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Spring for Sound in Millerton

Music in the streets
by Kevin T. McEneaney
Sat Jun 11th, 2016

Soul Case performing. 

Millerton’s annual Spring for Sound music festival, now in its sixth year, endured an early downpour, but that ceased by noon when attendees began arriving; the sun was shining by 3 pm for the curious growing crowd.  This informal and pleasant venue showcases local and national talent, both young newcomers and older local bands. With multiple stages around town, one could bounce back and forth with a short stroll. Local vendors offered a variety of barbecue, craft beer, and good wine.

Jeremy Ducey of Soul Case, an alternative rock trio, has a genial and attractive voice, yet Mike Brightly on drums was so fierce, one could not understand the lyrics, but perhaps it was “better” that way, yet I think the problem lay in the sound engineer’s hand.

While new rock and indie lyrics often sound like unmemorable drafts, The Bash Bish Bluegrass Band offered those tired and true pull-your-heartstrings formulas of the past two centuries with tightly played—and in unison—coherence.  With songs like “Highway of Sorrow” one knows the music will walk out to the distillery shed in the backwoods, yet when the ladies sidle-in with their harmonies, one admires the sun-dazzling effect, as if lyric moonshine just kicked your gut. This down-home band plays regularly at the Taconic Wayside Inn every second Saturday of the month from 4:30 to 7:30 (no cover charge).

Atlantis Red played an attractive mix of bluesy alternative rock, rap, and funk with Bjorn Michaud on sax and guitar. Michaud played a nearly hundred-year-old sax that sent giggles to my brain and had me wishing that he would leave his guitar behind. This was a band worth the admission price. When I hear young bands, I often would like to advise them “Why don’t you get a good sax player?”

Dreamaholic, a young trio, played duo without their drummer. Michael Lesko and Maya Mortman were charmingly in sync, especially with their lyrically attractive original “Moonglow.” Local band 5 Dark Nights offered original songs with impassioned singing, lively lyrics, and good diction. Not only did they have the sense to find a decent saxophonist, but a good drummer whose ego was not exploding on the stage (like most drummers in the business).

Dilofopotomus (prankster name for a mythical sci-fi beast) reminded me of Frank Zappa’s compositions but synthesizing and jamming in different directions. I had a good conversation with Trevor about the bewildering number of bands playing. Trevor assured me that The Gents, a four-man harmony outfit from Austin Texas, provided the best performance before 6 pm. I also heard good comments about DJ Doctor (Arvolyn Hill). I could only sample bands and like others I missed many performances while I had a good time.

It remains amazing that the small town of Millerton can pull off such a large event with so many bands and singers. Although one cannot attend all venues, one can browse many venues while sauntering the charming village streets of Millerton.