Ler Stevens

Rocket Shop 11/12/2014: Bob Peace; Ler Stevens

Photo by Joey Lord.

Bob Peace joined host Edward Burke by phone from southern Vermont, and Ler Stevens joined us with Crusty Cuts (see photo) in the Radiator studio tonight to celebrate the release of the new mixtape ‘Green Hour’ at the Wild Life Shop, 161 Main Street in Burlington this Saturday, November 15, 7-10pm. Also performing at the release party, Al Matic & Notation.

Lowell Thompson

The Lowell Thompson Interview

Words by Jess Slayton.

After meeting up and having coffee last Wednesday night at Muddy Waters, Lowell Thompson struck me as the most genuine sort of musician out there—he was simultaneously serious about making it as an artist while also still so clearly enraptured in staying true to his music and as he so bluntly put it, “doing it his way.” He was born and raised in Vermont, and although his music has brought him all over the world, he always comes back to Burlington. Thompson most recently returned to Burlington after living in Austin, Texas for a few years, but has also spent time out west, touring in Germany and in Holland. After watching him stare past me as if visualizing the memories and go off on tangents about these places, it was clear how much of a role his travels have played in both his personal and professional life. He also just got back from a short tour with Kelly Ravin, a friend both on and off the stage. They travelled to Portsmouth, Boston, and New York City, and I learned that outside of Burlington, Thompson’s biggest following is likely in New York City. He is planning a potential album release tour in February, and hopes to continue collaborating with other bands in the meantime.

When speaking about the culture of Austin versus Burlington, Thompson commented that he found it more difficult to get his name out in Austin but that the general musical vibe was more his style. However, having grown up in the scene here in Burlington was invaluable for his musical evolution due to the homegrown nature of Burlington music. What I found extraordinarily powerful was that it was essentially friends’ older brothers that helped him gain exposure and experience here—that’s how tight this artistic community is. He just released a new album, “Stranger’s Advice,” and already has two new albums in the making. Regarding his new album, he said that he finds the tracks to be more pop rock than his more traditional Americana style. This just happened as a subset of his changing life and new experiences, not due to anything intentional. When asked about where he takes his inspiration from, he said, “For me, inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. I feel like it chooses me.” One of the tracks, “Rose Petals,” was made into the video by Pennington Productions, run by Thompson’s friend Myles Jewell. The style is unique to say the least, as it was born out of fabulously bizarre ideas that came from many different people. It’s done in the stop motion style and was compiled by Jewell—according to Thompson, they had a ton of fun with the making of it. Thompson is currently working on another video, for “Bradley Street,” another track off of his new album. Stay tuned for more awesome work from Lowell Thompson—with his inspired creative energy and dynamic music, he is definitely a local artist to keep an eye on.

The Cush

Rocket Shop 11/5/2014: The Snaz; The Cush

Words by Jess Slayton. Photos by Joey Lord.

The Snaz joined hosts Jim and Jess by phone from Brattleboro, VT tonight, then Gabrielle and Burette Douglass of The Cush visited the studio to play songs from the unreleased new CD, ‘Transcendental Heat Wave.’

Mavis, Dharma, Nina, and Zack from The Snaz joined Jess and Jim in the Radiator Studio for Big Heavy World’s ‘Rocket Shop’ local music radio hour this Wednesday night! We spoke with them via phone because the quartet hails all the way from Brattleboro, VT. The self-labelled “rock-ish” band is especially impressive due to the fact that it consists of three sixteen year olds and one fourteen year old—I think about what I was doing at that age, and it was nowhere near as cool! However, the vocals from the first track we played, “Anna,” said otherwise. Dharma’s voice sounded far more mature than that of your average teen, but that was just one of the many extraordinary facets of this talented young group. They’ve performed mainly in Southern Vermont and Northern Massachusetts, and are working to find their place in the local musical scene. In order to do so, they’ve communicated with many venues and organizations, and have in return forged a relationship with many of these.  It was truly inspiring to hear how excited the four seemed as they reflected on how amazing it was to now have people coming to them for performances, rather than always having to ask others to play. They even scored a spot at the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA, which allowed them to play at the same event as huge names in the music world, such as Norah Jones. Check them out this Saturday at the Radio Bean, or online at www.reverbnation.com/thesnaz!

