By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
You have three chances to see an amazing artist who is new to Killington but only one chance to eat a six course meal while doing so. Rivershed Killington will have Valerie Barretto performing Friday and Saturday, July 22 and 23, 6-9 p.m. She’s also performing that Sunday, July 24 from 5-8 p.m., the soundtrack to a six-course inspired journey through fresh takes on traditional Nashville fare like hot chicken and waffle cones, deconstructed gumbo, BarbeCuterie and more. Each course will be paired with a Maine Beer Company tasting. Valerie is from the south shore in Boston, Rivershed also has two Massachusetts locations and the Maine beer so it’s like the best of New England mixed with Nashville. July 24 promises to be a summer evening filled with BBQ, beer and beats. It’s going to be a yummy musical extravaganza.
After speaking to Valerie Barretto, I’m excited to see her perform and I know you will, too. Barretto plays original music that’s on the country/Americana/folk side and plays covers, too. She said, “I like to keep things fun. I’m definitely a vocalist, above anything else. I like anything from classic rock to modern music and pop. I’m all over the place with my set list. I love requests so anyone that gives me a request, I love that. It’s a really solid smattering, just a good mix that caters to everybody. It’s a fun time. I like to have the crowd interact with me.” Barretto has played at both Massachusetts locations but this is her first time to Killington. She loves everything about Rivershed, she said: “They definitely have a cool aesthetic and their menu is awesome.”
She plans on bringing her paddle board so I directed her to Kent Pond and the Chittenden Reservoir. If you see her lost out there, help her out and then you can make an early request.
In the country world, she’s a big fan of Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers. For classic rock, she loves Fleetwood Mac, especially Stevie Nicks and Elton John. She plays a lot of Fleetwood Mac and said she gets those requests all the time. She’s bummed she missed out on seeing Elton in concert.
Barretto will be turning 34 in August and has been musical since as long as she can remember. She took formal voice lessons when she was 13. She went to Umass-Dartmouth for music and has a bachelor’s degree in classical vocal performance.
She said, “It was a great program there with wonderful professors. I loved it.”
She’s been playing guitar since high school and added, “I don’t consider myself a guitarist whatsoever. I play guitar because I don’t want to sing a capella.”
She started gigging after college and has been “full steam ahead” since Covid.
Her father passed away in July 2020. Obviously we were experiencing Covid time, so many people, not just musicians, were reevaluating their lives. She was one of those people, saying “Life’s too short. Am I doing what I love?” She hadn’t played music for a few years and knew that he would want her to. She knew she had to start gigging and writing again.
Barretto reflected a bit more and added, “I know it’s something my dad would be proud of. I give him the hand on kinda being the big inspiration on that.”
She has her first full-length album, with all her originals, coming out in September and will be having a CD Release Party on Sept. 8 with a full band at Soundcheck Studios in Pembroke, Mass. She said, “It’s been a work in progress. It’s finally all coming into fruition. I’m very excited to finally get my music out there and have people listen, download, stream, etc. It’s going to be a fun summer with a big party at the end of it.”
She worked on the album with Sean McLaughlin of 37’ Productions in Rockland, Mass. She’s very happy with the help she got from him and said, “He’s a phenomenal guy. He and I got along really well. He was a big help in bringing all my music to life. He was a lot of fun to work with and I definitely plan on working with him again.”
Her album is titled “Hurt & Healing.” Barretto said, “It’s all about breakups and getting back together. Finding yourself again after heartbreak. Going full-circle and finding love again. It’s one big story which I try and incorporate in my music. I would love to be known as a lyricist as far as storytellers go. Every song comes from some personal experience. I try and tell the story in a funny way or a sentimental way. Each song is a story from start to finish. I think and hope people will enjoy it.”
Valerie Barretto said song writing is a science, almost. “I’ve always kept journals, written poetry. Working with Sean has opened my mind to the structure of it.”
She likes that Miranda Lambert holds nothing back which has inspired some of her songs.
This is a full-time job for her. She said, “I’m glad I’ve been able to make it work and support myself on just music. I forget that I’m getting paid sometimes. I feel blessed I’m able to do what I love. Not a lot of people get to do that. I can’t imagine myself ever doing anything else. If I had to go back to an office job, I’d be so depressed. I love singing for people and sharing with them what I love the most. It’s not a job to me. It’s just something that makes me so happy. I feel I’m my truest self in those three hours, or however long the gig is. Having people enjoy it is an added bonus. It’s an awesome feeling. With my own music coming out, I hope I can just go further and further, maybe a mini-tour. Just see where it goes.”
For more information on Barretto, check out her website valeriebarrettomusic.com.