Spotlight On: Better Festival Featured Artist The Suitcase Junket

One-man band The Suitcase Junket will be a featured artist at this year's Better Festival Saturday, June 18, at Better Farm in Redwood.

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz, a Vermont-born musician, visual artist, and tinkerer. His artistic vision is one of salvaged and repurposed objects, throat-singing, and original music.

"I'm interested in the hidden voices that reside within things: the songs stuck inside instruments, the story behind the object, the mysterious weight of a word, the harmonic sequence that's in every note waiting to be broken as light through a prism."

Lorenz tours The Suitcase Junket nationally playing on festival stages and city street corners, in concert halls and dive bars, in living rooms and listening rooms. The sound isn't easy to pin into a genre, but The Suitcase Junket is often likened to Tom Waits, The Black Keys and Andrew Bird.

His instruments include a resurrected dumpster-diamond guitar, an old oversized suitcase, a hi-hat, a gas-can baby-shoe foot-drum, a cookpot-soupcan-tambourine foot-drum, a circular-saw-blade bell and a box of bones and silverware that operate much like a hi-hat. He pounds out rhythms with his feet and his twang-and-buzz guitar growls through a couple of old tube amps. On top of all this is the ethereal edge of his overtone throat-singing.

In support of Lorenz's unusual instrumentation, betterArts will host a free workshop during the afternoon of Better Festival helping people of all ages upcycle everyday objects to make instruments.

The Suitcase Junket will perform at Better Festival from 4:30-6 p.m. The band's latest album, Dying Star, was released in March and is available here. Also be sure to check out The Suitcase Junket On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @suitcasejunket.

For more information about Better Festival and to Order tickets, click here.

Better Festival This Saturday!

Better Festival, the annual open house, fundraiser, and alumni weekend for Better Farm and betterArts, is slated from 12-8 p.m. this Saturday, June 21, 2014. 

All money raised at the annual music, sustainability, and arts festival will directly fund art- and sustainability-related community outreach initiatives in and around Redwood. 


The day-long event features live performances by local and regional bands, a gallery showcasing artwork by painters, sculptors, photographers, and more, booths featuring art and handmade items for sale, tours of the Better Farm campus, information about Better Farm and betterArts 2014 programming, arts 'n' crafts for kids (and adults!), freshly prepared and locally sourced food, a refreshments tent, games, bouncy castle, and more! 

To introduce betterArts' latest endeavor Better Radio, there will be a booth set up for people to create content for that station. Music will also be recorded for live-streaming and podcasts. For complete information, be sure to visit www.betterarts.org/better-festival. Here's what the lineup looks like for Saturday:
Musical Lineup
1 p.m. MIND THE GAP
2 p.m. THE BAD HUSBANDS CLUB
4 p.m. NORTHERN BLEND CHORUS
5 p.m. FOX RICHARDSON
6 p.m. THE MIGHTY HIGH and DRY
8 p.m. OPEN JAM (all musicians invited on-stage to play)
 

Confirmed Vendors
Artists
Sponsors
Camping for the weekend is available for $10/nigh/person. Reserve a spot early by emailing info@betterfarm.org. RSVP to the event here.

The Latest from Artist-in-Residence Mike Brown

Artist-in-Residence Mike Brown has been penning stories and writing songs at Better Farm since 2010. He's uploaded some new content to his YouTube channel you're officially invited to check out.



Here's the track "Spaceling":

 ...and here's "This is the Dream":

...and "Axes":



To learn more about the betterArts residency program, click here.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Dear John

betterArts resident Traveling John penned a farewell to the North Country yesterday before bidding adieu and continuing his adventure in New York City for a week before heading back to Sweden.

John's visit brought original, new music to the Redwood community in a live concert; offered him the unparalleled experience of a North Country winter; and gave betterArts the opportunity to offer an artist exposure, press, and experience with radio broadcasting, community outreach, interviewing with media outlets, and more.

Here's John's goodbye, in his own words. We wish him all the very best—and expect to see him (and other artists he's connected to) soon...
In the Tunes 92.5 studio.
Goodbye for now beautiful people of Redwood and BetterArts!

It has been a a little bit over a month since I arrived to Redwood for my Artist Residency, it's been amazing. I'm now heading for NYC for a short amount of time before flying back to Sweden.

