Abbie Morin: 21 Jan 2015 on Rocket Shop

Words by Jess Slayton. Photo by Sophie Ward.

On Wednesday, Abbie Morin and Tom Pearo of Abbie Morin sat down with Brent on Big Heavy World’s local music radio show Rocket Shop on 105.9 The Radiator!  Abbie Morin, who happens to be both a person and the band, just released her first album “Shadowproof.”  The seven-track album was recorded with Signal Kitchen’s Dave DeCristo, who also helped Morin, a 24-year-old New Hampshire native, to put the band together.  Although the whole band was not present for the show, we got to know Morin and Pearo and were also lucky enough to hear a few of the tracks off of “Shadowproof” live.  As I sat by and observed the two playing together, I felt that the connection they had first with their instruments and second with one another was electrifying.  The energy radiating through the intimate setting was tangible, and Morin’s music definitely left me at a different, better place than I was before they started playing.  Although she has been playing guitar for 13 years, Morin’s foray into Burlington’s music scene is recent—after studying acting and poetry at Plymouth College, she decided that she no longer cared to perform other people’s work, but instead to combine all of her work and begin performing her own.  After moving to Burlington a year ago, the self-described “aggressively-friendly person” played with many different artists before finding her soul mates in Pearo, DeCristo, Leon Campos, and a few others.  Pearo stated that when Morin approached him to try playing together, he too was tired of playing music that wasn’t his own, and had decided that his next goal as a musician was to play in a duo with a female vocalist, so the collaboration opportunity came at a great time.  He also said that he was blown away by Abbie, particularly by her ability to work in tempo changes as seamlessly and fascinatingly as she does.  Abbie Morin has had a January residency at Nectar’s every Wednesday—the final show is next week, so whether you haven’t seen them yet or you’ve been every week, you won’t want to miss it.


Josh Brooks: 21 Jan 2015 on Rocket Shop

Words by Eva Weber. Photo by Sophie Ward.

Yesterday Brent hosted local singer-songwriter and guitarist Josh Brooks on our weekly local music hour Rocket Shop on 105.9 The Radiator. Josh, who has his home base in Vergennes, VT, has been playing guitar and writing folk/roots songs for over twenty years, when he began playing and writing with friends. Since then, Josh’s music has developed from lyrics about his family dog to deeper material often centering around loners and deviants based on people he sees on the news or in everyday life, which is why he’s been called a captivating storyteller. He even shared a story about writing a song about his daughter’s dream when she was four; his inspiration can truly come from anywhere. It is clear that he’s a family man who likes to stay near the nest but also has aspirations to tour more widely and share his stories. Josh has just released a new 9-track album titled ‘Tall Tales,’ his sixth. Check out Josh here and catch him at the Bixby Library on January 24.

Get A Grip

Hardcore Punk Show at 242 Main

Words by Sophie Ward and Eva Weber. photos by sophie ward.

On January 17th there was a substance free, all ages punk show at 242 Main. Big Heavy World was there showing support and snapping photos of the bands in action!

The show began with a screening of Straight of out Rutland, a short film about the heroin epidemic in Vermont’s town of Rutland featuring Nick Grandchamp of Get a Grip and his girlfriend Sarah Schreiber. Nick and Sarah have taken initiative to bringing the life back into Rutland, combatting the problem with a “straightedge” lifestyle and community outreach.

First in the lineup was Jumanji X’s Riot Squad from Woodstock, Vermont, self-described as raw, gritty, heavy-hitting hardcore punk rock. With Mikey on drums, Trick Nicky on guitar, and Ethan with vocals, this ensemble presented a visceral performance featuring their “heartbreak hits about nonconformity, politics, and an unsettling satirical look on pop culture,” which was met with supportive cheers from the crowd.

Jumanji X's Riot Squad

Jumanji X’s Riot Squad

Next up was Get a Grip, the Vermont hardcore/punk band from Rutland.  With their straightedge edge, fronted by Evan with vocals and with Nick and Steve on guitar, Dave on bass, and Brit on drums, this group pumped a powerful message of positivity into the room with their motivational words and hard-hitting set. They will be traveling to SXSW in Austin in March and will play at Big Heavy World’s Vermont SXSW showcase. Check it out here and get tickets or support.


