Hot Pickin' Party at Summervale!


By: McKenna Murray, Summervale Music Intern


For week 3 of Summervale 2017, we are welcoming Hot Pickin’ Party to the main stage! Hot Pickin' Party is a Burlington based bluegrass trio comprised of Doug Perkins, Adam Frehm and Mike Santosusso. The three musicians are best known collectively as the core members of the newgrass jam band Smokin' Grass. From 1995 to 2005, Smokin' Grass released two critically acclaimed full length recordings, appeared on numerous cd compilations, and toured nationally performing in over 30 states. Since then Doug, Adam and Mike have each performed with various groups and artists in Vermont. The music of The Hot Pickin' Party celebrates the reunion of this trio with heartfelt harmonies, dynamic musical interplay and a spirit of exploration of journeys old and new. And for a bonus this week, Matt Schrag will be joining in on mandolin!

Here is a short interview with the Hot Pickin’ Party’s dobro player, Adam Frehm, talking music, inspiration, and the value of Summervale:

1. Do you mostly do covers, or do you write music as well?

We play a mix of covers, original songs, traditional bluegrass songs, familiar yet eclectic classic covers and the occasional completely improvised jam. We enjoy dynamic musical interplay and taking chances in our live shows. Our songs and solos are always played differently, but we keep the jams pretty minimal so when they happen, they really count. The focus is on the variety of material and the free spirit in which it's played.

2. What influences your music?

I suppose the classics: love, loss, longing, heartache, joy, sorrow, adventure, fun and funny themes, and mostly the spirit of exploration. The willingness to take a chance on the unknown and see what magic the music can make.

3. What kind of inspiration do you draw from living in the Burlington area?

I can't speak for all of us but for me the quality and and pace of life here is something special. The clean air we breathe, the natural opportunities (lakes, rivers, mountains, lush forests, scenic farm country) and the amazing people in our Vermont community all inspire me.  When I need more inspiration I travel abroad and come back refreshed with new ideas.  Having toured in over 30 states I can say it's always a relief to come back to this wonderful little slice of planet Earth.  The musical community in Burlington and all over Vermont is amazing, especially considering the small population of the state.

Also, the national bluegrass and modern acoustic music scene is a deep well of inspiration for me.  The level of musicianship has skyrocketed in the past 10 years alone.  Check out young guitar players like Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle and the duo of Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage and you'll see what I mean.  There are so many great new artists and bands coming up that deserve to be heard.  There's a continuous passing of the torch from tried and true artists to up and coming ones. I recommend all acoustic music lovers to go to a bluegrass festival like Jenny Brook in Tunbridge VT, or Grey Fox in Oak Hill NY, and expand your arsenal of great music you can enjoy. You'll be inspired and moved in a way that an rock/electric music festival can't touch.  Bluegrass music has a loving community feeling unlike most other genres of music.  Once you become a fan and attend some festivals, you feel part of a bigger family.  It's magical.

4. Describe your sound in 3 words:

 Hot Pickin’ Party!

5. Why are you excited about performing at Summervale?

The Intervale is one of Burlington's gems. The food grown in the gardens there feed so many people in our community. We must support this area and take good care of it. The energy there, along the banks of the Winooski river is really wonderful. Summervale has become a staple celebration of our short and very special summer in VT. The mix of great food vendors and the festive, family friendly atmosphere is something everyone should experience this summer. The lineup of music is always stellar so it's an honor to participate, we are so excited and hope to see a lot of people there this Thursday!

Abby Portman