The BetterArts crew has not only given me the peace and quiet and inspiration to concentrate on writing songs. They have also worked on getting me in the newspapers and the radio and have given me the exposure that is comparable to what a promotion agency would do, amazing:
Feature piece on the front page of Watertown Daily Times' Currents section
Interview and live studio time on Tunes 92.5 FM
In addition to this they've been the key to making my first concert happening here.

I've felt incredibly welcome and accepted by the great people in the little town of Redwood. Check out BetterArts more through this link http://www.betterarts.org/, I highly recommend this place if you're and artist in any way and you would like to get away to concentrate on your creative work.

Thank you all for the laughs, talks, drinks and sing-a-longs. I'm looking forward to come back and see you all again when it's warmer, without all that stupid snow.

Love/John


To learn more about the betterArts residency program, click here.
John Dunsö with Timothy Sweeney at Tunes 92.5 studio.
Better Farm chickens Kiwi, left, and Rapunzel. Photo/John Dunsö
Kobayashi Maru looks out from Better Farm's deck. Photo/John Dunsö

Cake by Mollica Bakery.
Watertown Daily Times article about John.
Nicole Caldwell, left, and John Dunsö.
John Dunsö, left, and AmberLee Clement.
Carl Frizzell, left, and John Dunsö.
Better Farm. Photo/John Dunsö
Scott Smith, left, and John Dunsö.
John's song-writing space at Better Farm.
John Dunsö volunteering at this year's North Country Goes Green Irish Festival.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

NYC Band Jounce Partners with Better Farm for Seed Share, Rock Show

An Earth Day concert April 22 at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City will feature a seed exchange to benefit Better Farm.

Headlining act Jounce, a New York City-based band playing experimental and improvisational rock, will be joined by Men and Whales and The Heaven's Jail Band. Attendees will have the opportunity to bring along or purchase organic seeds at the venue to be donated to Better Farm for use in our Sustainability Education Program and community outreach initiatives, including the Redwood Community Greenhouse.



Jounce draws on musical influences like The Slip, the Benevento Russo Duo, and Tortoise. Jounce is not your normal touring ensemble. Consisting of Dan Tamberelli on bass, Matt DeSteno on guitar, and Quinn Blandford on drums, the band is a mainstay at bars, clubs, music halls, colleges and festivals up and down the eastern United States, consistently consistently building buzz and refining their presence in both the live and studio settings.

For their April 22 show at Brooklyn Bowl, they The show is free before 7 p.m. After 7, tickets are $7 (cash only). Show starts at 8 p.m. For more information about the show, click here.

Learn more about Jounce at the following links:

Links:
http://www.jounce.org/
www.facebook.com/jouncemusic
www.youtube.com/jouncemusic
www.twitter.com/jounce

Brooklyn Bowl is located at 61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn N.Y., 11249. If you would like to bring seeds to donate to Better Farm, please be sure to bring only organic products!
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Local Act 'Bad Husbands Club' Added to Better Festival Roster

Bad Husbands Club perform at Chippewa's ice-fishing derby in February.
The Bad Husbands Club has been added to the stunning Better Festival roster for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at Better Farm.

The Bad Husbands Club is a rock and blues band formed in 2000 by bassist/vocalist Len Senecal. The band has had many incarnations leading up to the current one consisting of:

Emilie Cardinaux, keyboards/vocals
Bill Hill, bass and vocals 
Bryan Honeywell,  guitar and vocals
Bill McGillvray, drums
Glen Pickert, guitar and vocals
Len Senecal, bass/vocals
Anthony Ubriaco, guitar 

What started out as a party band has become a premier North-Country rock band. Playing cover songs from 5 decades and throwing in some originals (including the song that bears the band's name), the Bad Husbands Club is a crowd-pleaser that always leaves fans begging for more. 

The Bad Husbands Club will perform at 2 p.m. on the main stage at Better Festival, the annual open house, fundraiser, and alumni weekend for Better Farm and betterArts. All funds raised at the event will directly fund art- and sustainability-related community outreach initiatives in and around Redwood.
 
The day-long event features live performances by local and regional bands, a gallery showcasing artwork by painters, sculptors, photographers, and more, booths featuring art and handmade items for sale, tours of the Better Farm campus, information about Better Farm and betterArts 2014 programming, arts and crafts for kids (and adults!), freshly prepared and locally sourced food, a refreshments tent, games, bouncy castle, and more! To introduce betterArts' latest endeavor Better Radio, there will be a booth set up for people to create content for that station. Music will also be recorded for live-streaming and podcasts.
 