The Cush

Gabrielle & Burette Douglas: The Cush.

Burette and Gabrielle Douglas from The Cush (photo at top) joined Jess and Jim in the Radiator Studio for Big Heavy World’s ‘Rocket Shop’ local music radio hour this Wednesday night! The husband and wife duo are originally from Austin, TX, but moved up to Burlington for a change of pace. Although they are now living back in Austin, they still come back up to Burlington to perform. They consider both places a home, and have taken much of their inspiration from one of the two vastly different environments. The two have been playing together for 22 years, and work under a few different record labels, one of which is based in Sweden. The band believes in remaining true to a grassroots form of art; this connection occurred after playing with a British band at Union Hall in New York City. The road manager approached The Cush and proposed that they play at a British Festival, which allowed for the opportunity to connect with the Swedish record label. We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of their new album, “Transcendental Heat Wave” which comes out in January. They are releasing it on both vinyl and CD format because they find that much of their fan base prefers to buy vinyl over CDs. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to see them live while they are up here this Friday at Arts Riot, or check them out online at www.thecush.com!

“Droids” by The Cush



Zero Circle

Rocket Shop 10/31/2014: Zero Circle

Words by Jess Slayton. Photo by James Lockridge.

Rafe, Tyler, Matt, and TJ from Zero Circle joined Jess in the Radiator Studio for Big Heavy World’s ‘Rocket Shop’ local music radio hour this Wednesday night! They came bearing their yet-to-be-released self-titled EP, complete with five awesome songs. We were even lucky enough to get to hear a brand new song from them, live in the studio! I would never have guessed that it was a new song, either—the way that Tyler and Matt played together while Rafe and TJ were so clearly tuned in really demonstrated just how close these guys are. All four members of Zero Circle have lived in the area and known each other for their entire lives. They’ve all played music forever, but didn’t start this current project until just a year ago. Upon learning this, my first question was WHY? How did it take so long for four friends, all talented musicians, to get together to form Zero Circle? Lucky for us, they explained—they all had individual projects, but found these projects dying down all at the same time… and thus, Zero Circle was born! From the looks of it, it’s about time too. The energy between the four as they joked around and played off one another was infectious. Check them out live this Thursday at the Monkey House or this Saturday in Rutland, or online at www.facebook.com/zerocircle.

Jeremy Gilchrist

Rocket Shop 10/29/2014: Jeremy Gilchrist

Words by Jess Slayton. Photo by James Lockridge.

Jeremy Gilchrist joined Jim, Rockin’ Rob and Jess in the Radiator Studio for Big Heavy World’s ‘Rocket Shop’ local music radio hour this Wednesday night!  He’s new to the local scene, having lived in the area for only a year after growing up on Long Island and spending some time in North Carolina.  First take on the scene in Burlington?  He loves how receptive and supportive it is but definitely feels the challenge of having only a few venues to play at and many artists looking to play.  Although he plays guitar and considers himself a folk/acoustic act, he would actually first and foremost refer to himself as a lyricist, and from hearing and watching him speak passionately about his music I absolutely agree.  His songs appear to be an extension of himself, effortlessly jiving with his interpretations of his surroundings.   He takes inspiration from everywhere—for example, the seemingly month-long rains that VT gets in the spring coupled with the homeless people on Church Street provided the inspiration for Thunder from Mansfield to the Lake.  On top of all of this, Jeremy is a meteorologist and an actual storm chaser.  He’s having an album release party this Saturday at 7:00 at the Radio Bean, and you can also find him at www.reverbnation.com/jeremygilchrist.

Great Western

Rocket Shop 10/22/2014: Great Western; Silent Mind

Photos by Joey Lord.

Great Western and Silent Mind joined Bolton in the studio for Rocket Shop tonight!

Great Western

Great Western in the Radiator studio with Bolton.

