Highlights: A busy musician eases back on performing


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 09-04-2019 10:00 PM

Jim Yeager is shuffling the deck of his life as a working musician, with relief and regret in equal measure.

Take the Wednesday-night open mic at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland. After five years as host of the Skunk’s venerable weekly gathering of aspiring and experienced players, Yeager will pass the microphone to Peter Meijer on Wednesday and start playing a weekly gig of his own during happy hour at the Woodstock Inn.

“It’s from 5 to 7 instead of starting at 8,” Yeager said. “And the inn is two blocks from my house.”

And the trade-off?

“I’m going to miss the people who come to play at the Skunk. They are a family to me now,” Yeager said. “Plus it’s one of the few places left that’s owned by musicians (Carlos and Gretchen Ocasio).”

“It’s an institution.”

At 50, so is Yeager, not entirely by design: Since picking up gigs from Brian Warren, after his mentor suffered a stroke in 2015, the Philadelphia native has been dashing around the Valley nearly nonstop.

Over the next week alone, in addition to working on his next solo album and mentoring young musicians such as Weathersfield’s Jenna Rice, he plays the Common Man in Claremont on Thursday night, the Pizza Chef in Quechee on Saturday night and the Woodstock Inn’s Richardson Tavern on Monday night.

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Then comes a run of open mics at The Public House Pub in Quechee on Tuesday, the Skunk on Wednesday and the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret next Thursday.

Clearly, something else had to give, so Yeager also is leaving Fu’Chunk, the funk and soul quartet previously known as Toast.

“I couldn’t do justice to it in terms of time, especially rehearsing as much as we needed,” Yeager said. “And financially, what bands are being paid makes it very difficult.”

It doesn’t help, he added, that few venues other than the Skunk, and Bob’s Place in Windsor, cater to customers who come for the music.

“We’ve gotten away from the appeal of being satisfied by just hearing a band play,” Yeager said. “We’re in competition these days with the electronic age. People are sitting in restaurants with their phones, or there are 500 TVs on, with a different sports game on each one.

“My goal is to bring back the old music venue that’s a room with a stage in the back, where there’s a cover charge, even a nominal fee. When you charge people to see live music, you’re held to a standard of bringing in musicians who are good. I want to bring back that listening room.”

He’s always welcome at one of his favorites — the one in Hartland Four Corners.

“He is a great person and an amazingly talented musician,” Skunk Hollow’s Gretchen Ocasio said on Tuesday. “We hope that Jim will still come visit from time to time.”

Jim Yeager performs solo shows at The Common Man in Claremont on Thursday night at 6, at the Pizza Chef in Quechee on Saturday night at 5 and at the Woodstock Inn’s Richardson Tavern on Monday night at 6. He also hosts open mics on Tuesday night at 6 at The Public House Pub in Quechee, on Wednesday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners and next Thursday night at 7 at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret.

Best bets

The Panhandlers steel-pan band headlines Saturday’s open house at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. After the Panhandlers’ set at 11:30 a.m., the center’s new recorder ensemble performs early music at 12:30 p.m. The center’s young fiddle students take the stage at 2:30, and center instructor Emerson Gale leads a roots-music jam from 3 to 5. To learn more, visit sevenstarsarts.org.

■Violist Scott Woolweaver, oboeist Andrew Price, violinist John Lindsey and cellist Karen Kaderavek play a mini-festival of chamber works of Mozart on Sunday afternoon at 4, at Our Lady of the Snows Roman Catholic Church in Woodstock. Schedule includes Oboe Quartet in F Major, Divertimento in E-flat Major and Ave Verum. Admission by donation.

■ The 2019-2020 season hits Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center for the Arts with a hurricane of entertainment this month, starting Sept, 19 at the Moore Theater with the first two of six performances of choreographer Monica Bill Barnes’ Happy Hour. Barnes and fellow dancer Elisa Clark don suits and ties to portray those obnoxious guys who strut and bluster without a clue or a qualm at office parties. For tickets to this show ($35) and more information about this and subsequent live theater and music offerings at the Hop, visit hop.dartmouth.edu.

