In Silver Light: Music of Vermont

Title : In Silver Light
Release Date : September 1, 2009
Label :
Catalog ref. : CD-BHW-10082
Format : CD

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“Steeped in somewhat elegaic mood and texture, this elegantly assembled compilation of Vermont artists keeps a focus on poetic, acoustic-rooted pastorales. There’s plenty of variety to be found within those parameters, though, from the opening spoken-word piece — weaving the voices of some of Vermont’s elder statespersons with Spencer Lewis’ evocative music — through Kris Gruen’s whisper-voiced rural twist on something like the gentler side of vintage Velvet Underground. And there are many colorful — if sepia-toned — pieces beyond and between, adding up to a pleasantly hypnotic listening experience.”

— The Spiel, the newsletter of Buch Spieler, a wonderful record store located on Langdon Street in Montpelier, Vermont.

‘In Silver Light’ is a breathtaking sampler of Vermont’s singer-songwriting and instrumental music. Atmospheric tracks mesh to create a mesmerizing listening experience that will remind you of how fortunate we are as Vermonters to count such talented artists as our neighbors. Order ‘In Silver Light’ for yourself, family and friends!

“…An intimately affecting and often heartbreaking collection of songs from the area’s finest singer-songwriters and instrumental artists.”

— Dan Bolles, Seven Days

‘In Silver Light’ artists include: Spencer Lewis, James O’Halloran, Karen McFeeters, Kris Gruen, Jess Clemons, Paul Webb with Patti Casey, Dan Zura, The Cush, Patrick Fitzsimmons, Native Daughters (Deb Flanders and Michele Choiniere), Ken Mahren, Social Band, Lar Duggan, and Aaron Flinn.

Art Edelstein at the Barre Montpelier Times Argus Review said, “Some excellent talent to add to your Vermont music collection… this CD highlights the wealth of music Vermonters are producing… an excellent effort.” He recently named “My Only Son,” (Track #4), written by Carol Abair and performed by Karen McFeeters, “Best Song of 2007.”

The Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores has endorsed ‘In Silver Light,’ welcoming it into their “Vermont Seal of Quality” historic country stores. This is a great honor, reflecting the CD’s special Vermont character.

Sponsors who have made ‘In Silver Light’ possible include Vermont Public Radio, Lisaius Marketing, Sovernet, Bruegger’s Bagels, Propeller Media, Burlington City Arts, Healey Music TMS, The Lake Champlain Byway, Egan Media, the family farms of Cabot Creamery, and The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of Big Heavy World’s archiving of Vermont’s music history. Vermont’s history is perpetuated in many ways, and the music of years past gives us a pleasant insight into the way-of-life that a history book might overlook. Your objectives in preserving and promoting Vermont-made music have certainly been accomplished, and we are all benefiting from the dedication and hard work that you, your staff and your many volunteers have put into this most worthy project. Again, congratulations and best wishes as you continue your search and preservation of an important part of Vermont’s culture.”

— James H. Douglas, Governor

“As the state’s oldest cultural heritage organization, the Vermont Historical Society knows that saving the present for future generations is important. Just as a knowledge of our history allows us to make well-informed decisions for building a better future for Vermont, preserving contemporary history for future generations is a valuable contribution to our state. Big Heavy World is leading the way in documenting and creating a splendid archive of modern Vermont music of every kind, and Vermonters today and for many generations to come will benefit significantly from that activity.”

— J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director, Vermont Historical Society

The Cover Art

Harvest Time

Cover Image: “Harvest Time” (Edition of 40), hand-colored photograph by Victoria Blewer, Lincoln, Vermont, http://www.victoriablewer.com.

Thanks

This CD was made possible only with the support and goodwill of these individuals who receive our continued heartfelt thanks: John Bartlett, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Victoria Blewer, Ted Brady, Jim Brangan, the dairy farm families who own Cabot Creamery, Erica Chabot, Trish Damery, Jed Davis, Scott Eagle, Joe Egan, Ruth Erickson, Judy Eshelman, Jody Evans, Phil Fiermonte, Peter Gilbert, Leah Hollenberger, Senator Jim Jeffords, Sara Katz, Andy Kolovos, Diane Konrady, Doreen Kraft, Ryan Krushenick, Madeleine Kunin, Senator Patrick Leahy, Spencer Lewis, Joe Lisaius, Will Lowry, Patricia Menduni, Colin Mills, Craig Mitchell, Bret Murray, Lou & Katie Natale, Jed Nelson, Christa Pagliei, Phil Peisch, Chris Pierson, Elise Richardson, Ty Robertson, Lisa Sanchez, Senator Bernard Sanders, David Schütz, Gerianne Smart, Victoria & Sophia St. John-Lockridge, Holly Superneau, Robin Turnau, Ed von Turkovich, Ruth Wallman and Steve Zind.
‘In Silver Light’ Track Listing

