The Jock Of Rock Presents: Vermont's Own Duane Carlton
Bellows Falls, Vt. June, 2012
RUTLAND, VT. - Many reading this I am sure, already know the home-grown talents of Duane Carlton because of his seemingly endless contributions to the music scene throughout the Green Mountain State. In fact, one needs a scorecard to keep track of the singer/songwriter/guitarist's musical escapades over the years… but we'll give it the ole' college try!
Photos by Joe Milliken 1. Duane finds a groove at the 1st Annual Cider Awards in Bellows Falls, Vt. 2. Duane and band mate Jeff Poremski performing at the Cider Awards 3. Duane receives his Cider "Lifetime Achievement Award."
Since the release of his (I believe) 13th CD titled Rust in 2011, Duane has been one busy guitarist, performing shows as Duance Carlton and The Backwoods Messiahs, which also features Jeff Poremski on bass and vocals, Jerry Dubeau on keyboards and vocals and Gary Spaulding on drums. "We are Vermont's own working class band with the mission of providing 'more rock for your buck,'" Duane said in a recent interview.
On any given night, however, you can also find Duane in any number of venues, bars, pubs and restaurants throughout the region, performing with any number of musicians and genres… in other words, the man gets around. "Recently, I wound up the ski season with a great show with the Backwoods Messiahs at the Pickle Barrel in Killington, and we followed that up with a well-attended acoustic show - a rare format for us - to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in South Station's Banquet Hall in Rutland."
Carlton and The Messiahs have also been enjoying a regular gig at 3D's in Rutland, while Duane and band mate Poremski have also performed shows as a duo at Jax in Killinton. "We also opened for Toots and The Maytals over the winter, and I have been playing some solo gigs in Killington, Pico, Stowe, Franklin's in Proctor, The Clear River Tavern in Pittsfield, Pub 42 in Rutland and KC Dubliner in Burlington."
The aforementioned Rust was launched with a kick-ass CD release party at the aforementioned Clear River Tavern and featured Duane and the Messiahs performing the entire 13-track CD from start to finish. The band also documented the event on film and posted it on their Web site. "Rust is an Americana concept album," Duane said. "Think, if Neil Young made "Dark Side Of The Moon"… that was my intention, anyway."
The concept is about loss and is dedicated to the family farmer, chronicling the struggles of small town, working-class America. "I could not be happier with this album. From the cover art by renowned Vermont artist Richard Leach, to the performances by the musicians, to the production and engineering at The Recording Company (Esperance, New York) and Southview Arts (Middletown Springs, Vermont), I feel that my vision of the record was fully realized."
The CD received rave reviews from various scribes throughout the state and in fact, Duane would go on to receive a string of local awards including a Times-Argus Tammie Award for "Best Vermont Rock Album," as well as Cider Mag awards for "Lifetime Achievement" and "Favorite Guitarist." However, just two weeks after the CD had been released, Vermont was slammed by Tropical Storm Irene, causing devastation throughout the state. Which is a little bit ironic when one considers part of the concepts behind Rust being "loss" and "dedicated family farmers."
"All hail the Vermont fighting spirit," Duane would post on his Web site just days after the storm. "Vermont got pounded by Irene and everyone immediately bonded together to dig out and survive… I love my state and my friends!" And Duane would certainly do his part to help the cause, setting up benefit shows within a week in Pittsfield and Killington dubbed the "In-State Island Tour."
Moving forward, Duane has a lot of cool stuff lined up for the summer, including two more acoustic shows with The Backwoods Messiahs, one of which will be a tribute to The Last Waltz. "I am a big fan of The Band and have performed with Rick Danko a number of times, and Garth Hudson appeared on my American Boy CD," Duane added.
The band will also be doing some shows at 3D's and Jax throughout the summer , and Duane also has a number of shows booked in Connecticut as well. "I will also be performing at a benefit concert for Vermont Adaptive Services which is being organized by Long Trail Brewing."
Yup, this is just another of the many reasons why Carlton receives such awards for "lifetime achievement," because not only is he a great musician and band leader, but Duane is also a great person, willing to lend his talents and a helping hand to fellow Vermonters for many years and I am sure, many more to come.
So, with all this being said, there's still more to the "smiling collie's" (his email addy, I love that!) music journey, therefore, I encourage you to check out Duane's Web site to view his prolific discography and impressive list of collaborations. I mean... I didn't even tell you about the deal he signed a few years ago with a Los Angeles-based company to license his music for movies and television! www.duanecarleton.com.