Cider Mag Winter 2015 Issue 52 - Page 23

TWEED RIVER MUSIC FESTIVAL July 31 - Aug. 2 given the several projects he is always working on. Thayer’s latest album, Sundowser, was released the week prior to Tweed and was celebrated by all in attendance. This was the first album ever recorded in Thayer’s self-built studio, which is solar powered. The walls and windows of his studio were salvaged from other construction projects, while the trees that had been grown on the property were used in the timber frame. Thayer has added ‘inventor’ to his list of skills with the creation of the Bojotar, which made its recording debut on Sundowser. The Bojotar is part banjo, part resonator guitar, and part electric guitar. Thayer explained, “I found myself more and more as either a frustrated guitar player trying to play banjo or a banjo player trying to play it like a guitar and lugging several instruments to gigs. The Bojotar was born out of necessity.” The Bojotar was built partly from the support of a friend and fellow Vermont musician, Joey Leone. Thayer shared his invention with Leone while the two were playing a gig together, and he soon found himself on the phone with Michael Robinson, President of Eastwood Guitars. They shipped Thayer a box of parts to experiment with and the end result was modified into Eastwood/Airline’s Bojotar. Thayer’s currently working on his next album with his new band (not Perfect Trainwreck), a tribute to Dock Boggs and Mississippi Fred McDowell, a project that is perfectly suited for the Bojotar. He is joined by Alex Abraham on upright bass and JD Tolstoi on organ. Thayer explained that his drummer, Jeff Berlin, suffered a stroke, but is determined to make a one-hundred percent recovery. With this in mind, Thayer requests that those with high blood pressure see their doctor and do something about it. Including Thayer’s set on the Main Stage on Saturday, Tweed River 2015 consisted of over 30 acts. Some of the performers had found out their friends were playing at Tweed River, so they insisted on joining in on the lineup, too. Following his European tour, Christopher Paul Stelling did exactly this. Beyond Stelling’s first appearance at Tweed River, other performances by Smith & Weeden, L​ydia Loveless, W​aylon Speed, JP Harris and the Wrong Reasons, J​esse Dee, and Caitlin Canty​were new to the 2015 lineup as well. Returning performances came from Tim Gearan, Andrea Gillis, White Dynomite, Joe Fletcher, and The Curtis Mayflower. The festival was intimate, not because of the lineup or the number of attendees, but more from the fact that the musicians didn’t just show up for the day of their set and leave when it was over. Instead, many planned to spend time with friends and good music. Essentially, Tweed River is a reunion. As for the layout of the Waitsfield location, it was impossible to find a bad view of the Main Stage. The easy up tents that were set up along the perimeter Winter • 2015 made it nice to hide away in the shade. Just that in and of itself, made those feel fortunate to be at this small music festival scene during the heat wave. At larger festivals these details are impossible to come across due to space restrictions. The crowds bake out in the sun, often without even getting a glimpse of a real life performer. The balancing act for festivals like this one comes in making it better, but not necessarily bigger; striving to keep it family friendly and promoting individualism as much as community. When asked if there were any acts that stuck out, Thayer mimicked my thoughts. “The Wiles (Lula Wiles) sincerely blew me away and Dan Blakeslee is always a real treat,” he said. Thayer continued, “Most bands project their sound and they broadcast their message. What the Wiles did was kind of the opposite. They aren’t trying to push their music. They invite people and if they like it, they listen a little closer.” The collaborations and late night campfire popup sets contributed to the unique vibe of the Tweed River Music Festival. The musicians gathered along with their fans to create a stellar crowd and a sense of community that is often absent at larger festivals. As many of the fans were also performers there was little observable divide between the two. Fans were invited to join the artists aboard the Tweed River Bus, a chill hang out spot where a few people even received tattoos over the weekend. Musicians seemed to get a second wind as they gathered around the campfire with their stringed instruments and treated us to collaborations that continued well into the wee hours. It is this type of pop-up collaboration that Thayer would like to see continue and grow in coming years. As Thayer plans for the next Tweed River Music Festival he says, “I want to keep going forward, making it better.” ■ *Tweed River Photo Gallery By Rich Gastwirt • CIDER MAG • 23