“And I don’t get anxious about my pancreas. To be honest, I’m not even sure what that thing does. I’m just so grateful that it’s in me.” Working at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) this line immediately stuck out. I was streaming Ryan Montbleau’s new record but was distracted making a cup of tea. Hearing my non-profit’s namesake as the kettle began to spit and shout, I realized I had to dive further into “Ankles,” or my work would never forgive me.
Chad Hollister, Ryan Montbleau, members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and more will take part in VT Sounds, A Bash to Bring Back Vermont Music, a streaming concert to keep music alive in Vermont. All proceeds will go to the New England Musicians Relief Fund (NEMRF), an organization that provides grants to working musicians facing financial difficulties. VT Sounds will be broadcast from ZenBarn on Friday, January 22 at 8:00 PM EST. Anyone can watch the show on the Facebook and Youtube pages of Zenbarn and the NEMRF.
It was great to learn that The Trey Anastasio Trio, as listed on the schedule, was actually playing as a quartet, given that Ray Paczkowski had just returned to his keyboard the night before, after recovering from a health issue. That may have been Trey’s first real interaction with the crowd, there before the encore, where he played two solo songs with his acoustic, including a lovely “Waste,” before bringing his bandmates back for a third together. I did love how he phrased it, the news about Ray being better, genuinely thrilled to share “some good news in what seems like a world of bad news.”
Ryan Montbleau’s latest album, I Was Just Leaving, is a stripped-down journey into the nature of loneliness. Directly off the heels of the astronomical success of his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which has clocked in over 15 million plays on Spotify as of the writing of this review, I Was Just Leaving operates in the same vein of profound simplicity. This solo offering marks a departure from some of Montbleau’s funkier work, providing listeners with a clear lens through which to experience his inspired songwriting.
Catskill Chill is a music festival held towards the end of the summer music festival season. Most people are burnt out, broke, or unable to take anymore time off to attend another music festival. If you had an excuse for why you couldn’t attend this year’s Catskill Chill at New Minglewood, you won’t be making those same excuses next year after learning about their extremely successful transition to a new campground.
There is a small unincorporated lil “town” called Hoxeyville in the northern Michigan mitten and once a year the population exponentially grows when they open the gates to one of my all time favorite fests. The drive north winds through quick moving clouds and green rolling fields that inspire but not quite as much as the dashing downbeat and the humbling hugs that abound at Hoxeyville.
The sensational and sustainable 11th annual Hoxeyville Music Festival will take place this weekend, August 15th-17th, 2014. This year’s Hoxeyville is a return to the humble reminder of the home team for free flowing verse and truth among the northern Michigan forest trees and Pine River. After 10 years on, the festival organizers took off a year to reflect and re-gather the fest’s mission and values. They have returned for 2014 with a refined mind and a refreshed line-up. Gra