The Liner Notes

1. Spencer Lewis, (in order of appearance:) Senator James M. Jeffords, Senator Bernard Sanders, Governor Madeleine Kunin, Senator Patrick Leahy, “A Worthy End” 1:48 ©Big Heavy World. Edited, mixed and mastered by Spencer Lewis. Music written and performed by Spencer Lewis. Produced for Big Heavy World by James Lockridge. Lyrics are from a speech by President Theodore Roosevelt given August 31, 1902 at the Windsor Fair Grounds: “They hewed this State out of the wilderness; they held it against a foreign foe; they laid deep and stable the foundations of our State life, because they sought not the life of ease, but the life of effort for a worthy end.” Very special thanks is given to David Schütz, Vermont State Curator, for his assistance in production of this track and curation of the engraved version at the Hall of Inscriptions within the Vermont State House where it first inspired this project. Thanks also to the congressional staff members who assisted in the recording of Senator Jeffords, Senator Leahy, and Senator Sanders, including Ted Brady, Erica J. Chabot, Scott Eagle, Phil Fiermonte, Patricia A. Menduni, and Phil Peisch. Spencer Lewis, 1604 Gilead Road, Randolph, VT 05060. (802) 234-5304, quartz2@sover.net, http://www.spencerlewismusic.com. Senator James M. Jeffords, http://jeffords.senate.gov. Senator Bernard Sanders, http://bernie.senate.gov. Senator Patrick Leahy, http://leahy.senate.gov, Friends of the Vermont State House, http://www.leg.state.vt.us.

2. Spencer Lewis, “Reflectin'” 2:57 © (P) Quartz Recordings (BMI), Stones of Gilead Music. Written, produced and recorded by Spencer Lewis. Mastered by Spencer Lewis and John Huling. Spencer Lewis, guitar. Quartz Recordings, 1604 Gilead Road, Randolph, VT 05060. (802) 234-5304, quartz2@sover.net, http://www.spencerlewismusic.com

3. James O’Halloran, “Hits And Misses” 4:06 ©2005 OhLaLa Records (BMI). (From the CD ‘The Nashville Sessions’). Written by James O’Halloran. Produced by James O’Halloran and Jay Ottaway. Recorded by Cliff Goldmacher at Cliff’s Walk-in Closet. Mastered at “Yes Master” by Jim DeMain. James O’Halloran, vocals and guitar; Don Kerce, acoustic bass; Steve Conn, piano & whistling; Glen Caruba, drums; Melissa Cusick, vocals. James O’Halloran, P.O. Box 833, Burlington, VT 05402. (802) 864-9639, james@jamesoh.net, http://www.jamesoh.net

4. Karen McFeeters, “My Only Son” 3:46 ©2002 Carol Abair (P)2004 Karen McFeeters. (From the CD ‘Maybe Day’). Written by Carol Abair. Produced by Karen McFeeters. Recorded by Peter Engisch, Ad Astra Recording. Mastered by Lane Gibson, Charles Eller Studios. Karen McFeeters, vocals; Carol Abair, acoustic guitar; Craig Anderson, acoustic guitar. Karen McFeeters, P.O. Box 5731, Burlington, VT 05402. (802) 865-5954, kmcfeeters@aol.com, http://www.karenmcfeeters.com. Carol Abair, http://www.momsongs.com

5. Kris Gruen, “In The Clearing” 3:00 ©2005 Mother West LLC (P) Mother West Music (ASCAP), Kris Gruen Music (ASCAP). (From the CD ‘Lullaby School’). Written by Kris Gruen. Produced by Charles Newman. Recorded by Charles Newman, Tom Rogers and Robert Stevens. Mastered by Tom Rogers. Kris Gruen, lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, percussion; Charles Newman, electric guitar; Julian Cassanetti; glockenspiel; Lori Michaels, backing vocals. Mother West / Papercup Music, 37 West 20th Street, Suite 1006, New York, NY 10011. (212) 807-0405, info@motherwest.com, http://www.motherwest.com

6. Jess Clemons, “For Mother” 3:20 ©Jess Clemons (ASCAP). (From the CD EP ‘Welcome Home’). Written by Jess Clemons. Produced by Carey Langille and Jess Clemons. Recorded and mastered by Carey Langille, Ocean Sound Productions. Jess Clemons, vocal and piano. Jess Clemons, 190 Lower Sunnybrook, Middlesex, VT 05602. info@jessclemons.com, http://www.jessclemons.com