Get A Grip

Gator King played next, a five-piece hardcore group who were founded in 2010.  The guys, including Josh and Bob on guitar, Steven on bass, Sam on guitar, and Stephan on vocals, came all the way from central Massachusetts to bring enthusiasm to the crowd at 242.


Gator King

Last up at 242 was Violent Sons, the self-described “anti-wave/hardcore” group. They traveled from Providence, Rhode Island to deliver their aggressively engaging set, gathering the crowd near the stage. Sean, Evan, Michael, and Daniel began by acknowledging the backbone of the punk music movement, the passionate youth.  They also took a humble moment to praise Get a Grip’s positive messages and talk more on the sensitive subject of hard drug use, with wrenching anecdotes from the vocalist’s past, a daring and deep supplement to a manic and enjoyable performance.


Violent Sons

Check out the rest of the photos, and find out what else is going on at 242 Main in Burlington.


Get A Grip

Film Screening + Live Show At 242 Main

Words and Images by Morgan Laurie-Day

It was a cold Saturday night in January. People moved through the streets quickly to stay warm and to push through the wind coming off  Lake Champlain. The side door at 242 Main is propped open just enough not to close as band members and volunteers stream in out with gear for tonights show. I’m helping Big Heavy’s interns set up our welcome table while a projector and screen are being set up in front of the stage. Small groups of people talk excitedly around the room about the film, about the bands. It’s a refreshing surge of energy mid-winter.

The night begins with Straight Out Of Rutland which chronicles the lives of Get A Grip’s Nick Grandchamp and his girlfriend Sarah Schreiber. The film highlights Rutland’s drug problems and what it’s like to push back in a community that you care about.

Rutland’s own Nick Grandchamp and Sarah Schrieber

The night went on with performances from Jumanji X’s Riot Squad. A punk rock quartet from Woodstock, Vermont. Check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.



Jumanji X's Riot Squad

Jumanji X’s Riot Squad

Next up was Get A Grip. Rutland’s hardcore band that is getting ready to journey down to Austin, Texas this March to play at South By Southwest SXSW. http://sxsw.com  Check them out at Main Street Landing on February 18. Tickets here! http://www.flynntix.org/Productions/Details.aspx?perfNo=11808&perfCodePrefix=OVP15Z




Get A Grip

Gator King graced the stage next. These brought us the sweet sounds of hardcore all the way from Southbridge, MA. Listen to their riffs here.





Gator King

Violent Sons hailing from Providence, Rhode Island closed out the night. Hardcore punk warmed the air in a little city by a lake way up North. Shows like this get me through the winter. A big Thanks to 242 Main and all the bands and volunteers. Check out more pictures in the gallery.



Violent Sons



Gina MacKinnon: 14 Jan 2015 on Rocket Shop

Words by Eva Weber. Photo by Sophie Ward.

On Wednesday Gina Mackinnon joined Brent to play some music and share her story on Big Heavy World’s weekly local music radio show Rocket Shop on 105.9 The Radiator! Gina, a singer-songwriter and pianist from Burlington only began playing music about four years ago when she started taking classes. She soon discovered that, despite initially being behind her younger students in experience, she could do what she put her mind to. Gina fondly described being particularly inspired by a boy who was perhaps not the best in the class but was always willing to try, and the courage he displayed on a daily basis. The significance of Gina’s experiences shone through in her happy, friendly face as she explained how her music is interwoven with her personal message that it is never too late to discover yourself, change your story, and do what you love. Today, Gina plays locally in spots like Radio Bean and is on the board of Directors for Girls Rock Vermont, a local organization whose mission it is to inspire a new generation of female musicians in Vermont and be a foundation of empowerment and confidence for girls.

