Sarah Blacker, Boston’s “Sundress Rocker,” comes back to Brandon Music for a release party for her new album, “In Waves,” on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. before embarking on a national tour. The album is Blacker’s strongest songwriting and playing to date. The songs artfully span rock, pop, indie, folk and Americana fused together with her signature vocal sound and stacked vocal harmonies.
The Huffington Post said, “Her infectious, well-written songs led to her being named Female Performer of the Year at the New England Music Awards, and has drawn her comparisons to Sara Bareilles. But, comparisons be damned: She’s her own artist.”
The lyric “feel it all, in waves,” taken from the title track, immediately informs the listener of the emotional content of her songs. Blacker’s vision and spirit of the album was that of uninhibited authenticity, honesty and fearlessness and is filled with skillful rhythm guitar, piano and ukulele, and sung with a uniquely soulful voice.
Blacker’s catch-phrase, “songs save lives,” speaks to their role in her own life. Her rebellious teenage years and musical influence from her parents led her to attend Boston’s acclaimed Berklee College of Music where she graduated as a board-certified music therapist. She is grateful that her wayward journey through life has led her to making her edgiest record thus far.
Blacker was nominated for Songwriter of the Year in the Boston Music Awards in 2013. In 2014 she was nominated for Song, and Songwriter, of the Year at the New England Music Awards. She has toured extensively and shared stages with dozens of internationally renowned artists including Mishka, Carbon Leaf, America, Richard Thompson, 10,000 Maniacs, Paula Cole, Rusted Root, Leon Russell and many others.
Concert tickets are $15. A pre-concert dinner is available for $20. Reservations are recommended for the show and required for dinner. Venue is BYOB. Call 247-4295 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations or for information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon. For more information, visit brandon-music.net.
There will be an opening reception on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. for a new exhibit, “Mostly Vermont: Photographic Images by Jack Goodman,” that opened last week in the Jackson Gallery at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.
Goodman will present a selection from his extensive portfolio of images. The prolific Middlebury photographer has been taking pictures for 65 years around the United States and Canada but has found that digital photography has inspired him to capture more images in the last three years than in the previous decades. Images include landscapes, still life and architectural themes, including both color and black-and-white prints.
Goodman’s expertise with his equipment allows him to create everything from exquisitely detailed close range pictures of colorful fruits or vegetables to panoramas with entire flocks of geese lifting off from an Addison County field and suspended in time. His landscapes display a sensitivity to the inherent visual and textural compositions in nature itself, often with a dramatic flair. The images in this show were selected from approximately 10,000 by his daughter, Jane Miller, and by Goodman.
The exhibit, which runs through June 27, is free. Proceeds from all sales will benefit the Town Hall Theater and its endowment fund. The Jackson Gallery is open Monday-Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and during theater events. For information call 382-9222.
Two new exhibits open on Friday at Middlebury College’s Museum of Art. The first, “Many Thousand Gone: Portraits of the African American Experience,” is located in the Johnson Gallery. This exhibit comprises approximately 100 photographs of African Americans from the exhaustive yet little known collection of George R. Rinhart, one of the foremost collectors of American photography. Selected images range from daguerreotypes created in the 1840s to photographs of the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. Many of these images have never been previously exhibited.
The second exhibit, “The Language Schools at the Museum,” is in the Overbrook Gallery. Travel the world in this summer exhibition celebrating the centennial of the Middlebury Language Schools. The many countries and cultures of Middlebury’s Language Schools are represented by 20 works of art selected from the museum’s permanent collection.
Both exhibits, which run through Aug. 9, are free and the public is welcome. For more information, call 443-5007 or visit museum.middlebury.edu.
There will be two live performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern located in Middlebury. Join Two Brothers every Wednesday at 9 p.m. for The Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy, or anything else, alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley. Two Brothers Lounge is a laid-back atmosphere where collaborations and libations fuel creativity. Come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter and there is no cover charge.
Then, on Saturday, the tavern presents Soulstice at 9 p.m. for an encore performance. Soulstice is a four-piece roots/reggae band that formed at the Stark Mountain Farm Solstice Fest. Typically, they perform at open-air festivals with live fire dancers — but Two Brothers coaxed them to come down to the Lounge for a special indoor performance. Come and enjoy a night of soulful revelry. There is a $3 cover charge. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.
There will be two live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the 51 Main Blues Jam continues. Dennis Willmott from Left Eye Jump will provide lead guitar, bass and drums and these guys will back you up or take a break and let you play. All musicians and blues fans are welcome. Everyone will get a chance to play.
Then at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Soule Monde take to the stage. Soule Monde is instrumental, organ-driven funk in its purest form. Erupting from the syncopated minds of power-drummer Russ Lawton and organ-wizard Ray Paczkowski, the duo takes soul-jazz back to the deep end.
All ages, no cover. For additional information visit go51main.com or phone 388-8209.
The Rochester Chamber Music Society kicks off its 21st summer season in Rochester with a special pre-season concert, “Folk to Jazz,” at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the Rochester Federated Church. Professional and local musicians will explore diverse styles of music. Free will donations in support of the series will be gratefully accepted. For more information call 767-9234 or visit rcmsvt.org.
The Senior Week Choral Concert will take place in the concert hall of Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts on Friday at 8 p.m. The Middlebury College Choir will present its final concert with the graduates of the class of 2015, featuring some of the students’ favorite repertoire from the past four years of singing at Middlebury. It’s free and the public is invited. For more information, visit middlebury.edu/arts or call 443-3168.