Popolo brunch series opens with Rusty Belle, Break Maids



The thing to love about brunch is that it can go in so many gastronomical directions. It is certainly that way at Popolo in Bellows Falls, where their brunch menu includes the likes of Eggs Al Forno, Oat and Cornmeal Pancakes, Smoked Salmon Panini, Sausage & Egg Pizza, along with fried Italian pastries that you can wash down with Mimosas or Bloody Marys.

If you do brunch at Popolo this Sunday, you can indulge your tastebuds with their plethora of imaginative treats, while being serenaded by two imaginative musical trios, Rusty Belle and The Break Maids, while both of offer up a menu of Americana music with lots of flavors.

Music columnist Dan Bolles of Burlington's Seven Days took the food analogy further when he wrote that Rusty Belle "mashes genres as if they were tasty little sonic potatoes."

A British reviewer described the band's most recent record "Common Courtesy" as "a magnificent fusion of genres from country to rock and blues to ‘80s pop, creating a smoothie of liquid gold."

In a recent e-mail exchange I asked Zak Trojano, the band's guitarist, about their tasty and eclectic approach. "Rusty Belle's music has gone through lots of phases, and still does to a degree. We started with a ton of junk instrumentation -- cans and boxes of chains, wind chimes made of pipes and one string fiddles. We've since gotten a little more country and a little more rock-n-roll."

This week marked the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy as well as the anniversary of the recording of Common Courtesy. "(It) was actually recorded a year ago right in the midst of Hurricane Sandy" recalled Trojano. "Unbelievably, we managed to hold onto power in the studio for the whole session. We were just sitting and watching as places we love in New York got pummeled and we happened to be in this little Western Massachusetts bubble, in a studio, deep in a factory building, watching the wind when we stepped out for smoke breaks, feeling shaken-up and lucky all at once."

Trojano and brother/sister bandmates Kate and Matt Lorenz also felt lucky to have a great supporting cast in the studio. "We got to spend five days in the studio with our producer David "Goody" Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault) and Justin Pizzoferrato (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.), two very awesome people to have on your team" said Trojano. "Goody keeps things fresh, pushes and challenges us, and is a really good friend and producer, and Justin is just so solid and professional. He's helped us capture the ‘Rusty Belle sound' in exactly the right way."

"I think it's our best complete piece so far. It's got echoes of older Rusty Belle recordings, like on the gritty shout of ‘Devil in Your Smile' and the delicate bluegrass quality of ‘Words that Fit,' but there's a simplified knowing on this album that feels like we've grown up a little, too."

The group came together in Amherst, Mass., and has roots in Southern Vermont and New Hampshire is thrilled to be returning to brunch in Bellows Falls.

"We've played Popolo once before with The Break Maids (one of our favorite bands ever), and we all got to dine on delicious brunch foods and sparkly drinks in their beautiful little green room in the sunshine. We like rock star treatment. Popolo knows how to do it."

Rusty Belle plus The Break Maids play Sunday at Popolo, 36 The Square in Bellows Falls. For information, call 802- 460-7676 or visit popolomeanspeople.com. The Music At High Noon series features a concert, full brunch menu, and cash bar. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the music starts at noon. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, or $25 for the best seats in the house.

Dave Madeloni writes a music column for the Arts & Entertainment section. He can be reached at madeloni@aol.com.


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