Arts Beat for July 13: Bourbon Renewal brings blues, jazz to Brandon

The members of Bourbon Renewal are no strangers to Brandon Music, as regular visitors will know them as members of the John Funkhouser Quartet, but this concert marks Britt Connors’ debut performance at the Brandon venue. Hear their blend of blues, folk and country with jazz voicings and pop sensibilities live on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Connors’ latest album, “Warmer Season,” features her original tunes that are alternately rockin,’ country, sweet, rootsy, New-Orleans-street-parade-style or just plain fun. With its clapping, foot-stomping and even some whistling, the record could be said to belong in its own category of “y’all-ternative” music.
Bourbon Renewal is a tight ensemble well steeped in a wide range of American music. Members are some of Boston’s most in-demand musicians: John Funkhouser on keys, Greg Loughman on bass, Andrew Stern on lead guitars and Mike Connors on percussion.
Britt Connors was born and raised singing in small-town West Boylston, Mass., before taking her studies to Ithaca College in New York. She did a four-year stint as the featured vocalist for the 20-piece Compaq Big Band (swing, jazz, and American Songbook), singing to audiences at Scullers, Ryles and Regattabar while building a loyal following and honing her songwriting craft. Her first original tunes appear on her 2010 release “The Bad Side of Good.”
Tickets are $20. A pre-concert dinner is also available for $20. Reservations are recommended for the show and required for dinner. Venue is BYOB. Call 247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. the Salisbury Congregational Church will host something of a Vermont farewell performance by Metropolitan Opera alumna Meredith Parsons McComb.
The accomplished mezzo-soprano has been known to regional audiences since her undergraduate days at Middlebury College and as a founding artist of the Opera Company of Middlebury, where she sang the role of Carmen. Before her departure for a new home in Michigan, where she has taught on the faculty of the National Music Camp at Interlochen, she will present a program titled “A Brief History of Meredith.” The program will include music by Schubert, Mahler, Strauss, Musto, Mitchell, Finzi, Barber and others, interlaced with anecdotes about a performing career that has spanned from the Met and the Boston and San Francisco Symphonies to France, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel.
This will be the third event in Salisbury’s 36th annual Summer Performance Series, which will continue on Friday evenings through Aug. 7 at the historic, but handicap-accessible, church in Salisbury Village. Although the church tower will be scaffolded for repairs during this season, the sanctuary will still be readily entered through the front doors and the on-grade rear entrance.
Although admission is free, a donation in support of the series will be appreciated.
There will be five live musical performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern located at 86 Main St. in Middlebury.
Join Two Brothers every Wednesday, at 9 p.m., for the Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy or anything else, alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley. Come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter, and there is no cover charge.
At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Two Brothers presents its monthly Third Thursday Comedy Series hosted by Middlebury comedy legend Ryan Kenyon. Anything goes on this wondrous night, so bring your friends and prepare for some laughs. There is no cover.
At 6 p.m. on Friday, Two Brothers presents Totally Submerged, a rock trio from Chester who play a mix of covers ranging from The Doors to Cake to Tom Petty. There is no cover.
Then, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Main Street Syndicate hits the stage. They hail from Warren, and are making the trek over the mountain to offer their own brand of rock psychedelia and original compositions. There is a $3 cover.
Finally, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Duke Aeroplane & The Wrong Numbers take to the Tavern’s stage. They play music for baptisms, sideshows, card games, funerals, bank robberies, structure fires and train rides. For more information, call 388-0002.
Combine live music in a variety of rootsy, danceable styles with first-rate barbecue and a scenic, Champlain Valley venue and you’ve got a can’t-miss date with Deb Brisson and the Hay Burners at Tourterelle in New Haven on Friday, starting at 7 p.m.
The Hay Burners are an Addison County band of veteran performers whose first CD of all-original songs, “Heart-Shaped Stone,” was released last year. They’re led by Deb Brisson, a well-known Vermont vocalist whose singing has been compared to Sheryl Crow and Lucinda Williams, but whose powerful, expressive style is all her own. The band’s music is often called Americana — sometimes soulful and bluesy, other times rocking alt country.
“We’ve got some new songs to showcase — and the open-sided barn at Tourterelle is just a beautiful place to have dinner and enjoy live music,” Brisson says. “Along with our own material, we’ll play songs by some of our favorite artists — Imelda May, the Alabama Shakes, Joan Osbourne and others. It’ll be a really fun evening!”
The event is open to all ages, with a cover charge of $5 for adults and kids under 12 admitted free. To learn more, call Tourterelle at 453-6309. Tourterelle is located at 3629 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7, south of New Haven Junction).
There will be three live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the 51 Main Blues Jam continues. Dennis Willmott from Left Eye Jump will provide lead guitar, bass and drums and these guys will back you up or take a break and let you play. All musicians and blues fans are welcome. Everyone will get a chance to play.
Then, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Rick Redington and Becca Kodis take to the stage. Redington and Kodis have been musical cohorts for many years. Every once in a blue moon they get together and let the sparks fly.
Finally, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, the Paul Asbell Jazz Group will perform. This quartet’s blend of bluesy swing, New Orleans grooves, lush melodies and fiery Latin tempos are a genuine Vermont standout.
All ages, no cover. For additional information visit www.go51main.com or phone 388-8209.
The Middlebury College Summer Carillon Series continues its 30th year of concerts with two performances this week. The first at 5 p.m. on Wednesday will be a Summer Language Schools Centennial Celebration Kickoff on Wednesday in Mead Chapel by George Matthew Jr. The second performance will be at 5 p.m. on Friday by John Widmann, municipal carillonneur, Frederick, Md., also in Mead Chapel.
Enjoy the sounds of the carillon bells from the chapel steps or, weather permitting, on the surrounding lawns. The free series continues every Friday through August with a different performer. This year’s 30th anniversary season is included in the Vermont Arts Council’s 2015 Year of the Arts “Anniversary Club.”
Mead Memorial Chapel is located on the campus of Middlebury College at 75 Hepburn Road. Free parking is available on Route 125 (College Street), and on Old Chapel Road. For further information, call 443-3168 or visit middlebury.edu/arts.
Renowned blues guitarist, singer and ukulele maven Del Rey will be doing a house concert and ukulele workshop at 883 Monkton Road in Bristol on Saturday. The workshop starts at 5 p.m. followed by a potluck at 6:30 and concert at 7:30 p.m.
Acoustic Guitar magazine says “Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” She is equally adept at the ukulele and is a highly entertaining performer.
Prices are $15 for the workshop, $20 for the concert and $30 for both. For information and reservations call 453-4613.

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