7. Paul S. Webb, “Through The Field” 3:25 ©1984 Paul S. Webb (From the CD ‘A Walk In The Woods’). Written by Paul S. Webb. Recorded by Todd Lockwood at White Crow Audio. Paul Webb, piano. Paul S. Webb, 64 Marble Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 660-2426, paul@paulwebbsongs.com, http://www.paulwebbsongs.com

8. Dan Zura, “Jesse” 3:31 ©(P) 2006 Dan Zura. (From the CD ‘What Moves You Kid’). Written by Dan Zura. Produced and recorded by Bobby Domino. Mastered by Colin McCaffrey. Dan Zura, vocal and guitar; Colin McCaffrey, fiddle. Dan Zura, 260 Elm Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (860) 514-1306, dan@danzura.com, http://www.danzura.com

9. The Cush, “Searching For The Sun” 3:00 ©2005 Rose Machine Music (ASCAP). (From the CD ‘New Appreciation For Sunshine’). Written, produced, and recorded by Burette & Gabrielle Douglas. Mixed by Ryan Power. Mastered by Casey Rea. Gabrielle Douglas, Rhodes, Moog, vocals; Brett Hughes, live drums; Burette Douglas, guitar, synth bass, vocals. The Cush, 31 Pitkin Street, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 318-2806, thecush@thecush.com, http://www.thecush.com

10. Patrick Fitzsimmons, “Autumn” (Live) 4:12 ©2004 ItzFitz Music (ASCAP). (From the CD ‘Live 2005’/Itz Fitz Music). Written by Patrick Fitzsimmons. Recorded by Don Sternecker. Mastered by Gene Paul at DB Plus NYC. Patrick Fitzsimmons, vocal and guitar; Rob Meehan, upright bass and backing vocal; Loni Bach, cello and backing vocal; Leena Gilbert, violin. Patrick Fitzsimmons, 60 Spruce Street, Apt. 1, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 324-3782 itz_fitz@yahoo.com, http://www.patrickfitzsimmons.net

11. Native Daughters, “A La Claire Fontaine” 2:22 (From the CD ‘Native Daughters’). Traditional. Produced by Michele Choiniere and Deb Flanders. Recorded at Charles Eller Studios. Mastered by Chuck Eller. Michele Choiniere, vocals and piano; Deb Flanders, vocals. Michele Choiniere, 122 Pearl Street, St. Albans, VT 05478. (802) 527-1337, chrisrottler@yahoo.com, http://www.michelechoiniere.com. Deb Flanders, 32 Lafountain Street, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 652-0245, debflanders@adelphia.net, http://users.adelphia.net/~debflanders

12. Ken Mahren, “Risky Business” 2:15 ©1984 Sloppy Kisses Music (From the CD ‘Silk Brocade’/Sable Mountain Records). Written by Ken Mahren. Produced by Ken Mahren. Recorded at Sable Mountain Studios. Ken Mahren, guitar. Ken Mahren, 69 Joy Drive #B2, South Burlington, VT 05403. (802) 860-7198,
kmahren@sablemountainrecords.com, http://sablemountainrecords.com

13. Social Band, “Serenade” 1:38 ©2004 (BMI). (From the CD ‘Vermont Composers Project’). Music written by Thomas L. Read. Lyrics by H.W. Longfellow. Produced by Social Band. Recorded and mastered by Peter Engisch at Ad Astra Recording, Williston, VT. Performed by the men of Social Band: Ken Brown, Jeff Fellinger, Michael Kellogg, Pete Land, Michael Brown, Bill Fellinger, Don Jamison, and Mark Kuprych. Social Band, 87 Coyote Ridge Road, Hinesburg, VT 05461. (802) 651-7616, info@socialband.org, http://www.socialband.org. Thomas L. Read, 32 Cliff Street, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 862-3650, tread@uvm.edu, http://www.thomaslread.com

14. Paul Webb, Patti Casey, “Stone Boat” 4:23 ©2005 Paul S. Webb. (From the CD ‘Stone Boat’/Paul S. Webb). Written by Paul S. Webb. Produced by Paul S. Webb and Peter Engisch. Recorded by Peter Engisch & Rob Ostrander at Adastra Recording Studio. Mastered by Charles Eller and Lane Gibson at Charles Eller Studio. Paul Webb, piano; Patti Casey, vocal; Paul Asbell, guitar; Colin McCaffrey, violins; Peter Engisch, synth. bass. Paul S. Webb, 64 Marble Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 660-2426, paul@paulwebbsongs.com, http://www.paulwebbsongs.com

15. Lar Duggan, “No. 15” 2:54 © r1978 Lar Duggan (Chiaroscuro Music, BMI). (From the CD ‘The Lake Studies: 1-16’/Aerie Records). Composed by Lar Duggan. Recorded at The New Music Building Recital Hall, University of Vermont. Recorded & mastered by Charles Eller. Lar Duggan, piano. Lar Duggan, 34 Front Street, Burlington, VT 05401. (802) 862-5831, larduggan@aol.com. The writing and recording of this music was made possible through a generous grant from the Public Arts Program of the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont CETO.

