On February 2, 2023

Local folk-rock bands return to West Rutland

Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.— WEST RUTLAND — Two noted Rutland musicians will return and team up for an evening of rock and roots, when George Nostrand and Phil Henry each brings his own band to West Rutland. The two bands, called George’s Back Pocket and Phil Henry and the News Feed, will present a concert at the West Rutland Town Hall this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

On Feb. 1 of 2020, the two bands performed at the same location, with no idea what the coming weeks would bring. It was the last time either would play with their bands for quite some time due to to the pandemic. Last fall the two met and decided returning to the West Rutland Town Hall would be both meaningful and fun.

“The 2020 show seems like a decade ago,” said Nostrand. “I think we’re at the point where it’s important for people to get out and experience live music. Things are not back to what they were prior to the pandemic and may never be, but people need live music and musicians need to play.”

Nostrand and Henry have been friends and collaborators for many years. Henry has produced albums and videos with Nostrand, while Nostrand, in turn, has consulted and aided Henry in promotion and music business. Both have stayed busy with various projects but are excited to share a real stage and appreciative audience again.

George Nostrand has been a fixture of the Rutland music scene, leading a rotating cast of the area’s best musicians that he calls George’s Back Pocket. Over the years many local musicians have taken the stage with GBP, but it would be inaccurate to call it a pick-up band or project. This is because he pulls in professional level musicians who love to play and have been doing it for years. His songs are infectious and written with a band in mind. This show’s lineup is completely different than in 2020, which should come to no surprise. The line-up features Jesse Peters on guitar, Ryan Dubois on bass, and Aaron Normand on drums. 

“George’s shows are a high-wire act,” praised Henry. “You really don’t know what you’re in for, but you know it’s going to be fun.”

Phil Henry is a music educator, music and video producer, and singer-songwriter. While local performances are rare, his music has taken him to Northeast coffeehouses such as Club Passim and Caffe Lena, and festivals as far away as Texas. He crafts old-school story songs with strange, beautiful chords and a big acoustic sound. His new ensemble, Phil Henry and the News Feed, features Brendan Coyle on drums and Mitch Barron on upright and fretless bass. The band offers audiences layered textures of sound, Seven Days calls the sound “vivid lyrical imagery that captures the imagination.”

“I’m constantly telling people Phil is hands down one of the best songwriters out there,” said Nostrand. “I’ve been a fan since I reviewed his first CD for the Herald and feel privileged to work with him.”

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, at the West Rutland Town Hall Auditorium, located at 35 Marble St. in West Rutland. Doors open at 7 p.m. The hall is wheelchair accessible. Tickets are available in advance at Eventbrite for $15 in advance, and at the door for $20. Premiere passes are available for $30, which includes preferred seating, meet-and-greet, and some sweet George-and-Phil merchandise.

Ticket at: FebruaryThawII.eventbrite.com.

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