Soundbites: The Bluegrass Gospel Project, Neil J. Molitoris & Jordan Bennett
The Bluegrass Gospel Project
Parting is such sweet sorrow. All good things must come to an end. If you love something, set it free. I’m out like a boner in sweatpants.
There are many ways to say goodbye — albeit some more poetic than others. But dress them up as we may, the message stays the same and dealing with loss is never easy.
Before The Fatal Flaws get all excited, no, I’m not leaving Seven Days. But what follows might be the biggest local break-up news since a certain spelling-challenged Vermont phoursome called it quits a few years back.
These things are always tough, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it: Singer-songwriter Patti Casey is leaving The Bluegrass Gospel Project. After six years as the instantly recognizable voice of one of Vermont’s finest collections of traditional musicians, Casey has decided it’s time to move on, citing the desire to spend more time with her family and devote energy to her own creative endeavors.
On her website she states, “It’s been a terrific 6 years with the BGP and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but it’s time to move ahead with my own music and explore some other territory. I’m putting together a band in which I can better showcase my own material — I’ve got loads of new stuff — while still singing lots of the classic Americana stuff I love. You know, the close harmonies and gorgeous instrumental stuff.”
We do know, Patti. And we can’t wait to hear it. A new album of original material is slated for a 2008 release.
Of course, there are always two sides to this type of story, and I’m happy to report that despite the impending departure of their remarkably talented front woman, BGP is soldiering on. They’re currently searching for a new female singer to take the reins after Casey sings her final notes at this year’s First Night celebration in Burlington. We certainly wish them — and whoever is charged with the enormous task of filling Casey’s shoes — the best of luck.
This Saturday, the countdown begins as BGP performs at the “Benefit for Betty” concert at Burlington’s College Street Congregational Church. For more info on the show and the benefit, see page 19B.
According to their MySpace page, Bristol’s Swing Noire plays “Hot Jazz in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.” As I spend roughly six hours a day perusing various MySpace profiles — for professional reasons, of course — I’ve come to grow a bit skeptical of online musical horn blowing. I mean, how many bands can really be “an original mix of funk, rock jazz, hip-hop and reggae”? The answer is one. They are called Fishbone, and they rock. But I digress.
Refreshingly, the acoustic jazz quartet’s self-description couldn’t be more on the money. The Reinhardt acolytes genuinely channel American Hot Jazz, evoking images of smoky basement speakeasies and slinky cabarets. Ex-Pine Island violinist David Gusakov, twins Rob and Jim McCuen — on lead guitar and double bass, respectively — and rhythm guitarist Jared Volpe craft some of the tightest Gypsy jazz and hot swing this side of, well, the Hot Club of France, I suppose. And lately they’ve been tearing up clubs around the state. This Saturday, the band makes a stop at Carol’s Hungry Mind in Middlebury.
The Seven Days music section is a hardly a bastion of wholesome family fun. If you want proof, go re-read the opening lines of this very column. Yikes! However, every now and again we like to educate as well as entertain. In that respect, we’re kind of like the Vermont Youth Orchestra. In only that respect.
This weekend, the VYO Association has a full slate of concerts to help ring in the holiday season with appropriate cheer and good will. Friday, conductor Jeffery Buettner will lead the VYOA choral ensembles — the treble Concert Chorale and the mixed-voice Chorus — in a program blending traditional, popular sacred and secular music with songs of the holiday season. I wonder if that includes “The 12 Pains of Christmas” by Bob Rivers? Maybe not. Anyway, the concert is actually the debut for both choruses and takes place at the Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael’s College.
Sunday at the Flynn Center, the VYOA unleashes “Orchestra-palooza,” a symphonic throw-down featuring all four VYO orchestras and a special performance by the VYO Chorus. Personally, I would have gone with “Orchestranaroo,” or “Gathering of the Vibraphones.” But what do I know?
The orchestras will be under the guidance of Buettner, the aforementioned David Gusakov — that dude gets around, right? — Anne Decker and VYO conductor Troy Peters.
On Second Thought
Do you remember Club Toast? Man, that place was awesome. Since the locally legendary rock club closed its doors nearly a decade ago, a number of bars and clubs have tried to fill the void. I wonder if the kids dancing to the latest 50 Cent single at Second Floor know that Sublime once played that room opening for a little-known ska band called Skankin’ Pickle? How many know The Misfits played there once — and how many of those folks would be wearing Misfits T-shirts from Urban Outfitters?
I haven’t set foot in the place since The Pants played the club’s final show on New Year’s Eve, 1998. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Memories and all. But that might be about to change.
This Saturday, the local cool kids from Tick Tick and Viva Radio — an eclectic-chic online radio station based in Brooklyn and somehow affiliated with clothing/pseudo-porn icons American Apparel — are presenting “Back On Track” at Club To . . . er, Second Floor, chosen for the venue’s unique “ambience.” The party features five of the station’s best — and strangest — DJs. From the soul, funk and r&b hat trick of dynamic DJ duo Neil J. Molitoris & Jordan Bennett to the anthemic ’80s jams of Tedward of Springbreak, the dance mashups will be spinning all night long. Get in free by sending an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve never really gotten over Club Toast closing. But Tick Tick has never steered me wrong before, and their new lineup of T-shirts, “Whoop, bears it is,” is pretty rad. Perhaps it’s time to bury the hatchet, face the specters of the past, and finally see what’s become of the fabled nightclub of my youth.
Or maybe I’ll just go to Esox.