16. Aaron Flinn’s Salad Days, “Goodbye For Now” 1:40 ©FlinnRa (P) Sun God Records (ASCAP). (From the CD ‘Giving Up the Ghost’/Sun God Records). Written, produced, recorded and mastered by A.P. Flinn. A.P. Flinn, melodeon, upright bass and vocals. Aaron Flinn, flinnra@aol.com, http://www.aaronflinn.com and http://www.saladdaysmusic.com
CD Mastered by Egan Media Productions

Reviews

Soundbites [Music News], Seven Days
Dan Bolles, 05.23.07

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE
“…The folks at Big Heavy World are at it again. Never content to rest on their huge pile o’ laurels, BHW Executive Director Jim Lockridge, and his crew have put together a stirring compilation that highlights Vermont’s most talented and innovative acoustic artists. In Silver Light is a bit of a departure for our local-music archivists; their releases trend more toward the blistering hard-core favored by the 242 Main crowd. But even the most churlish metal-head has a soft side — our own nearly departed Dark Lord himself, Casey Rea, recently offered a glowing review of the disc in these pages, and I have to agree with him. It’s an intimately affecting and often heartbreaking collection of songs from the area’s finest singer-songwriters and instrumental artists.”

Various Artists, In Silver Light: Music Of Vermont
Casey Rea, December 19, 2006

“Green Mountain music archivist Big Heavy World has released several compilation CDs in the last decade, most of them documenting the local alternative and metal scenes. In Silver Light: Music of Vermont takes a different tack. A collection of acoustic-oriented music, it showcases the state’s mellower musicians.

Proceeds from sales go towards the Vermont Music Library & Shop, currently located at the organization’s Burlington headquarters. BHW’s commitment to promoting and preserving local music has won the attention of Governor Jim Douglas, who offers an expression of support in the album’s liner notes.

He’s not the only politico on board. The CD kicks off with “A Worthy End,” which features public servants Jim Jeffords, Bernie Sanders, Madeleine Kunin and Patrick Leahy each reciting a portion of text from President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech at the 1902 Windsor Fair. Local guitarist/songwriter Spencer Lewis provides crisp acoustic backing to the inspiring spoken word.

Lewis’ “Reflectin'” gets the second spot on the disc. It’s a meditative cut that evokes the transfixing beauty of a steady mountain stream.

The laid-back mood continues with “Hits and Misses” by James O’Halloran. The song’s amiable groove and warmhearted lyrics should appeal to fans of feel-good folk.

Karen McFeeters offers “My Only Son,” a heart-wrenching song penned for her military-enlisted progeny that has only grown more poignant since its original release in 2004.

Montpelier’s indie-folk troubadour Kris Gruen’s “In the Clearing” sounds like a modern-day Cat Stevens, while Jess Clemons’ “For Mother” is another familial tribute featuring introspective vocals and piano.

Speaking of ivories, Paul S. Webb splits the difference between Gershwin and Debussy with his ornate instrumental “Through the Field.”

Dan Zura’s Americana-influenced “Jesse” sounds like the aural equivalent of warm flannel. It’s followed by the Cush’s “Searchin’ for the Sun,” which places pulsing keyboards and ethereal vocals alongside relaxed acoustic guitar.

Native Daughters deliver the lovely a cappella cut “A La Claire Fontaine,” which is bookended by Social Band’s own choral contribution, “Serenade.” In between is Ken Mahren’s “Risky Business,” which features masterful fingerpicking.

Other standouts include Paul Webb & Patti Casey’s “Stone Boat,” a tune both comforting and melancholy. Lar Duggan’s instrumental “No. 15” is more on the somber side, with rivulets of minor-key piano.

The album closes with the aptly titled “Goodbye for Now,” from singer-songwriter Aaron Flinn. The tune’s rich organ and intimate vocals make for a fine end to a pleasant record.

Congrats to Big Heavy World for 10 years of service to the Vermont music community. Looking forward to more.”

Big Heavy World
Vermont music’s helper elves since 1996.