Seattle-based singer-songwriter to play Madison's Saturday, May 9

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BENNINGTON >> For folk-rock singer-songwriter Ian McFeron, the best way to connect with audiences is to set up his gear, stand in front of them and play.

"If I have the opportunity to connect 'in the flesh' — we're human beings — that goes somewhere," said McFeron, who will play three one-hour sets at Madison Brewing Company Pub and Restaurant tonight. "I didn't see a substitute to being on the road," he added.

Since 2010, McFeron is on his tenth 12-week United States tour, totalling at least 840 days on the road. Before 2010, he was touring an 8,000-mile-loop in a 1971 Gillig school bus from where he lives in Seattle, down to Texas, through the western U.S. and back home. He and his fiddle player Alisa Milner wanted to try some venues east of the Mississippi River, a decision that will be bringing them to Madison's for the second time since October 2014.

McFeron has released seven studio albums, with his most recent two, "Radio" (2015) and "Time Will Take You" (2013) having been recorded in Nashville, TN by Grammy-nominated producer Doug Lancio. His musical style has elements of Americana, folk and piano-heavy singer-songwriting.

"I try to write songs that work on different levels," he said about his music. "My songs serve to reflect on things you often wonder about, taking abstract emotions and turning them into tangible objects. My questions aren't just mine. They're the listeners', too."

When McFeron and his band started performing on the East Coast, they only played in Burlington when passing through Vermont. One of his friends who now lives in Washington state grew up in Bennington, prompting him to visit for the first time.

"Every place has its unique sentiment about it. Some are very easy to connect with, and Bennington felt more immediate," McFeron said.

He played his first show in Bennington at the South Street Café a few years ago, followed by a performance at a local resident's house and then his show at Madison's last fall. He was happy to see familiar fans and supporters at his October show at Madison's.

"If you get enough old fans in the room, folks who are there for other reasons will notice," he said. Having played Madison's before, he approaches performing there with a certain attitude.

"At Madison's, you're using the songs and music and melodies to cast lines and poke people a little bit," he said. "Alisa [Milner] and I are enjoying that we're alive and can play our instruments for people. Even if it's a little chatty, if you're playing music it's a good day," he added.

McFeron will play one full set of music from his new album "Radio," and then two sets from earlier albums.

"The new material is fun just because it's new and because it represents the narration of where you are in life," he said.

Ian McFeron will play tonight — Saturday, May 9 — at Madison's from 7 to 10 p.m.

Music at Madison Brewing Company

Desiree Kipp, a bartender at Madison's, has booked a full lineup of musicians at the pub and restaurant through December 2015. She has been booking shows for the venue for the past three years.

Though she is personally more involved in local theatre than music, she enjoys the added responsibility and challenge of finding musical talent for Madison's.

"It's fun meeting new people — I've always liked that with bartending," Kipp said. "And so I enjoy meeting the visiting musicians. There's a lot of talent in Bennington alone."

She initially only reached out to local colleges to find musicians, but then touring musicians began to send her CDs, asking to play the pub. Otherwise, most of the musicians are from Bennington or surrounding towns like North Adams.

Kipp found out about McFeron from Nathan Meunier of the band Invisible Jams. Meunier played with McFeron last fall at Madison's, and told Kipp she needed to book McFeron and his band before they became famous.

"I don't think people realize how big he's becoming," Kipp said, "so it will be a treat to see how people respond."

Madison's hosts shows every Friday and Saturday night through the year. More information on its shows can be found at its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MadisonBrewingCo.

Jacob Colon can be reached at jcolon@benningtonbanner.com or (802) 447-7567 ext. 118.


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