Call to VT Bands: Essex Open House, Bands Needed

Vermont Bands: Big Heavy World has an opportunity to thank Bailey Spring & Chassis in Essex Junction for their super-kind repair of our loaner tour van by pulling together some volunteer bands for an open house in the afternoon on Saturday, February 21. Are you up for supporting the BHW van by playing for an hour, sometime between 1 & 3pm, for the public, inside the shop where they’ve built a new showroom? Contact us to let us know, and thanks for maybe being a part of it!

Celebrate The Life Of LJ Palardy!

Words by Eva Weber.

On February 16th, local music folks will be lighting up the night for a festive remembrance of local DJ Joseph “LJ” Palardy. LJ was a well-loved local DJ who hosted a program on The Radiator and the ‘LJ’s Dream’ radio show on WRUV every Sunday for over twenty years, sharing his love of jazz with the Burlington community and beyond. The public is invited to join us to celebrate the life of father, friend, and mentor LJ Palardy on Saturday, February 14th at the North End Studio A in Burlington, Vermont, from 8pm to midnight. There will be live musical entertainments, dancing and open mike for reminiscences and anecdotes, and donations will be accepted for the Vermont Respite House. In lieu of flowers, LJ requested that letters of stories/debates/altercations with him be mailed to his children, Douglas and Michele Palardy at 81 Hood St A, Winooski, VT 05404. Photos of LJ posted at www.facebook.com/lionel.palardy will be used to make a sildeshow! Musicians/DJs interested in participating: please reply to jkeller@keller-fuller.com.


Near North: 14 Jan 2015 on Rocket Shop

Words by Eva Weber.  Photo by Sophie Ward.

Chris, John, and Joe are Near North from Burlington, Vermont. They joined Brent on air on Wednesday for Big Heavy World’s weekly local music hour on the Radiator! Near North, the rock Americana band, had its beginnings long ago but this trio has been jamming together for four years, when two friends began playing together. Near North enjoys playing at venues in the Vermont area and beyond, most fondly referring to the “homey” atmosphere of the Monkey House and the coolness and intimacy of Radio Bean. While Chris was the original mind and voice behind the band, writing about “drinking and sadness” and the downfalls of love, he described a new process which allows the band to fuse ideas and create a more integrated sound. As a “conscious diversion” from the themes of past material, the trio is excited about their new song about zombies, the beginning of a new direction of experimentation, a regional tour, and a new album due out soon.  Catch the band soon in Burlington.

SXSW Showcase Poster

VT Bands to Showcase at SXSW: Texas Squints at the Brilliance on Their Horizon!

Tickets On Sale NOW at FlynnTix and 802-86-FLYNN!  

Vermont will be uniquely represented at the nation’s largest music festival in March when six of our bands showcase our homegrown music at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Waylon SpeedThe DuPont Brothers, Lowell Thompson, Zero Circle,  Get A Grip, and The Snaz will demonstrate the state’s powerful musical talent from the same stage, rising from cooperation between the SXSW producers and Big Heavy World, Vermont’s independent, volunteer-run music office, with additional support from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

SXSW (South by Southwest), the legendary music festival presented annually in Austin, Texas, is the country’s most potent and prominent opportunity for musicians to interact with the music industry. For the artists who apply to perform, acceptance is an authentication of their talent and a gateway to exposure and opportunity.

Big Heavy World’s SXSW Vermont Music Showcase is a project to stake an aggressive claim for the State of Vermont on behalf of its singular, deeply artful, identity.

The SXSW showcase date during the music track of the festival which runs March 17-22, will be far away but Vermonters can enjoy a live concert preview at the Main Street Landing Black Box on Wednesday, February 18, 7-10:30pm. The showcase preview concert is being co-produced by Big Heavy World, The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, and RETN with support from Advance Music Center and Moreau Theatrical Services. All proceeds from admissions and a silent auction during the concert will subsidize the cost for Vermont bands to travel to Texas to show the United States how good Vermont’s original music is. Tickets are $25 general admission and $100 for Gold Circle seating, on sale now at FlynnTix.org or charge by phone at 86-FLYNN. The concert is all ages and accessible.

