Meet Spencer Lewis, the Next Winter Concert Series Performer
One thing I didn’t give a lot of thought to when I agreed to write about the Winter Concert Series in my columns was how quickly the month between each concert goes by. When people crack open the paper and (hopefully) read this column, the date will be February 21, 12 days after the last concert and 16 days before the next. Just two weeks and change! I better get writing.
OK, that last bit was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m going to spend some keystrokes to introduce you to Spencer Lewis. He is a guitarist and violinist who lives in Bethel. Though he’s not a native Vermonter, he’s been here since he graduated high school in 1971. According to Spencer, he has been performing for over 40 years and releasing albums since the late 1980s. To date, he has 25 to his credit and has sold over 130,000 units.
Spencer refers to his music as “reflective instrumental folk grooves that paint the rural landscape and quiet the mind.” I have three comments on that.
First, Dave Richardson, our last performer, described himself as a folk singer/songwriter. Having listened to both Dave and Spencer, I realize that the term "folk," when applied to music, is deep and wide. Yes, both men's music is reflective, both play guitar, and both admire older folk singers like Pete Seeger, but their takes on folk music are quite different.
Second, when Dave and I spoke, he was explicit about how rural living influenced his songwriter, Spencer was not. However, if you listen to his music, you’ll understand what he means when he says “paint the rural landscape.”
Third, listening to Spencer’s music, as I am while writing this, my mind is quiet—no exaggerated claim there. That peace gives me the ability to focus on writing. Since writing is my full-time job, and I’m busy right now, I know I’ll be listening to a lot of Spencer.
I mentioned that Spencer plays both guitar and violin, and he will be playing both at the third of the winter concerts. Though he is one man with only two arms, like the rest of us, we will hear both in his music at the same time. Using a technique called live looping, he’s able to be his own backup musician on the spot. He explained it to me, and it sounds fascinating. I can’t wait to hear it.
Spencer will have some friends performing with him. He’ll be joined by Kevin Wright who plays the slide guitar and sings, as well as our friend, fellow Readingite, and the linchpin in making these concerts a success Niles Franc. He’ll be playing the upright bass.
Like Dave and Still Hill, Spencer is committed to giving back to the community. When I asked him why he does benefit shows like the Winter Concert Series, he told me that musicians like him are “first humanitarians, second musicians.” He also said we are all in this together. In a place as small as Vermont, there’s no denying that.
One final note about Spencer and my impression of what I think this concert will be like. He also refers to his music as “folk that rocks.” To me, that sounds like this show will be a mix of what we’ve already had the pleasure of hearing. I think it will be 1 part Still Hill, 1 part Dave Richardson, and 100% awesome!
If you want to learn more about Spencer and hear his music, you can go to his website SpencerLewisMusic.com. You can also follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/spencer.lewis.503.
As a reminder, the Reading Winter Concert Series benefits four local organizations: the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading PTO, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, and Upper Valley WISE.
Admission is $10 for adults. Children 15 and under are free.
The show is March 9 from 7pm to 9pm. Mark your calendars. I hope to see you there!
You know what’s happening even before Spencer’s show? Town meeting! It’s hard to believe it’s just a week from this Saturday, or March 2. It starts at 9:30 at the Reading Elementary School. Then the vote for the Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District budget happens on Tuesday, March 5, at Town Hall. The polls are open from 7am to 7pm. The town reports are available now around town. I saw a stack of them at the library, so grab a copy and read up.
Happy birthday to Curt Allen (February 23), Mercedes Tremblay (February 24), Miles vonUnwerth (February 25), and Cyrus Harkins (February 27).
That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!
This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on February 21, 2019.