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Roots on the River Festival a Sun-Shining Success!

BELLOWS FALLS, VERMONT – Although a local resident for many years, this music writer had admittedly, never attended the Roots on th Riverfestival before last weekend’s 15th annual. Mostly, I suppose, because my musical tastes lean more towards multiple genres of rock, jazz and blues... as opposed to the mostly roots, folk and bluegrass genres featured at Roots.

Article and photos by Joe Milliken 1. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band 2. JD McPherson 3. Poor Old Shine 4. Rev. Peyton and his cigar box guitar

Therefore, considering the artists I witnessed and enjoyed on this absolutely beautiful Saturday afternoon not only rocked, but also filled the air with jazzy and bluesy overtones all over the place, I am here to say damn, did I ever make a big mistake not coming to this wonderful event sooner... and I vow to not commit this shameful error again!

CD Review: Carol Ann Jones' "Super Charged!"

Singer, song writer and Georgia, Vermont-resident Carol Ann Jones releases her third CD, titled Super Charged! Fourteen original songs written over several years of song writing growth. “I actually wrote the songs on Super Charged! over a seven year period,” Jones recently told Standing Room Only. “Some of which while working part-time at the Georgia, Vermont Post Office.”

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Carol Ann Jones

The tracks were recorded at West Street Digital Recording studio in Fairfield, Vermont and produced by studio owner Andre Maquera, who also just so happens to be Carol Ann’s touring guitarist as well as providing lead guitar and backing vocals on Super Charged!. Jones and Maquera have worked together for several years now and have developed a good working chemistry.

CD Review: Boyan Hristov's "B11"

B11 is a guitar-driven, jazz trio led by Bulgarian-born Boyan Hristov, a blazing guitar player armed with a degree from Boston’s Berklee School of Music and a new CD that offers a half dozen of his compositions, as well as several well-chosen covers (15 tracks total) from such diverse artists as Henry Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Lou Donaldson and Big John Patton.

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Boyan Hristov

B11 also features Mike Levesque on drums, who has worked with such artists as David Bowie, Dave Navarro, Juliana Hatfield, Seven Mary Three and Susan Tedeschi… and Tom Appleman on bass, who has worked with Robbie Krieger of The Doors, Missing Persons and Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes to name but a few. Appleman is also a teacher at the aforementioned Boston Berklee School of Music. Additional contributing musicians also include Brian Holtz on bass, Eric German Rodriquez on congas and bongos and Ron Bayless on congas and guiro.

CD Review: Mad the Martian's "Blast Off"

After having the opportunity to interview the members of Mad the Martian (and no, they didn’t take me for a ride in their space ship) before listening to their debut CD and writing this review, I had the advantage of already knowing a little bit about the band and what they were trying to accomplish with Blast Off...and let me tell you folks, it works!

Article by Joe Milliken * CD cover courtesy of Mad the Martian

Featuring Cap’n Jack (AKA Jack Marsh) on keyboards and vocals, Ron E Raygun (Bob Marsh, Jr.) on guitars and vocals and Ajax Ray O Vaque (producer Anthony J.

CD Review: Free Spirit's "All the Shades of Darkened Light"

Hailing from Finland and ready to rock your ass off, Free Spirit’s second official release, titled All the Shades of Darkened Light, is a thick slab of authentic melodic rock; progressive melodies and edgy guitar riffs, bombastic keyboard flourishes, powerful vocals and compelling lyrics all wrapped up into a heavy wall of classic, AOR-style rock.

Review by * Photos courtesy of

Over time, Free Spirit’s sound has steadily developed into a relative melting pot of influences, fusing classic and melodic rock vibes into their own unique style. The much anticipated follow up to their debut release, 2009’s Pale Sister of Light, expands upon the band’s huge rock sound and pristine instrumentation.

Let's Groove With The Ken Clark Organ Trio

WINDHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE - This music journalist last caught up with native-Vermonter Ken Clark all the way back in 2003, not long after he landed a record deal with Severn Record and had released his second Organ Trio CD.

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Ken Clark

Now over a decade later and after releasing his latest CD Dr. Organstein last May, Ken’s Hammond B-3 and guitar-fueled trio continues to perform throughout the Northeast, creating their unique brand of modern, funky-swing-jazz that’s reminiscent of old-school jazz masters such as Jimmy Smith and Big John Patton.

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