For Vermonters who are too far from Burlington to make it to the show or who find the fundraising event’s admission cost to be a challenge, there will be a live simultaneous broadcast on radio and television stations across the state and video will stream online in HD at bigheavyworld.com and broadcast partner web sites. Stations, channels and frequencies will be published soon, and range in location from Manchester to Montpelier to Burlington.

Music is a key cultural resource: It’s portable, understandable, inspiring, marketable, and accessible. It’s nearly miraculous in its ability to proclaim ‘specialness’ and define a region. Vermont’ music community is also a fertile environment for building community, drawing it together in support of local musicians, cheerleading their cultural champions — and performances are an engine for expanding social capital.

Vermont’s showcase bands all applied to perform at SXSW, making the immense personal investment of traveling to Texas to share their art. Vermonters can support their efforts by contributing to their travel expenses at bigheavyworld.com where there are links to a PayPal donation page and Indiegogo campaign.

Donate to the Bands’ Travel Costs  

For more information about the bands, visit their web sites:

Waylon Speed, waylonspeed.com
The DuPont Brothers, dupontbrothersmusic.com
Lowell Thompson, lowellthompson.com
Zero Circle, zerocirclemusic.bandcamp.com
Get a Grip, facebook.com/getagripvt
The Snaz, reverbnation.com/thesnaz

Vermont’s music showcase delegation to SXSW was selected by a panel of individuals who have invested time and purpose in the success of Vermont’s arts and culture, and created a lineup of artists that represented strengths in their originality and dedication to making the best of an opportunity like this, for all of Vermont’ s music community. The panelists were Kari Anderson, Managing Producer for VPR Classical, Vermont Public Radio; Dan Bolles, Music Editor, Seven Days; Alex Budney, President, Nectar’s Presents & Partner, Nectar’s Entertainment Group; Steve Cook, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism, VT Dept. Tourism & Marketing; Brent Hallenbeck, Arts & Entertainment Writer, Burlington Free Press; Meg Hammond, Events Manager, Goddard College; and James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World.

Vermont’s AUSTINauts:

Waylon Speed

Waylon Speed

Outlaw dirt rock from Vermont: While Waylon Speed is not influenced by mainstream music, they integrate each members individual influences to achieve a truly unique genre that’s all their own. They’ve won awards from both the New England Music Awards for “Vermont’s Best Band”, and Seven Days newspaper’s annual Daisy Award for “Best Americana Band”. Waylon Speed released their second full-length record Kin in 2014, followed by a national tour.

“Waylon Speed is a cross between Metallica and the Lumineers, with an unnecessary dash of Prince showmanship.” — Washington Post


DuPont Brothers

The DuPont Brothers

Two brothers reunite after years of geographical separation by a fortified collaboration in music. Blending the contemplative winters of the northeast with the solitary beauty of southwestern desert, Sam and Zack DuPont are now coconspirators in a shared passion that runs deep in their family. This Burlington Vermont duo has hit the ground running since the formation of the group in March of 2013. The brothers have recently shared the stage with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Ben Sollee, Gin Wigmore, Chris Thomas King, Langhorne Slim, Howie Day and The Lone Bellow to name a few. Lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation. The sound is Vermont made Folk-Americana.

“Together the duPont Brothers resonate at just the right frequency. There were moments that honestly gave me chills.” — Dan Bolles, Seven Days

Lowell Thompson

Lowell Thompson

Dark winters up north, an encyclopedic knowledge of Americana mixed with punk rock sensibilities, and a heart easily broken (and re-broken) make for songs and shows that are crushing and redemptive.

It’s easy to understand why Lowell Thompson and his band Crown Pilot are getting hailed as the “next big thing” for the alt-country set. It’s hard to find a review that doesn’t include favorable comparisons to the likes of Gram Parsons, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, vintage Rolling Stones, and the various Americana revivalists that used to grace the cover of No Depression. While there’s truth to the hype, the fact is that Thompson’s music is informed as much by the names above as it is by less expected sources like Fugazi and Elvis Costello.

