Bruce Farr, Program Director for FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium), announced the first annual Black River Folks and Blues Fest in Ludlow’s Town Hall Auditorium is set for , featuring four of the best blues and folks musical groups ever to play the area.
Farr said the four groups would consist of Chris Kleeman Band, Gypsy Reel, The Break Maids, and Rusty Belle. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen this great a collection of talented folk and blues musicians on the same stage for the same performance in my memory”, Farr noted.
Tickets for this unique musical event may be purchased on-line at www.fola.us, in Ludlow at the Peoples United Bank, The Book Nook, and The Wine and Cheese Depot, and at the door. Tickets are $15 per person. For further information,www.fola.us or 802-228-7239.
Chris Kleeman Band
With its roots firmly planted in Chester, Vermont, Chris Kleeman Band’s musical work is much beloved throughout this, his adopted state, as well as the entire northeast. Chris and his band’s brand of blues are multi-spectral, rolling from stinging slide guitar to deft ragtime; from the southern styles of Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell, all the way up that big river to the Blues of Chicago, channeling such legendary masters as Muddy Waters and Elmore James. Throw in the Piedmont blues, characterized by performers the likes of Blind Boy Fuller and Brownie McGhee, and you have in Chris Kleeman Band a brilliant melding of influences with some fascinating musical results. With the constant hype of the music world, Chris Kleeman Band provides a unique opportunity to see and hear the real thing—a collection of artists of high energy and gritty musical performance, who've been matched up to perform in shows with musicians such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Chris Smither, Susan Tedeschi, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rory Block, John Hammond, Koko Taylor, George Thorogood, Johnny Winter, Leon Redbone and David Bromberg.
Hailing largely from Ludlow and Belmont, Vermont, Gypsy Reel has been perfecting its eclectic blend of international Celtic and original music for more than 25 years. The group plays high-energy, stirring music rooted in the Celtic tradition but garnered from around the world. The lineup features Graham Parker on fiddle and the occasional English song; Camille Parker on powerhouse mandolin, vocals and bodhran; Claudine Langille on tenor banjo, octave mandolin, guitar and smoky lead and harmony vocals; and Mark Harding on standup bass. Gypsy Reel has recorded eight albums and has toured in Canada, England, Ireland, Wales, Greece, Guatemala and Belize—hence the "gypsy" tag. Gypsy Reel never fails to entertain, with its fine repertoire of Celtic tunes and songs, Americana, and more recently, even a smattering of French-Canadian traditional songs.
The Break Maids
The Break Maids are an all-female band, writing and performing original “glam-stomp” music in Southern Vermont since 2011. Not afraid to get their dresses dirty, these Vermont Maids have a rugged yet feminine appeal, infusing their music with their own unique flavor. Combining a rock-n-roll sensibility with inspired harmonies, The Break Maids manage to walk the line between the eclectic and the familiar, maintaining a remarkably consistent sound despite spanning numerous genres such as bluegrass, country, pop, rock, punk and old-time. The Break Maids are Faith Wood (vocals, bass guitar, harmonica), Emily Burkland (vocals, rhythm guitar), and Ida Mae Specker (vocals, drums/ percussion, fiddle). The Break Maids have quickly gained a following in the southern Vermont and upper valley regions, based on their energetic live shows. They’ve been surprising their audiences, delivering a rotating roster of new songs at each show. With their playful nature, the Maids are able to create a stage presence that welcomes and entertains audiences of all ages.
Rusty Belle is a roots-oriented folk-rock trio originally based in Amherst, Mass., but more recently settled in southern Vermont. "They're a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll and a whole lotta weird,” noted reviewer Dan Bolle in the Vermont publication, Seven Days. He added, “Rusty Belle mashes genres like they were tasty little sonic potatoes." As they describe themselves, Rusty Belle “. . . was raised on the Beatles and The Band, went to high school with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, dated Miles Davis and Tom Waits in college, and keep a Lightnin’ Hopkins, Kinks or Mama Cass record within arm’s reach at all times.” Their sound, said the Vermont Musician, “ . . . is like a musical patchwork quilt made from scraps of old, sewn with a new thread.” Rusty Belle is made up of siblings Matt and Kate Lorenz, along with Zak Trojano. All three members split percussion, vocals and guitars to create a unique sound and a dynamic listening experience.