Silent Mind

Silent Mind (Jamie Bright) at Big Heavy World.

Silent Mind


Arts by Brian Capes1 Clark for Arts Riot.

Community Arts Leaders Launch Effort to Expand City Support for Arts

Art by capes1. Photo by James Lockridge.

A group of artists and community arts leaders have organized to improve how the City of Burlington supports the arts. They’re asking that Burlington’s public arts funding be used to create resources that are useful to artists of all kinds, from visual artists to dance, theater, music, writers, and art forms that might not be so easily definable.

A central theme to their concern is that Burlington has matured as a city to the point where it has many community members who are deeply experienced in arts and arts organization and who would like to play a role in governing how arts resources are managed in the city. By playing a role in budgeting, mission and policy development, and city planning that includes the arts, they’ll be ensuring that arts are represented fairly and thoroughly. This would address a shortcoming in local arts governance, bringing the community together to better itself and make ready for an inclusive future.

An online petition to create a city arts commission of citizens who would play a meaningful role in guiding how arts funding is spent, reporting to the city council like the commissions of other city departments do, gathered more than 250 signatures within three days this week. See http://www.change.org/p/mayor-miro-weinberger-make-city-arts-supports-in-burlington-fair-and-inclusive

Sign the Arts Fairness Petition

James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World, says “Burlington is fortunate to have so many people willing to recognize how they can contribute to making our city better, and being willing to make the effort to do so. Changing city government to accomplish a positive, permanent improvement that embodies community values and engages our brilliant arts community in public services demonstrates the joy and purpose of all arts. We’re a can-do community that recognizes our own potential and aspires to achieve it.” Big Heavy World is a Burlington-based volunteer-run nonprofit organization with a mission of preserving and promoting Vermont-made music.

Members of this expanding group of arts advocates met with Mayor Weinberger in March and spoke during public forum at the city council’s Parks, Arts & Culture Committee on October 15. The draft version of those meeting minutes is available at http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/Agendas/SupportingDocuments/20141015%20PACC%20Minutes%20DRAFT.pdf.

For more information contact James Lockridge, jim@bigheavyworld.com, (802) 373-2890.

Rocket Shop 10/15/2014: Black Rabbit

Words by Wes Silver. Photos by James Lockridge

Black Rabbit

Marc and Darlene Scarano from Black Rabbit joined Bolton in the Radiator studio for Big Heavy World’s ‘Rocket Shop’ local music radio hour tonight! Find more at http://blackrabbitvt.com

After pursuing their love for the lake and mountains a young couple by the names of Marc, and Darlene Scarano decided to leave their haven in Saratoga, New york. They now reside in Burlington, Vermont, and shortly after arriving they teamed up with Jane Boxall to form a new band that goes by the name of Black Rabbit. Yes, that was Black Rabbit folks, not Black Sabbath, and now that you’re familiar with them it’ll be easy to find them in music libraries just above the famous English rock band, says the lead guitarist. Anyhow, Big Heavy World was lucky enough to have the trio take over the “Rocket Shop” local music radio hour. What was discovered during their time on air is that together, with Marc Scarano on guitar, Darlene Scarano on bass, and Jane Boxall on drums they all create an undeniable force to be reckoned with. They played their first show at the Radio Bean, and since then have been able book gigs all around the city of Burlington. You can find them playing at venues like Club Metronome, or The Monkey House, and even more unique places such as the basement of Big Heavy World’s Executive Director, Jim Lockridge. Wherever you find them next though it’s sure to be a dynamic, high octane, and lifted experience that will leave the crowd amped and cheering for more.