Thompson’s latest album entitled “Lowell Thompson and Crown Pilot” features volunteered contributions by local Vermonter’s like Phish’s Page McConnell (piano), Grace Potter (backing vocals) and Son Volt’s Mark Spencer (lap steel). The record has been garnering positive media attention at home, nationally (including Rolling Stone) and in the press across the Atlantic.

“Inspired Alt-Country.” — Rolling Stone


Zero Circle

Zero Circle

Fresh off the release of their self-titled debut, Zero Circle have already begun to make a name for themselves in the Vermont music scene. Performing with such notable acts as Drowningman, Rough Francis, and Swale, Zero Circle continue to challenge audiences and themselves, finding as much inspiration from their hardcore and punk roots as they do from R&B, rock and pop. Boasting former members of Burlington’s own Alive & Well and The Urgency, Zero Circle have brought everything they’ve learned to the table, honing their abilities as songwriters and performers. Inspired by Rumi’s poem of the same name, Zero Circle has no agenda, no genre, and no limits.

“Vocalist Tyler Gurwicz has chops on top of chops…he is always in control, delivering soaring lines with seeming ease.” — Dan Bolles, Seven Days


Get A Grip

Get A Grip

Formed in early 2011 in Rutland, Vermont, Get A Grip has proven to be a major player in the Vermont and New England hardcore and punk scene. Through their hard work and dedication and a D.I.Y. outlook, the band has been playing shows with iconic acts such as Bad Religion, the Offspring, Pennywise, the Vandals, Bane, Trial and more. The band has a clear stance against bullying, injustice of all kinds, and self destruction amongst many other things. Get A Grip has proven that the Green Mountain State has more to offer than just jam bands and maple syrup.


The Snaz

The Snaz

The Snaz are four Vermont teenagers, Dharma Ramirez (16, singer, guitarist and songwriter), Mavis Eaton (16, keyboardist), Zack James (14, drums) and Nina Singleton-Spencer (15, bass). The band started in 2011 with a bunch of songs and few local gigs. In the fall of 2012, the Snaz gained the attention of Grammy award winning music producer, Peter Solley, who has been working with them ever since. When the Snaz won the Brattleboro Battle of the Bands, their prize was recording time at the world-class Guilford Sound studio in Guilford, Vermont. The resulting CD in the spring of 2013 produced a hit tune, “Anna”, which was the #2 song on Northampton’s WRSI 93.9 “Top 93 songs of 2013” and is still played regularly on 93.9 The River. The “Anna” youtube video got over 7,000 views. The Snaz were featured on VPR’s Vermont Edition radio program and the VPR 2013 Annual Music Show and gained national attention as finalists in the NPR Studio 360 Battle of the High School Bands. They were interviewed by Joan Holliday on The River Sound Café and twice by Phish on WTSA’s In the Morning show. Notable gigs included the Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), Radio Bean (Burlington, VT), Next Stage (Putney, VT), Upper Valley Music Festival (Turners Falls, MA), Keene Music Festival (Keene, NH), and The WRSI River Block Party (Amherst, MA). In short time, the Snaz have evolved into an all-original, super solid, indie-rock band.

“It’s every disc jockey’s dream to pop in an unknown record by an unknown band and then hear something that makes you believe that you may have discovered the next big thing. You like it so much you rush to the radio to play it for everyone. That’s what happened when I heard The Snaz’s “Anna.”” — Monty Belmonte – WRSI The River

Free ‘Every Artist Insured’ Workshop for Musicians 1/28

Attn. VT musicians: MusiCares is hosting a free workshop on Healthcare Options for musicians and arts industry professionals in Burlington, on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. MusiCares is a charitable foundation of the GRAMMYs and assists musicians in need through emergency financial aid, preventative care clinics, substance abuse/addiction resources and free workshops geared towards their needs and interests. Info at https://www.facebook.com/events/1522941771313895/ and RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/every-artist-insured-burlingtonvt-tickets-15192431973