Column, Rockin' The Region

Rockin’ the Region with Ben Fuller at A Sound Space

By DJ Dave Hoffenberg

In Don McLean’s “American Pie” he sang about “The day the music died.” When Governor Phil Scott ordered all bars and restaurants to close, the music around here kind of did. This region has such a great variety of live music you can go see, well could go. Musicians now are doing Facebook live shows from their living rooms.

Local musician George Nostrand is taking that many steps further and has put together a series of online concerts that were produced at A Sound Space, his rehearsal space and DIY studio in Rutland. With the current state of affairs they have started a weekly series enabling bands to perform, get their music out and try to recoup a small portion of the monies lost due to cancellations. If you can, sign up to become a member at patreon.com/asoundspace. Membership levels start at $5.

“We’re just trying to all help each other. We’re in this as a family and a community,” Nostrand said. He and some music industry friends were at his space when they heard Gov. Scott’s message and they realized they were all out of work. Nostrand said, “We have this space, this talent and professional sound, light and video guys. Let’s put on a concert and make an event out of it.”

It turned into a huge project. They started on Thursday, March 19, filmed bands right through Saturday and have been in production ever since.

The first concert, released this past Saturday, March 28, was with the Krishna Guthrie Band. They are a hard rockin’, folk-and-blues band comprised of Krishna Guthrie and Bobby Maguire, Nicky Fitz, Josh LaFave and Josh Cote. Each of their individual styles blends together to give you something truly unique.

Guthrie said, “People are starved for music. Maybe there’s not much money in it now but you as an artist need to play music, there’s something in you that dies a little if you’re not.”

Cote said, “The more music we make, the more we can bring people together and as long as we’re bringing people together, we’ll get through whatever gets thrown at us. Now more than ever, play music. Whether you’re sitting at home live streaming with the ukulele or you’re able to come do things like this, whatever you can do, do it. Contribute and keep the art alive.”

A Sound Space has everything a band could want. Instead of  just recording on your cell phone, you get a fully produced concert. The patron gets to watch a concert while sitting in their living room.

Nostrand’s production team consists of himself, Jared Johnson and Cote, Magnum PA audio; Jason Bayne, Chrome Yellow Audio; Mike Mitrano, Dark Shadows Entertainment and Guthrie.

Nostrand said, “None of this would be possible without Jared and Krishna has definitely been more than ‘The Talent.’ Mike is an amazing lighting guy that travels the country. One night he may be doing a Michael Franti show and then The Ice Capades.”

This coming Saturday’s concert, April 4, is with Ben Fuller, a country singer from Perkinsville,Vermont, who recently moved to Nashville. I saw him last summer at the Brandon Carnival and, although I’m not a big country music fan, I thoroughly enjoyed his show. His music is powerful and there’s a message in every song.

Fuller said he has set out to tell the truth and does that with his music: “I’ve set this bar for myself to be completely real and completely transparent.”

He speaks openly about his sobriety and his faith in God. “I’ve been able to reach people through honesty. It’s amazing how relatable you can be telling such a selfish story of the stuff I’ve been through.”

Fuller enjoyed his experience at A Sound Space. He said, “It was laid back, simple. It’s all ready to go. It was easy. It’s really catered to the artist. They were super kind. I really love what they’re doing with this kind of thanksgiving approach to music now. They clearly have a huge passion to music. They’re making it easier for all of us to get a little something in our pockets so we can all eat.”

Fuller was home to play some CD release shows as he just released his first, “Witness,” which he’s been working on for 11 months. Nostrand said, “He’s amazing. He came in and kind of blew our doors off. We shot him right before they announced the Stay at Home thing.”

The following two weeks will be with Discavus and Nostrand. Somewhere between the virtuosity of the likes of George Duke and Billy Cobham and the groove based funk of Vulfpeck lies Discavus.

“We don’t need producers and million dollar ad campaigns to make you dance. We provide our audiences with a truly unique musical journey from the first downbeat to the last,” said members Josh Cote on guitar, Nicky Fitz on drums and Josh Rodgers on bass.

Nostrand is a singer-songwriter through and through. Sit back on your porch and have a beer. He will be right there with you. His colloquial, story-telling style is relatable and popular across genres of folk, bluegrass, country and rock listeners.

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