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Get Me Out Of FLA 

Soundbites: Get Me Out Of FLA

Like I needed another reason to not go to Florida.

Last week, I received an interesting email from local accordionist extraordinaire David Symons. For the unfamiliar, Symons was once part of late, great, local Balkan badasses Black Sea Quartet. Among other pursuits — such as protesting the Gaza blockade in Palestine in person — he currently helms local klezhobo outfit Inner Fire District.

[Big Honkin’ Disclaimer: My little brother, Tyler Bolles, is IFD’s bassist.]

Recently, IFD were featured on a compilation called Klezmer Musicians Against the Wall, a protest of the aforementioned blockade between Israel and Palestine. The comp features 14 klezmer acts from around the world joining together in musical solidarity to address one of the day’s most unfortunate and divisive global political issues. Hunky-dory, right? But as it turns out, not everyone sees the project as so innocuous. Like, for example, people who support Israel.

According to Symons’ missive, “Shalom South Florida,” the state’s most widely listened-to Jewish radio show, has refused to play the comp. That’s not particularly shocking or upsetting; generally speaking, Jewish communities tend to side with Israel on this particular issue. But what is surprising, and at least a little unsettling, is that the show has gone a step further and blacklisted all of the artists — some of the finest, more innovative klezmer musicians working today — from ever appearing on the show, which reaches the third-largest Jewish community in the country. That’s kind of a big deal for a klezmer band.

So, if I could chat with “Shalom South Florida” alone for just a sec here. Ahem.

Look, I get that you don’t like KMAW’s politics. That’s totally fine. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not educated enough on the Gaza conflict to pick a side either way. It seems to me that when that many people are dying, chances are good there’s probably plenty of fault on both sides. But that’s not really the point.

The point is that just because we disagree doesn’t mean we can’t be civil and extend to one another certain common decencies. I mean, look at us. I think you’re making a big mistake banishing talented young artists from your airwaves over their political views. But we’re still having a conversation. I’m willing to listen to your side. By ignoring these people and, worse, their music, you take that option off the table, for yourself and for your listeners.

And with that, I will now step off my soapbox.


  • If you’re going to Rutland’s Paramount Theatre on Wednesday, July 28, you are probably going to see Brandi Carlile. Why not? She’s the headliner and she’s a great performer. But do me a favor, OK? Show up early to catch opening band Good Old War. They’re from Philly. But a couple of the members hail from Burlington, including guitarist Dan Schwartz, formerly of the Dakota — and, full disclosure, with whom I once worked at Magic Hat. And they’re friggin’ good. Like, imagine-if-the-Format-got-back-together-and-wrote-blissful-acoustic-pop-anthems-with-swooning-three-and-four-part-harmonies good. You’ll thank me, I promise.
  • Word on the street is that there’s considerable buzz building around VT songwriter Bow Thayer and his latest collaboration with Kristina Stykos and Patrick Ross, Shooting Arrows at the Moon. Gotta say, it’s about damned time. Once upon a time, I used to watch Thayer tear up a little Irish bar in Somerville called the Burren with his old band the Benders. That was almost 10 years ago … sigh. Anyway, catch Thayer and co. while you can, this Friday at Montpelier’s Black Door Bar and Bistro.
  • Speaking of veteran songwriters long overdue for wider recognition, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you only have two chances left to catch Montpelier’s Kris Gruen at the Burlington Skinny Pancake’s Sunset Series, Wednesdays in July. No word yet on who the café’s lining up for August, but with Gruen — following Josh Panda in June — the bar is high.
  • OK, can we do something about the growing preponderance of funk bands with the word “funk” actually in the title? It’s getting way out of hand — and this coming from a guy who once played in a band called Ska-Ka-Doodle-Doo. This Friday alone, area clubs feature the following bands: Funk Forest (Two Brothers Tavern), Sophistafunk (Red Square) and Eat Sleep Funk (Monopole). Had Funkwagon or Funk Taco happened to book gigs, we could be staring at possibly the funkiest Friday ever.
  • Band Name of the Week: Zack Orion of Casa de Chihuahua. He’ll be at Radio Bean this Friday.
  • Also Friday at the Bean, stellar Brooklyn folk outfit Spirit Family Reunion. Their song “Take Me Back, Sweet Anna Lee” is just about the, well, sweetest thing I’ve heard all week.
  • Last but not least, a fond farewell to DJ Tricky Pat (aka Patrick Spiegel), who is hanging up his headphones after 17 years manning the wheels of steel, citing the need to spend more time with his family. Tricky Pat spins one last show this Thursday — also his birthday — at 1/2 Lounge, with guest appearances from Brandon Miles, Rekkon, Grawlix and Re:Flekt. Happy trails/birthday, Pat!
  • Listening In

    I’m often asked what I listen to “personally,” since I spend so much time listening to music “professionally,” or at least from a critical viewpoint. It’s a fair question — and a fun one. I don’t always get to write about the music I listen to recreationally, since I’m (relatively) bound by the restraints set by 7D’s stated bailiwick as “Vermont’s Independent Voice.” (Point of order: That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to local music recreationally, jackals. But man cannot live on Lendway alone.)

    Recently, a number of readers have suggested I include a small snippet at the end of each column listing some of the bands I dug into during that week, presumably so they could gain insight into the inspiration for my brilliant prose. Or, more likely, just because they’re looking for some new music suggestions. Either way, I thought it was a cool idea. So we’re gonna give it ago for a few weeks and see if it sticks.

    But first, a few ground rules: 1. These are presented with personal biases fully intact. 2. They are not necessarily new or timely bands or albums, rather just what I happened to listen to, and like, in a given week. 3. I’m not going to include any critical insight or description. If you’re interested in hearing something, you do the legwork — by which I mean, Google them yourdamnself. 4. The lead-in for this will be waaaay shorter next week.

    And with that, here’s a sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc. this week.

  • Jeremy Messersmith, The Reluctant Graveyard
  • Wavves, King of the Beach
  • Mitch Hedberg, Mitch All Together
  • Mayer Hawthorne, A Strange Arrangement
  • The Morning Benders, Grain of Salt EP
  • The Zombies, The Original Studio Recordings
  • James Carr, You Got My Mind Messed Up m
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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles is the Seven Days music editor. His column "Soundbites" appears weekly.


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