Camping is available for $10/person/night. Accommodations are available Friday through Monday, or any night therein.

The Bad Husbands Club covers everything from the Allman Brothers Band, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, the Stray Cats, Coldplay, Traffic, Clapton, the Clash, Neil Young, the Stones, Warren Zevon, the Tragically Hip, the Band, Santana, BTO, and even Johnny Cash. The group is always learning new stuff too—so you can expect to hear songs you love but don't hear every bar band play. No matter your musical taste or age, good music is good music!

Learn more about the Bad Husbands Club:
"Art is a jealous mistress; and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider."—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Introducing betterArts Resident John Dunsö


 
John Dunsö, a guitarist and singer from Malmo, Sweden, last week joined us Better Farm for a month-long betterArts residency.

He's  the former guitarist and back up vocalist from a Swedish pop band called Billie the Vision and the Dancers (check out their amazing music here!), a band that released five records while Dunsö was on board from 2004 on and toured extensively throughout Sweden and Europe. John left the band a few years ago to pursue his own, solo music; taking off to travel throughout South America and the United States, write, and gig. While he traveled, he wrote what would become the beginnings of his solo album.

During his betterArts residency, John is working on the completion of his solo album. He's also working all the marketing for these songs; which involves daily Skype calls to Swedish radio stations seeking placement. After this, he will go on tour and perform the album live. His goal is to start and finish at least two or three songs and record them to bring home to Sweden for proper studio recording.

So why choose a betterArts residency at Better Farm? This guy loves open space, and he loves physical work. Perfect for us! "I would so much want to avoid distractions and really concentrate and get inspired by other artists," he told us in his application. "When I traveled in South America I spent a lot of time working on farms far from the big cities. I wrote so much there, so I know that isolation together with physical farm work really helps my creativity."

Some of his work in South America included constructing a greenhouse at a place called Finca Biodinamica Cosmos out of the adobe straw-bale method:


Here's the short list of John's upcoming contributions during his time at Better Farm—all in addition to creating lots of wonderful music:
  • Cooking
  • Performing live at various locations throughout the North Country
  • Helping with assorted construction/demolition projects slated this month
  • Providing chicken care
  • Volunteering in kids' arts 'n' crafts room at North Country Goes Green Irish Festival March 15 and 16
We will be archiving his song tracks for distribution through Better Radio, on-air and online.

We'd like to extend the warmest welcome to John! Stop in at 8 p.m. Monday, March 24, at the Redwood Tavern to see John perform live! There is no cover charge for this performance.


To learn more about betterArts residencies and to apply, click here. The music video posted above was recorded in Saxemara, Sweden where John grew up. The video is mixed with old, filmed material his father shot of his family 26 years ago. 
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Headliners Announced for Better Festival June 21

We are pleased to announce The Mighty High & Dry as headliners for Better Festival 2014!

The Mighty High & Dry's music is rooted in soulful blues, funk, and jazz. The band is comprised of Chris Teal on drums, Kyle Vock (a Theresa native!) on bass, Alan Murphy on vocals, and Mike Frederick on guitar. Soaring off a recently released, self-titled debut, band members are in the process of recording their second album.

You can visit their page at Reverb Nation to hear some of their tracks—or come down to Better Farm June 21 for Better Festival and catch them at 6 p.m. live.

Here's the 411 on the festival:

Better Festival, the annual open house, fundraiser, and alumni weekend for Better Farm and betterArts, is slated from 12-8 p.m. Saturday, June 21, 2014.
 
All money raised at the annual music, sustainability, and arts festival will directly fund art- and sustainability-related community outreach initiatives in and around Redwood.
 
The day-long event features live performances by local and regional bands, a gallery showcasing artwork by painters, sculptors, photographers, and more, booths featuring art and handmade items for sale, tours of the Better Farm campus, information about Better Farm and betterArts 2014 programming, arts and crafts for kids (and adults!), freshly prepared and locally sourced food, a refreshments tent, games, bouncy castle, and more! To introduce betterArts' latest endeavor Better Radio, there will be a booth set up for people to create content for that station. Music will also be recorded for live-streaming and podcasts.
 
Camping is available for $10/person/night. Accommodations are available Friday through Monday, or any night therein.

