On January 12th, Pete’s Greens of Craftsbury, Vermont suffered a devastating fire. They lost their barn, equipment, crops & more. The community has rallied by collecting donations and holding auctions. On Thursday, Love Tomorrow Today and Select Design put on a benefit concert at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont to help Pete’s Greens rebuild. The show featured Page McConnell and Jon Fishman of Phish, Clint Bierman and Peter Day of the Grift, Dave Grippo, Russ Lawton, Ray Paczkowski, Rich Price, Jer Coons, Will Evans, Matt Hagen, Mike Clifford, Joshua Panda, Brian McCarthy and more. The concert raised $26,000, all of which will go directly to Pete’s Greens.
The all-star cast of musicians played for about two hours, interrupted briefly by Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, who spoke about local food & renewable energy. I was impressed that he hung around for the rest of the show. As I was working through the crowd, I nearly bumped into him dancing up a storm in the middle of the room!
And for a quick reminder about why we were all there. (Yes, that’s a carrot in his hand.)
While the fire is a real tragedy, I’m impressed at how it has galvanized our community and sparked a lot of great conversations about CSA’s, local & organic food, and what it means to live in Vermont. I can’t imagine living anyplace else.
After Jesse Ruben finished his set, the lights went down, the stage was prepped, and quietly, the band took their places. Sans Jer, they started into a driving rendition of the 2001 theme music and Jer took the stage wearing a space suit.
And cowboy boots.
As he jumped into “Speak”
the crowd stared on in awe.
Clint Bierman hung out in the shadows, par for the course.
Peter Day brought out the upright bass.
Jamie Bright killed it on the keys.
and Jeff Vallone largely avoided my lens for the night. (Sorry Jeff!)
Normally, when The Sweet Remains comes to town they’re booked in the Flynnspace or Higher Ground. For Jazz Fest, they came to American Flatbread to play an outdoor show in the back alley. I had never seen music there, and didn’t know what to expect. The wait for a table was over an hour, but they had set up seating and standing areas near the stage so you could drink a beer and enjoy the music. It was a little chaotic as people jockeyed for position and figured out the pattern, but eventually it settled down as the sound check completed and the music started in earnest. The alley way was jammed from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.
When we finally got a table, we enjoyed watching people walk by the alley, slow down a little, and many stop for a minute to listen to the music as the melodies and harmonies tickled their ears.
Jer Coons played to a nearly sold out Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, in Burlington, VT, with Taylor Carson opening up the show.. We’re lucky to have a lot of big acts come through the area (Jakob Dylan played with Neko Case just this weekend) but I tend to prefer the local musicians, or at least the ones with local connections. Jer’s about as local as they get growing up in Middlebury. Below is a slideshow with a few of my favorites from the evening. The full gallery is available if you’d like to see more or buy a print.