BENNINGTON -- Before eventually producing ten highly acclaimed albums and living the life of his dreams, Vance Gilbert was an ex-multicultural arts teacher that enjoyed going to open mic nights. As luck would have it, word spread quickly through the clubs in the Northeast and he became such a draw that artists such as Shawn Colvin took note. In 1992 Colvin invited Gilbert to be a special guest on her Fat City tour and he took the audiences by storm. "With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener" wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from that tour. Gilbert has never looked back.
"When we were looking for performers for this summer's series, I kept being drawn to Vance" commented Shirley Hutchins, gallery director and performance coordinator at the Center. "He had received such great reviews and in all of his videos, not only was his sound beautiful but he was so entertaining and charismatic. It was clear the audiences just loved him."
After touring with Colvin, Gilbert produced three albums for the Rounder/Philo label - Edgewise (1994), Fugitives (1995), and Shaking Off Gravity (1998). These discs were followed by Somerville Live (2000), lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc "young songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams," and One Thru Fourteen (2002), a stylistically varied offering that New York's Town and Village called "lively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending." Gilbert followed those with four more discs, one of which, Unfamiliar Moon, was #4 in the Boston Globe's Top 10 CDs of the year. His year and a half on the road with George Carlin lead up to his recording, Up on Rockfield.
His thoughtful and often humorous lyrics, beautiful guitar playing and storytelling abilities have made Gilbert a highly respected entertainer and a requested name by artists such as Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, and the late George Carlin.
Gilbert's show starts at 8:00 pm this Saturday night, July 27. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and can be purchased at The Bennington Center for the Arts or on BrownPaperTickets.com.
Also on Saturday the editor of the national fine art magazine Fine Art Connoisseur will be at The Bennington Center for the Arts, announcing the award winners for the show he juried last month. Peter Trippi selected the pieces that are included in the fourth annual Laumeister Fine Art Competition and he will be on hand to talk about the pieces at a reception that will take place from 4 - 6 pm. The show runs until Oct.6 and includes artists from around the states.
Additionally, the art center will introduce its iPad Mini Tour. iPads can now be checked out free of charge upon arrival and used to hear information about the work the visitor is viewing. Select pieces from the Native American collection are discussed by the staff and many of the artists from the Laumeister Fine Art Collection have participated in the audio tour for that show, giving the visitor the opportunity to hear the artists, in their own voices, talk about their work.
Other performances this summer include Pearl and the Beard, a young trio out of New York City that uses not only vocals but a multitude of instruments to mesmerize audiences; Samite, a world-renowned musician from Uganda; Shieling will bring the traditional Celtic sound back to The Bennington; Cordis fuses custom made and traditional instruments for a unique chamber sound; the Russian Duo will play the balalaika and the piano to share the classical traditions of Russian music.
For more information go to www.TheBennington.org or call 802-442-7158. The Bennington Center for the Arts is a non-profit art facility located on Vermont Route 9 just west of downtown Bennington.