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PUTNEY — Nina Simone. Bonnie Raitt. Joni Mitchell. Brandi Carlile. Carole King. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Aretha. Susan Tedeschi. Stevie Wonder. The Wood Brothers. Blaze Foley. Bob Dylan, Lake Street Dive. Rubblebucket.

Kat Wright has no shortage of musical idols and influences, but one person stands above the rest. Her Pop.

“I have always been a music lover,” she declared in a recent email exchange. “I was very influenced by my father who loved all music, and to this day is still a big live music enthusiast. There was always music on in the house growing up. Music has always been a best friend of mine, a place of refuge, a place of reflection, a place to return to again and again.”

The Rochester, New York-bred, Burlington-based singer was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to entering the tough-to-make-it field of music making. “I didn’t discover until my early 20s that making music was something that could actually do. Professionally, though I always dreamed of it. I went to school for visual art, and it was during college that I got into playing open mics and singing around campfires with friends.”

Wright knew at the age of 8 that she wanted to be a singer, but lacked the confidence and encouragement to push through — until some guitar-playing friends in college nudged her to sing. And keep singing. “I never actually thought I could do it, so in a way it was more of a slow evolving process, an evolving realization.”

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Driven in part by the complications of practicing and performing in the COVID-era and in part by natural artistic growth, Wright’s music is also evolving, paring things down from a big band approach to being accompanied by an acoustic guitar (Bob Wagner) and upright bass (Josh Weinstein). “The formation of the trio came about just before COVID and during the lockdown when we were unable to tour and collaborate with our bigger band. We focused on pairing down our arrangements. We’ve ventured down a very rootsy, stripped down, laid bare, acoustic avenue.”

The trio will perform outdoors this Sunday afternoon in Putney.

“My current approach to playing live is to really connect with our audiences, lean into our deep feelings and hope that the audience feels things deeply too. … Lately, we’re really leaning into storytelling, songwriting and singing together in harmony, relying on space, craft, vulnerability and connection with the audience more than we ever had before.”

Next Stage Arts and Twilight Music present Kat Wright and her trio, plus Pete Bernhard as part of the 2021 Next Stage “Bandwagon Summer Series,” an outdoor, socially distanced concert series, on Sunday at 4 p.m. on the field behind the Putney Inn at 57 Putney Landing Road in Putney. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for outdoor seating. Tickets are $20 Advance / $25 At the door, and children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets are available online at nextstagearts.org. Next Stage will provide a cash bar. For more information, visit the website or call 802-387-0102.


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