays Bruce Bechdel, Alison's father)
  • Actress, lead, in musical—Beth Malone (as adult Alison)
  • Actress, featured role, musical—Judy Kuhn (Helen Bechdel, Alison's mother), Sydney Lucas (young Alison) and Emily Skeggs (middle Alison)
  • Scenic design, musical—David Zinn
  • Lighting design, musical—Ben Stanton
  • Direction, musical—Sam Gold
  • Orchestration, musical—John Clancy

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Neilgate Sucks, But It Ain't a Scam

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 3:09 PM

The line at the Flynn. Oh, the horror! - MATTHEW ROY
  • Matthew Roy
  • The line at the Flynn. Oh, the horror!
This just in: Getting tickets to see Neil Young at the Champlain Valley Expo in July has been a colossal pain in the ass. The website crashed. Phone lines are jammed. Angry emails and Facebook comments are flying in with unprecedented speed and vitriol. And that was just at the Seven Days offices this morning. We can't imagine what it's been like at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Box Office. 

Obviously, the fiasco surrounding ticket sales for Young's show is unfortunate. But, as of this writing, congestion at is reportedly easing, and folks are beginning to get through; that appears to be the case for those seeking tickets via phone and in person, too. It sucks. But it's not a scam.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home on Broadway Feels the Love

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Fun Home at Circle in the Square Theatre - COURTESY OF JOAN MARCUS
  • Courtesy of Joan Marcus
  • Fun Home at Circle in the Square Theatre
If you've read Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, or seen the musical based on it, you might understand becoming obsessed with it. That's why I'm adding even more content to the article I wrote in State of the Arts this week, and to the Stuck in Vermont video created by Seven Days multimedia producer Eva Sollberger.

You can read that article here, and watch the video here.

And while you're at it, check out the cartoon that Alison Bechdel herself made for Seven Days in 2014, about seeing her life story as a musical. For more about Fun Home on Broadway and its critical reception, read on.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Neil Young Is Coming! Neil Young Is Coming!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Neil Young
  • Neil Young
Neil Young is coming to Vermont.

Just let that sink in. Roll it around on your tongue for a minute and then we'll continue … ready?

Neil freakin' Young is coming to Vermont!

This morning, Alex Crothers and the folks at Higher Ground Presents announced that the Godfather of Grunge will play the Champlain Valley Expo on Sunday, July 19. He'll be backed by Promise of the Real, an LA-based band that features vocalists/guitarists Lukas and Micah Nelson. Maybe you've heard of their dad, Willie? Opening the show is Norah Jones' band, Puss in Boots

According to Crothers, this is believed to be Young's first appearance in Vermont. So why now? 

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Seven Questions for Lady Lamb

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 1:08 PM

  • Courtesy of Sherman Lainez
  • Lady Lamb
As the story goes, Lady Lamb, aka Aly Spaltros — and formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper — got her start writing and recording music as a teenager working at a video store in her hometown of Brunswick, Maine. Spaltros holed up in the store basement after hours crafting idiosyncratic pop nuggets, often until the wee hours of the morning — and sometimes ditching school in the process.

Some eight years later, and now based in Brooklyn, Lady Lamb is coming into her own. Her new record, After, released on noted indie imprint Mom & Pop Records, is her most mature and fully formed work to date, combining rich  orchestration with moody, introspective songcraft. For example, the song "Milk Duds," which uses a smooshed box of the titular candies as a relationship metaphor. 

Touring in support of that album, Lady Lamb plays Signal Kitchen in Burlington on Monday, April 6. Seven Days recently caught up with her via email. 

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rick & the All-Star Ramblers Win National Award

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 1:56 PM

  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Rick Norcross
Local songwriter Rick Norcross was on the verge of becoming the Susan Lucci of western swing music awards. Last year, Norcross and his band, the All-Star Ramblers, were nominated for the  Best Western Swing Group/Duo award by the Academy of Western Artists. FYI, that's an organization whose stated mission is to, "recognize and honor outstanding individuals who, through their accomplishments, preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values and heritage of the American cowboy." Or in other words, Rick Norcross. (Fun fact about the AWA: The organization is based in Gene Autry, Okla. Yes, really.)

Norcross and Co. came away from last year's awards ceremony in Dallas empty handed. But this year, Norcross and Co. were nominated for six AWA awards. These included Best Western Swing Group/Duo, Best Western Swing Album (for Welcome to OUR Vermont), Best Western Swing Female Vocalist (Taryn Noelle) and three nominations for Best Western Swing Song. 

Well guess what? Last weekend, deep in the heart of Texas, Norcross scored a win in that last category for his tune "You Can"t Make It Up."

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Monday, March 23, 2015

In This Corner ... Swale!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Swale in a chilly moment - SHEM ROOSE
  • Shem Roose
  • Swale in a chilly moment
Vermont rock heroes Swale have come out swinging in their new video, which, through the magical power of the internets, you can watch below.

Shot at Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium during this year’s Golden Gloves tournament, the video, for the song “Beaten Down” from the band’s 2014 album The Next Instead, places the band members right inside the square circle. Though the video uses boxing to literalize the song’s central metaphor, the musicians leave the fighting to Golden Glovers Anna Gagnon and Hannah Rodrigue. A peaceful, if rockin’, bunch are these Swalers.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Tunes: "Casino" by Caroline Rose

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 3:11 PM

  • Courtesy of Caroline Rose
  • Caroline Rose
In an interview for a September 2014 Seven Days profile, local songwriter Caroline Rose told me, "I just wanna burn my acoustic guitar." She was being facetious — at I least I think she was. But her point was that she was starting to move away from the acoustic-oriented aesthetic of her first record, America Religious — and, to a lesser degree, that of her then-new album, I Will Not Be Afraid — toward a grittier (and electric) sound.

Recently, Rose sent 7D a glimpse of her new, punkabilly-tinged direction in the form of a video for "Casino," a song she recently tracked with her band at the Barn. The song is one of seven that will presumably make up an EP due out later this year. This version, however was not recorded at Phish's fabled Vermont studio. Rather, Rose and pedal steel player Brett Lanier laid it down while on tour from North Carolina. In a bathroom. Because Caroline Rose is awesome.

Check it out below. And catch Rose and band at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge in South Burlington this Saturday, February 21, with Waylon Speed.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Video Premiere: Madaila, "I Know"

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:02 AM

Mark Daly of Madaila - COURTESY OF MADAILA
  • Courtesy of Madaila
  • Mark Daly of Madaila
When we here in the music offices of Seven Days closed the book on 2014, we suggested that 2015 was off to a good start even before it began. The reason for that optimism was best embodied in the video for "Give Me All Your Love," by local R&B-tinged indie-pop band Madaila.

That song was a sneak peek at the ascendant group's forthcoming debut album, The Dance. With about a month-and-half to go before that record hits our eager ears, Mark Daly and Co. are teasing us yet again with another cut from the record, "I Know." It's an irresistibly catchy song that proves we were right: 2015 is already pretty rad.     

So, as promised in this week's edition of Soundbites, here is the debut of Madaila's new video, "I Know." 

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