Williston band gains fans, popularity (7/23/09)

Pale Fire to play Maple Tree Place and Higher Ground

July 23, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

For the members of the Williston-based band Pale Fire, next Thursday’s show at Higher Ground will be like hitting the big time. The Celtic-rock musicians have previously played the famous South Burlington-venue for benefit concerts and talent competitions. But next week, for the first time, they’ll be the opening act for nationally recognized musician Ben Sollee.


    Courtesy photo
Pale Fire a Williston-based band, plays at a past show.

“This is definitely a big deal for us,” band member Dylan Hudson said.

The concert is on Thursday, July 30 at 8 p.m. Sollee, a cellist and singer, has performed his avant-garde set around the country. Hudson said the Higher Ground management approached Pale Fire for the gig, believing the band’s music would make a good warm-up.

Since early 2008, Pale Fire has gained a following in the Champlain Valley. Their mix of traditional and original Celtic-flavored music is bolstered by the band’s unique musicianship and commitment to trying new things, Hudson said.

The band consists of Williston residents and Champlain Valley Union High School graduates Hudson on guitar and vocals, Colin Doherty on bass and Duncan Yandell on fiddle and vocals. Kaitlin Boudah, a Colchester teen and former Williston resident, plays drums and sings on selected songs.

Pale Fire formed in December 2007, when Hudson, Yandell and Doherty decided to perform at Burlington’s First Night teen talent competition. They felt the sound of guitar, bass and fiddle worked well together and, to their surprise, so did the competition’s judges. Pale Fire placed second overall.

Next came occasional gigs around the Champlain Valley and at CVU. They again placed second at a battle of the bands in the spring of 2008 at TeenFest Vermont, an event hosted by Williston Publishing and Promotions, which also prints the Observer. Hudson said the band started getting serious about its music after receiving positive feedback from area musicians and music critics. The group added Boudah, a Colchester High School student, on drums and vocals in mid-2008 and Hudson said the band’s sound was complete.

“I feel so lucky playing with them,” Boudah said. “They are just the coolest musicians ever.”

“Adding a drummer brought us into an alternative, edgier area,” Hudson said.

He said the band stretched away from traditional Irish roots and into areas of electronic and indie rock. Still, the band maintained its core sound and identity, Hudson said.

Pale Fire continued entering talent competitions and placed first at the Young Traditions Showcase last year and at Higher Ground’s Bash for Cash this year. The success led to more independent gigs.

Boudah said at the band’s early shows, it was mostly friends and family in attendance.

“Now it’s more and more people we don’t know that keep showing up,” she said.

Earlier this year, the band recorded its first album, “Life Can Change So Fast.” It’s a mostly instrumental 10-song set featuring many original songs written by various members of the group. The album can be purchased through Pale Fire’s Web site, www.palefiremusic.com, or by download on iTunes.

Before opening for Sollee next Thursday, Pale Fire will play Maple Tree Place on June 23 as part of the shopping center’s Groovin’ on the Green concert series.

Pale Fire’s show at Maple Tree Place begins at 6 p.m. on July 23. A rain date is scheduled for Friday. The band opens at Higher Ground in South Burlington at 8 p.m. on July 30. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.