Now, normally when you think of bands it can be assumed that they’re all over the place, and don’t have much time to build local roots. This group flips that paradigm upside down, and just being a part of the local scene fills them joy. Their music seems to draw in good people, and so the network of garage, punk, and pop bands alike has definitely gained another inspiring source. Establishing themselves in Vermont will be essential to their future success, and with the husband-and-wife duo leading the charge there’s no telling just how far they will go. So, if you want to get down with these up and comers be sure to catch the trio at their next shows. Specifically, on October 30th at The monkey House, and the 31st at Charlie O’s. Both nights are sure to be a blast as the heavy hitting band performs live in Halloween costumes, which will be unique, and different for each spooky night. If you can’t make it to the stage though be sure to check out their website blackrabbitvt.bandcamp.com for all of the trios music releases, such as their recent Lipstick and Dynamite album. You’ll also be able to find the bands upcoming shows on that site, as well as their social media pages where fans can show support, connect, and continue to spread the word about a trailblazing dynamo in the queen city. Thus, it was a pleasure having Black Rabbit in the Radiator Studio, and we wish them luck in all of their future endeavors. Find more at http://blackrabbitvt.com


Wes Silver

Wes Silver Joins BHW Development Team

“Whatsup everybody, my name is Wes Silver. I’m a New England native who’s been living in Burlington, Vermont for the past few years now. Currently I’m finishing up my business degree at Champlain College, but more interestingly I recently joined the crew at Big Heavy World! Here, I’ll be putting my skills to use, and mainly helping out with the organizational development of the company. Music has always been a huge influence in my life, and so I wanted to help push the scene further by taking advantage of such an awesome opportunity. That being said, I’m stoked to be part of such an inclusive group of like-minded people, and our purposeful efforts are bound to show the world what the Vermont music scene is all about.”

Tyler Bean at 242 Main

Big Heavy World / 242 Main Partnership Supported by Vermont Community Foundation

Photo by James Lockridge.

Two organizations have partnered to expand cultural programming in Burlington with support from the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF). Big Heavy World, an educational nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting Vermont-made music, and 242 Main, an all-ages music venue operated by the City of Burlington Parks, Recreation, & Waterfront Department, received a VCF Small and Inspiring grant program award of $2,000.00.

The organizations are collaborating to produce live musical events that provide an opportunity for teens to learn about concert production and marketing, radio broadcasts journalism, and live concert photography. Big Heavy World has engaged young adults in music programs for 18 years. 242 Main has been presenting live music for all-age audiences for thirty years. The public/private partnership has comprehensive experience with engaging youth with their community via arts programming.

Through this partnership teens will be preserving their cultural history; exposing bands in a way that helps them be successful as Vermont artists; they’ll be gaining skills that boost their confidence and give them better futures; and the VCF-funded program will represent the power of collaboration to benefit young participants and older community members. The journalism that’s produced – audio, video, writing, photography – will become a historic record that is important to future generations of Vermonters.

James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World, says, “It’s rare for teens to have cultural resources that are authentic to their interests. This partnership opens up a world of fun, learning, and empowerment via music – an especially compelling outlet for young people.”

Jen Cotton, Site Coordinator, Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department, says, “Through this partnership, we are able to offer two special shows, at 242 Main, for the Greater Burlington community. It’s an exciting opportunity that we are very grateful for. We (242 Main) look forward to continued partnerships with diverse, mission driven organizations in our region, to help support the arts and education.”

For more information, contact:
James Lockridge, Big Heavy World, jim@bigheavyworld.com, (802) 865-1140
Jen Cotton, Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Dept., jcotton@burlingtonvt.gov, (802) 864-0123

About Big Heavy World: Big Heavy World engages young adults with their communities through activities that support and preserve Vermont’s original music. Founded in 1996, it is a community supported and volunteer-run nonprofit organization. Big Heavy World was established to preserve the historical record of music originating in Vermont; to create economic opportunity for Vermont’s musicians and the industries vital to them; to develop community among Vermont musicians and their patrons; and to accomplish this mission in a substance-free environment that empowers and educates youth. Seewww.bigheavyworld.com

About 242 Main: 242 Main, a program of Burlington’s Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department, provides a safe space for all ages, where people can come together with others that may share an interest in music, community service, activism and the arts. It provides positive social and cultural experiences, including all-ages live music events and educational programs. In 2014, 242 Main is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Seewww.enjoyburlington.com

About the Vermont Community Foundation: The VCF is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office experience to make giving easy and effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community. Visitwww.vermontcf.org or call (802) 388-3355 for more information. ​