Chester's Green Mountain Festival Series kicked off its 25th season on November 21 with a very special concert. A Reunion Night of Music brought together half a dozen local musicians, and gave a small indication of the level of talent that exists in this area. The audience rose to its feet several times during the evening to show its appreciation for the music.
The evening began with Dylan Duncan, performing several songs from his new CD, What To Keep & Let Go. Dylan is an old friend who worked with many of the staff here at the Green Mountain Outlook a few years ago when we were the folks producing The Message for the Week.
Dylan has been working on his new CD for some time, and at least one of the songs on it has been released online at www.reverbnation.com/dylanduncan.
The CD deals with a powerfully emotional time in Dylan's life, the passing of his mother 10 years ago from Familial Amyloidosis, and his finding out a few years ago that he also has Amyloidosis. His final song, one he wrote for his mother, "Ask You", brought the audience to its feet.
Dylan was followed by Ida Mae Specker, an Andover native who is a fine fiddle player, taught by her father, John Specker, who joined her on stage. They specialize in Appalachian fiddle tunes, and Ida Mae has a beautiful "high, lonesome" voice that is perfect for the old time songs.
Brendon Thomas opened the second set. With years of performing experience, first with Blind Luck and then his solo work as foreverinmotion, Brendon shows great confidence on stage. The multi-instrumentalist has two CDs available, foreverinmotion and The Beautiful Unknown.
Comic relief came in the form of Weston's Sam Lloyd, Jr. Sam has been a television and movie character actor for many years, most recently on the hit sitcom "Scrubs." Sam also has performed for a couple of decades with his Beatles cover band, The Butties, a fact which came in handy during the all-hands-on-sage finale of "Hey Jude," where Sam showed off his vocal skills, and the fact that he, at least, knew all the words.
Before the concert, I was only vaguely aware of the group Rusty Belle, which includes Chester residents Matt and Kate Lorenz. This group is as unique as any I have ever heard, part cabaret, part rock, part roots music, and part some of the most unusual lyrics you'll ever hear. These are seriously talented kids, with four vocalists who can easily solo and also combine for some pretty impressive two, three and four-part harmonies. Definitely check out their music. This is a group that really seems destined to make a serious name for themselves.