Vermont Arts Exchange Announces New Season for Basement Music Series
The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) has announced this season’s schedule for its 14th year of presenting high quality live music in its Basement Music Series, offering national touring artists as well as local talent. The Series has been hosted over the past four winters at its new home in the Masonic Hall at 504 Main Street in Bennington. This year VAE welcomes the addition of brand new speakers to enhance the sound with the clarity and precision that each artist deserves. Kicking off the season on Saturday, January 13, will be the Alchemystics, who fuse reggae and hip- hop to form a beat-laden mold of world conscious groove music. They have shared the stage with reggae luminaries such as Stephen Marley, Sister Carol and Burning Spear. On Saturday, January 27, Eastbound Jesus from Greenwich, N.Y., will perform, drawing on a mix of diverse influences from the worlds of bluegrass, country and rock and roll. The band has developed their own sound that is at the same time distinctly familiar and completely original, one that they have dubbed ‘Northern Rock.’ VAE’s annual Valentine’s weekend of burlesque returns to Oldcastle Theatre on Friday and Saturday, February 9 and 10, with Gypsy Layne Cabaret and Company. A hallmark of bawdy humor, live singing, dynamic dance routines and cheeky sex appeal are prominently featured in their sizzling shows. Bigger, bolder, and better than ever, this tantalizing crew of saucy ladies and strapping gents will offer their outrageous artistry and vivacious charms to mature audiences. On Saturday, February 17, Zydegroove hits the stage to deliver the most irresistible dance grooves possible with their signature country zydeco sound and unchained performance style. As a special treat from the West coast, VAE welcomes Aubrey Logan on Saturday, March 3. Her style as an entertainer ranges from sassy to sultry, and her performances never fail to elicit the highest critical praise. She takes a song you’ve heard a thousand times and spins it on its heels. And whether she’s jamming’ on her trombone or sailing through a song with her nothing-held-back, multi-octave vocal instrument, Logan is jazz, yes, but can’t be defined by jazz alone. Next up on Saturday, March 17, is an evening with Sean Rowe, who boasts a bouncer’s build, a biker’s hair and a voice lower than Johnny Cash with a head cold. He’s a baritone – a rarity outside of country music – and can sound sinister or sexy, sage-like or sweet. Session Americana will warm up the Hall on Saturday, March 31. Hailing from Boston, they are a rock band in a teacup, or possibly a folk band in a whiskey bottle, crafting a musical experience unlike any other. On stage is a collapsible bar table wired with microphones, a vintage suitcase recast as a kick drum, an old Estey field organ, a pre-war parlor guitar, a mandocello and all of its smaller siblings, a harmonica case fire damaged when Jack’s Bar went up in flames and graffitied by Depeche Mode roadies, and an assortment of other instruments that get passed around in their free-wheeling modern hootenanny. Some of the best local talent gathers on stage Saturday, April 14, as the NEKtones take the stage delivering a full force sound laying down funky soul and R and B. This quintet has a musical palette defined by the landscape of the North East Kingdom of Vermont. Wrapping up the season on Saturday, April 28, will be The Mammals with Mike + Ruthy. Founded in 2001 by Pete Seeger’s grandson, Tao, second generation fiddler/singer, Ruth Ungar, and banjo/guitar songsmith, Mike Merenda, The Mammals reemerged in 2017 fronted by Mike + Ruthy along with drums, bass and pedal steel. Known for their jubilant, high-energy shows, The Mammals deftly move from older-than-dirt banjo duets to sound-the- alarm topical fare that’s right in line with the times, bouncing from roof raising hoe-down!
Tickets for this Basement Music Series concerts are available through vtartxchange.org or by calling 800-838-3006. Libations and snacks will be available for purchase. Become a Basement Music Series Sponsor and get tickets, a reserved table and, if you wish, your name or business logos in promotional material and mentioned on stage. The tax-deductible sponsorships are critical to continuing the Basement Music Series, and ensuring the diversity and quality of the artists VAE presents. The BMS not only benefits the community, but also local restaurants, artists and musicians. Contact Director Matthew Perry at 802-442- 5549 or [email protected] for more information.