Entrance to the festival is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. To volunteer, sponsor, donate, or otherwise get involved, please email info@betterarts.org.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

'Summerfest' This Saturday!

 
Image from Woodstock.com.

betterArts' Second Annual Summerfest kicks off at 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 17, at Better Farm in Redwood.

The free event, which features local vendors selling handmade goods, a gallery filled with art to enjoy and purchase, and half a dozen musical acts (plus a late-night jam session for anyone who would like to participate) is put on every year by betterArts in order to increase access to cultural opportunities in the North Country.

Because this is a free event, betterArts asks visitors to not bring their own refreshments onto festival grounds; but to instead show their support for free events like this by purchasing food and beverages at the on-site concession stand. That menu includes beer, wine, soda, juice, burgers (veggie and meat), hot dogs, and a variety of side dishes all homemade from the fresh produce growing at Better Farm. Attendees are also encouraged to bring along lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

All proceeds from concessions (and a percentage of all art and products sold by vendors) go directly toward arts and sustainability outreach in the North Country. Campsites are also available for overnight lodging at a rate of $10/person/night; please email info@betterfarm.org for further information.

The set schedule is as follows:

  • Stone White, 4:30 p.m.
  • The Aristocrats, 5:30 p.m.
  • Fox Richardson, 7:00 p.m.
  • Crow's Landing, 8:00 p.m.
  • Robert J. Finch, 9 p.m. 
  • The Great Fraud 10 p.m.
  • Open Jam 11 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. For the most up-to-date information and directions, visit www.betterarts.org/summerfest. RSVP here.

betterArts is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose purpose is to increase access to the arts in the North Country and beyond through the provisions of free and low-cost workshops, gallery openings, performances, festivals, and artist residencies. To learn more or to make a donation, visit www.betterarts.org.


Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Music Festival Set Aug. 17 at Better Farm

Image from This Song is Sick
betterArts presents its second music festival of the summer starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Better Farm in Redwood.

The event will feature live musical acts, including headliners The Aristocrats and The Great Fraud. Concession stands will offer food and beverages for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting arts and sustainability outreach in the North Country. Campsites are also available for overnight lodging at a rate of $10/person/night; please email info@betterfarm.org for further information.

The event is free and open to the public. For the most up-to-date information and directions, visit www.betterarts.org/summerfest.

The set schedule is as follows:
  • Stone White, 4:30 p.m.
  • Crow's Landing, 5:30 p.m.
  • Fox Richardson, 6:30 p.m.
  • The Aristocrats, 7:30 p.m.
  • Robert J. Finch, 9 p.m. 
  • The Great Fraud 10 p.m.
betterArts is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose purpose is to increase access to the arts in the North Country and beyond through the provisions of free and low-cost workshops, gallery openings, performances, festivals, and artist residencies. To learn more or to make a donation, visit www.betterarts.org.

Better Farm is located at 31060 Cottage Hill Road in Redwood, N.Y. Musical acts interested in performing are encouraged to email info@betterarts.org.



Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

The Tunes

Eight musical acts performed at Better Festival over the weekend, with many of the musicians staying on for an after-hours open jam in Better Farm's Art Barn to cap off the festivities.
We are still working on compiling video footage of the music from the weekend (please get in touch if you've got some you'd like to share), but wanted to give you a little preview. To kick things off, here's a short video montage one of the performers, Robert J. Finch, made:



Here's another one by Finch called "Welcome to Providence":


Capturing the crowd's heart in the late afternoon were AmberLee Clement, Erin Fulton, and Evan Wormwood. Here they are performing the Supremes classic "Where Did Our Love Go?":


...and "Say That You Love Me":


The Great Fraud came out and Tanisha Pusey brought the house down with her rendition of "Knocking on Heaven's Door":


The tunes carried on long into the evening (and following morning, and next afternoon, and the night after that). Here's a sneak peek at that insanity:


Thanks to all our musical acts:
Fox Richardson
Ian Wagner and Brian Purwin
AmberLee Clement, Erin Fulton, Evan Wormwood
Robert Finch
Adam Netto & the Zebra Musselz
Sarah Anne Ada
Corey Walts, North Country Idol Champion 2013
Aristocrats
The Great Fraud

Our genius sound technician over the weekend, Mike Breslin, is working on mastering downloadable MP3s from the event. Stay tuned for download/order information.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.