That same weekend, cinephiles begin stampeding to Spaulding Auditorium to catch the first three of six movies that the Hop harvested from the recent Telluride Film Festival. Telluride at Dartmouth opens Sept. 20 with two screenings (4 and 7:30 p.m.) of Ford v Ferrari, the much-hyped docudrama co-starring Matt Damon as a maverick car designer and Christian Bale as an even more unpredictable driver who rocked the racing establishment at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Tickets ($15 per movie, $75 for passes to all six) are now on sale for Hop members, and become available to the general public on Tuesday morning at 10.

Theater/performance art

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, musical comedy based on real-life socialite-soprano who during World War II tried to take opera world by storm despite a tin ear and a hopeless voice, at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center’s Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. Performances, kicking off the ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival, Thursday night through Sept. 14. Admission $28 to $35.

■It’s Vaudeville touring troupe, variety show of music and comedy, Saturday night at 7 at Newport Opera House. Admission $10 in advance (available at newportoperahouse.org, at Aurora Bakery and a rti-aurora.org) and $15 at the door.


Triton trio of accordionist Jeremiah McLane, piper Timothy Cummings and fiddler James Carty, Celtic and French-Canadian folk, Thursday night at 5:30 during Feast & Field Market at Fable Farm in Barnard. Free.

■Pianist Henry Danaher, guitarist Billy Rosen and bassist David Westphalen, jazz, Friday night at 6:15 on downtown Lebanon mall. Free.

■Still Hill, bluegrass, Saturday morning and afternoon at Norwich Farmers Market.

■Folk musician Brendan Taaffe, singing workshop, Saturday morning at 10:30 at Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon. Admission $40. To register, visit revelsnorth.org.

■Sensible Shoes, danceable rock and pop, performances from 1 to 3 on Saturday afternoon, during Woodstock Art Fair on the village green, and at 6:15 p.m. on the downtown Lebanon mall.

■ Gaither Vocal Band and guest singer Sherry Anne, Christian/inspirational, Sunday morning at 10:30 at Mountainside Community Church in Newport. Free.

Bar and club circuit

Dr. Tom’s Band, roots-rock, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; About Gladys, rock, Friday night at 9:30; Moxley Union, rock, Saturday night at 9:30; Singer-songwriter Ethan Lawrence, Tuesday night at 6.

■Scott Cook, roots, Friday night at 7 at first Sunapee Coffeehouse of the season. Admission by donation.

■Bassist Peter Concilio, pianist Tom Robinson, saxophonist Ian Gollub and drummer Scottie Childs, jazz, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland.

■Chris Powers, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; singer-songwriter Rich Thomas, Saturday night at 9.

■ Richie Hackett, roots rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; Arthur James, blues, Saturday afternoon at 4.

■Wayne Canney, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover; Lantz & Stone, roots/Americana, Saturday night at 9.

■Singer-songwriter Ken Macy, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Newport; Alec Currier, rock, Saturday night at 9.

■Miranda Moody Miller, roots/Americana, Saturday night at 6 at Crossmolina Farm in West Corinth.

■ Soulfix, with guest Ed Burgess, 8:30 Saturday night at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee.

■Singer-songwriter Christine Malcolm, folk/Americana, Saturday night at 7 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

■ Royalton singer-songwriter Alison “AliT” Turner, Sunday afternoon at 2 at SILO Distillery in Windsor.

■ Jes Raymond and Jakob Breitbach, roots/Americana, Sunday night at 5 at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.

■Jazz pianist Sonny Saul, Wednesday night at 6:30 at On the River Inn in Woodstock.

■Saxophonists Mike Parker and Ian Gollub, jazz, Wednesday night at 5:30 at Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

Open mics/jam sessions

Alec Currier’s open-mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday nights at 8.

■Monthly all-comers jam, Saturday night at 7 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon.

■Joseph Stallsmith’s hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday nights at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music, Tuesday nights at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday nights at 7 at Colatina Exit.

Looking ahead

The Fretless, Celtic, chamber-inflected folk music, next Thursday night at 5:30 at Feast & Field Market in Barnard; and Sept. 13 at 7:30 at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Send entertainment listings to highlights@vnews.com.