I love living in Montpelier, and one of the best features of our country’s smallest state capital is Hubbard Park. The park celebrated it’s 120th birthday last weekend with the first of four events that the parks department hosts for the summer. The events are being dubbed Parkapalooza!, and feature camping, food, kids activities and live music. Last weekend featured Myra Flynn and the Starline Rhythm Boys. Unfortunately I did not have info at hand last week, and didn’t spot a poster until after press time, but now I have the information on the next one, which will feature hot Burlington Afro-Latin act Mal Maiz on July 20. I’ll fill in more details on that when the date is imminent. Kudos to the city for using the park this way. I think the events could become quite popular if people know about them.
And speaking of knowing about things, there’s an artist new to the area who’ll be making their debut at Charlie O’s tonight, but the dude is already quite an accomplished musician. He’ll be joined by another local notable accompanying him on the drums, Andy Suits. Harold “Fro” Davis’ career started in the NYC avant funk/jazz scenes, and over the years he’s played with a plethora of notables in the fusion realm. “...Davis’ melodically appealing compositions are at once loose and deceptively complex, reminiscent of such fusion heavyweights as Mike Stern and Scott Henderson. ....Chock-full of grooving, burning jazz-rock fusion, forged of equal parts jazz sophistication and bristling rock energy, with hints of funk and Latin rhythmic undertones here and there. .....If you’ve been looking for some new fusion, look no further than Fro! This is a man — and a hairstyle — to watch.” -( Jeff G — Prognosis). This should be a burner in the back of the barroom starting at 8 p.m. On Friday evening, O’s switches gears for the early slot when they host Texas alt-country act The Flycatchers in the 6 p.m. slot. Later on, The Fellership brings their rockin’ sound to the land beyond the pool tables starting at 9:30 p.m. On Saturday night, local power-blues trio Lake Superior bring their rust-belt inspired sound to our local dive for nice people. LS is one of those bands that seems to impress more every time you see them, which is indicative of how dedicated they are to their craft. They’ll be joined for the double-bill by the horn driven rock of Dead Fret. The fun starts at 9:30 p.m., and as always at O’s, “never a cover.”
That’s a great lineup at Charlie O’s this weekend, but that’s not the only place in the capital that has some notable acts this weekend. On Saturday night, ultra-entertaining acoustic act Carter Glass returns to Sweet Melissa’s on the corner of Elm and Langdon streets. The foursome feature mandolin and a drummer as well as harmony singing, and they have a knack for adding funky-folk and bluegrass sounds to their interpretations of popular tunes you would not expect. This is one of my local favorite acts to see, so I highly recommend checking them out starting at 9:30 p.m. Guaranteed fun. Solo act Lillith plays the early slot at 6 p.m. On Friday night, ‘Mel’s hosts an event entitled ‘Prudie’s Burly Birthday”, and I’m not quite sure how to classify that one, but it starts at 9 p.m. Tonight you can catch Dave Langevin on piano in the early slot at 6 p.m., followed by acoustic artist Julia Kate Davis in the 8 p.m. slot.
A lot of the older folks around town love live music, but with some exceptions, a lot of it just happens too late for them to be out to experience. The Skinny Pancake has a remedy for that on Sunday afternoons when, weather permitting, they present music on their prominent city-center patio. This Sunday, Danny Coane continues his bluegrass residency, this week being joined by Willy Linder on Mandolin and Matt Flinner on banjo. The outdoor hootenanny starts at 11 a.m. and runs through the early afternoon. Is that early enough for ya’?
Getting out of the capital over to Waterbury Center and the Guptil Road hotspot known as ZenBarn continues to crank out an impressive lineup on a weekly basis. That trend continues on Friday night when the Zen hosts Philly based conscious hip-hop act Kuf Knotz and his band with special guest Real Dave. Kuf Knotz can really flow, and the instrumentation, which includes a harp, is certainly notable. This one seems like a real bargain for only $5 at the door starting at 9 p.m.
Back over in Calais, The Whammy Bar at the Maple Corner Store hosts their usual open mic tonight at 7 p.m. On Friday night, it’s a TBA date on the Whammy’s calendar, so you’ll just have to show up at 7:30 p.m. to see what’s in store (pun intended). On Saturday night, you can catch The Larkspurs, who feature the stellar vocal work of local gal Liz Beatty. That one also starts at 7:30 p.m. All shows at the ‘Whammy are by donation.
Finally, if you are looking for some classic jazz featuring many well-known standards in the repertoire, look no further than the Adamant Community Club, just outside Montpelier at 1161 Martin Road. On Saturday night, vocalist Allison Mann will be joined by Ira Friedman on piano, Anthony Santor on bass, and Steve Wienert on drums. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. for $15 at the door, with kids under 12 being free.
That wraps up this week. Get outside, be informed, and go see live music.