Benefit Bluegrass Concert in Barre

Arts / Dec. 25, 2003 12:00am EST

Three Vermont bluegrass bands (Cold Country; The Lindner Brothers, Banjo Dan and Willy; and Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm) will present a concert Friday, Jan. 2 from 7-11 p.m. at the Old Socialist Labor Hall on Granite Street in downtown Barre. WDEV Radio disc jockey Jack Donovan will emcee the event, which is a benefit for Vermont CARES (Committee for AIDS Resources, Education and Services) and Partners in Health, a Boston-based group which runs a community health clinic in rural Haiti.

The sounds of The Lindner Brothers, Banjo Dan and Willy, seem to emanate from transient radio waves, broadcast 50 years earlier. Like the brother duets of old, the Lindners sing songs of sorrow and joy, of poverty, tragedy, faith and hope.

During the 1930s and ’40s, brothers duets were the predominant format in country music, practiced by now-legendary teams on radio stations and stage shows throughout rural America. These seminal duets were the heritage from which the Everly Brothers (pioneers of rock ’n roll and sons of old-time fiddler Ike Everly) traced their musical roots.

The Lindner Brothers have played together professionally for decades. Natives of Maryland, where a sizable population of southern mountaineers settled during and after World War II to work in the defense and seaport industries, Dan and Willy were exposed early in life to the hard-driving, intensely emotional music of the Appalachians. They formed the celebrated Vermont bluegrass band Banjo Dan and the Midnite Plowboys in 1972, and ever since have been mainstays of the New England bluegrass circuit, recording several albums and CDs.

Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm were formed in January 2003 and the band members each offer a minimum of 20 years of experience in the Vermont music scene. The band, which performs concerts and festivals regionally, includes Bob Degree (guitar, mandolin, vocals) who has played with The Lost Posse, and Trinity; Kirk Lord (bass and vocals) who comes from a family with tons of musical talent; Adam Frehm (dobro) who is best known for his work with the high energy popular 1990s bluegrass band called Smokin’ Grass; Russ Flanigan (fiddle, vocals) who has been entertaining music audiences in Vermont for the last 25 years; and Joe Cleary (mandolin, fiddle, vocals) who at the age of 28, has a feel for the music that most bluegrass musicians work their whole lives to attain.

A non-profit AIDS service organization working in 10 of the 14 counties in Vermont, the mission of Vermont CARES is "to improve the quality of life, create compassionate communities and prevent the spread of HIV by working with people affected by HIV/AIDS as catalysts for social and individual change."

Since 1987, Partners In Health and its sister organization, Zanmi Lasante (Creole for "Partners In Health") have provided primary health care in the central Haitian village of Cange. Together, they run a number of programs, including a full-service hospital, rural Haiti’s only HIV/TB treatment facilities, a women’s health center, a dozen schools, and several cottage industries.

At present, Zanmi Lasante and PIH provide over 1,000 patients daily with free or, in some cases, almost free quality medical care. They also work together to provide local residents with specialized health training as pharmacists, birth attendants, and community health workers, and to arrange more advanced training for physicians and nurses.

Tickets for the concert will be sold at the door. For more information about this event call Melissa Clifford at 476-4898.

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