Posted March 1st, 2007
Since moving to the Green Mountain State, I’ve been drawn to music that grows here like fresh produce—music that has its origins in Vermont, and is connected to the life and sport of the state.
Johnny Come Lately
My music preferences are affected most by my physical activity and my locale. When I lived in Western Colorado, I played in a bluegrass band and subsequently pressed “play” for a lot of tunes with the booming root-fifth baseline that marks that music. On summer drives to bike races last year, I listened to a rhythmic mix of electronica and hip hop that put me in the right frame of mind for repetitive turning of the cranks. Since moving to the Green Mountain State, I’ve been drawn to music that grows here like fresh produce—music that has its origins in Vermont, and is connected to the life and sport of Vermont. I’m writing this column on a decidedly chilly February Monday morning. No doubt when this comes into your hands it will be 50 degrees and raining, but this list will cover that, too. Below is music to match up with events in your day and keep you moving. Happy listening.
En Route from Bed to Coffee—Grace Potter
Sure, everybody in Vermont knows Grace Potter. Everybody has seen her for five bucks at some wooden-floored building in Bennington-Burlington-Barre-Bridport-Bristol-Bethel-Bolton or Burke. I haven’t. I just found out about Grace Potter ten minutes ago and I like her. I think Vermont needs her. Potter is young and vibrant but with New England sensibility. “Travelin’ don’t change a thing, it only makes it worse, unless the trip you take is in the changing for the course.” Put on Ragged Company and while the caffeine percolates through your fingertips, soak up a little pipe organ harmony.
Getting the Skis in the Car—Dan Timinsky
Before he was Allison Krause’ right-hand man in her best-selling band Union Station, before he won a Grammy for his resurrection of the traditional tune “Man of Constant Sorrow,” for the movie O Brother Where Art Thou!, Dan Timinsky grew up in Rutland. On the most recent Krause effort, Lonely Runs Both Ways, Timinsky takes the lead on “Rain Go Away”—an up-tempo Vermont skier’s war cry.
Putting Skis to Snow—Chad Urmston and his band, State Radio
Chad Urmston is well known for his efforts as the front man for Dispatch, a band that formed at Middlebury College. His sharp left-leaning message and driving rock on State Radio’s Flag of the Shiners, make it a fine soundtrack for carving up Birch Run or motivating on the tracks at Trapps. Skip the first track “Mountain” and play “State Inspector” through “The Legacy of Margaret Brown.” Pause for hot chocolate.
The Drive Home—Phish
Perhaps the most important part of a solid day of skiing is living it all over again: “Can you believe that first run?” and “Whoa that was perfect grooming.” Etc. Etc. Although Phish is broken up, gone, finito, that doesn’t mean the 30-minute version of “Tweezer” isn’t a great backdrop for a drive home filled with you-should-have-seens.
Beer with Dinner—The GB3
I know a guy who occasionally has to sell New York produce at his local orchard. When faced with the oppressive loyalty of the Vermont purchaser, he explains calmly that the apples-syrup-vegetables or what-have-you are from “just west of Shoreham.” The George Bailey Trio hails from that neck of the woods: Saranac Lake, NY. George Bailey is a schoolteacher with a talented picking hand; his son Lowell (a UVM grad) picks the mandolin. Put on the album Gravity Dance and you’ll hear folks connected to skiing. (Lowell races in World Cups on the U.S. Biathlon team.) You’ll also hear some smooth music to finish your day with. “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” and “Movin’ on Down the Line” are especially good.
That’s what I’ve got. Download, buy, beg or borrow it. Sports beg for a soundtrack, even if it is only for you.