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Free and Live - Three Days of Music at the Cotton Mill


Three days of extraordinary music are scheduled during the 18th Annual Cotton Mill Open Studio and Holiday Sale Friday–Sunday, December 2-4, 74 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, VT.

Daniel Ehrenberg is providing a venue for five top-notch musicians at his Aegis Art Work Studio on the 3rd floor of the mill. The line-up of performers is so outstanding that you just might want to return each day for continued musical enjoyment. The performances in Ehrenberg's studio are free and space is limited, so plan your time.

As a warm up to Vermont Jazz Center's annual celebration, head up to Ehrenberg's studio on Friday to listen to well-known country blues singer/guitarist, Scott Ainslie. Armed with a variety of instruments – vintage guitars, a fretless gourd banjo, a one-string, homemade diddley bow (aka cigar box guitar) and carefully chosen historical personal anecdotes of his encounters with senior musicians across the South – Ainslie brings the history, roots music, and sounds of America alive. His performances present a wonderful palette of sounds and stories that will delight the ear, awaken the mind, and satisfy the heart. He has six solo CDs to his name and maintains an active recording, performing, and teaching schedule that carries him around the country, to Canada, and to Europe. Ainslie will perform 4:30 and 6:30.

Put on your dancing shoes on Friday evening 8:00pm – 11:00pm for the Vermont Jazz Center's annual celebration to raise money for their scholarship fund. This year the VJC's 17-piece big band pays tribute to one of the greatest jazz singers of all time: Ella Fitzgerald. Vocal diva Wanda Houston will present classic songs from Ella’s repertoire with the big bands of Basie, Ellington, Goodman, Webb and others. Tickets are required for this performance. http://vtjazz.org/

Michael J. Hertz, Jesse Lepkoff and Sunny Lowdown will be offering FREE performances in Daniel Ehrenberg's Aegis Art Work Studio on Saturday, from 11:00 – 3:00.

Begin Saturday with veteran fingerpicker, Michael J. Hertz, who will be playing acoustic country blues and covering songs by blues legends Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie McTell and others. Hertz recently appeared at Roots on the River, the Guilford Fair several times, as well as local venues–Putney Inn, Alici's and the Windham Wine Bar. His performance is 11:00–1:00.

Jesse Lepkoff will follow with a performance 1:00 – 2:00. His songs have multifaceted influences, which make them both familiar and unique. He grew up playing guitar listening to blues, jazz, bossa nova and ragtime. As a flautist he has played medieval, renaissance and baroque music. Lepkoff writes in styles that reflect these influences. They can have the sophistication of art song, or the knee slapping earthiness and humor of 30’s jazz and blues song. His lyrics can be funny or romantic, poetic or ironic depending on the song. Whatever genre he chooses, his music is sure to surprise and delight. Lepkoff has recorded two CDs of his original songs,”View of the Past” and “I’ll Call it Ecstasy.”

Last, but not least on Saturday's schedule, is some raw, deep blues by Sunny Lowdown. “I like my music raw, and then I cook it up,” he says. “But I never over cook it." Lowdown draws from the music of his favorite blues musicians: John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jesse Mae Hemphill and R.L. Burnside. Don't miss out on the performance of this amazing guitarist from 2:00 –3:00.

Make your way up to Aegis Art Work studio on Sunday, 12:00 – 3:00 and listen to the music of Aura Shards, a Brattleboro Local Musical Duo consisting of Anders Burrows and Jed Blume. Playing all original compositions on Hand Pan and Tabla, as well as a few other accompanying instruments, Aura Shards creates a big, unique sound that is at once complexly rhythmic and richly tonal, as well as meditative and soothing. Combining very old (Tabla, Djembe, Didgeridoo) with very new (Hand Pan), Aura Shards is pressing new frontiers, and exploring the new, magical sound of the Hand Pan with a variety of complementary accompaniments.

The three days of free, live music are a special added attraction during the much anticipated 18th Annual Cotton Mill Open Studio and Holiday Sale. Take the opportunity to stop by for some listening pleasure between circus and dance performances, pottery demonstrations, tastings, catching a meal, visiting open studios and shopping from more than 50 gifted artists and artisans who offer their products for sale. Music CD's will be available to purchase for yourself, family and/or friends on your holiday shopping list. Don't miss this star-studded line-up of musicians. Visit thecottonmill.org for the list of artists, artisans and the schedule of all performances and demonstrations.

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