“DODSON FEST” BEGINS MARCH 2 WITH CAMDEN LIBRARY COFFEEHOUSE PERFORMANCE
MARCH 2 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Camden residents, siblings David Dodson and Anne Dodson will create a combination of events during March at the Camden Public Library. The “Dodson Fest” will include a concert, an art exhibit, and a book “re-release party.” The concert will be a combined performance of David Dodson and his band The Lowdown, with sister Anne Dodson and her “band,” Matt Szostak. Both groups have performed at the Camden Library Coffeehouse to the great enjoyment of the Coffeehouse audience. The Coffeehouse performance will be on Thursday evening, March 2, at 7:00 pm; admission is only $10.
The art exhibit in the Picker Room will perfectly complement the music at the Coffeehouse. During March, the Picker Room will feature a display of art work by the late Fred Dodson (David and Anne’s father). In addition to the Coffeehouse on March 2, there will be a gallery reception for the Dodsons on Saturday afternoon, March 4, at 2:00 pm. The event will also mark the re-release of Stony Brook RFD, a book about life in rural Vermont in the 1940s and 50s, written by the late Phyllis Dodson (Anne and David’s mother).
The official opening of the exhibit of Fred Dodson’s artwork will be on Saturday, March 4, at 2:00 pm, but the paintings will be on display in time for the March 2 concert. Although he died in 1988, Fred Dodson left a wealth of work behind, some of which is still in family collections. Several watercolors will be part of the gallery show in the Picker Room.
Fred Dodson’s watercolors and prints are the culmination and reflection of his life as a farmsteader in Vermont, a soldier, a teacher in a one-room school, a designer of jewelry and pewterware, an instructor in art metalwork at Dartmouth, and a teacher of watercolors in Maine and Florida. By foot and canoe, his continuing observations of nature have found expression in paintings, seen in seven one-man shows and many group shows. His work is in private and corporate collections in this country and abroad.
Fred and Phyllis moved to a small town in southwestern New Hampshire where they raised two children, Anne and David, who, as adults, have chosen Camden to live. With a young family to support, Ted made his living as a craftsman, creating pewter hollowware (tea/coffee sets, etc.), gold and silver jewelry, candlesticks and sculpture, all the while maintaining his love of painting. Ted, Phyl, David and Anne spent summers in Deer Isle, Maine operating a store that contained Ted’s work and Phyl’s weaving.
In 1968 Fred and Phyl moved to Naples, FL (with Anne still in high school, but David at college) where painting became his full time work. He specialized in watercolors, teaching classes, and showing his work in galleries in Florida and other parts of the US. They continued to come to Deer Isle in the summer months into the early 1970s. While in Florida, Phyllis pursued her interest in writing, contributing regular nature articles to the Naples Daily News as she also worked on an account of the years spent living off the grid in Vermont. That work became a book entitled “Stony Brook, RFD,” which was published in 2006, a year before she died.
Phyl was born in 1920 on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Her family had relocated from her father’s native Vermont to Hawaii after losing an acre of beans planted during a year that included a killing frost in July.
Phyl was the oldest of three daughters who spent their youth in and around Honolulu at a time when there was only one hotel on Waikiki Beach and water buffalo grazed in the nearby rice patties. The family returned to the mainland in 1934, eventually settling in Saxtons River, Vermont. Phyl graduated from Bellows Falls High School and continued on to the University of Vermont in Burlington where a classmate decided she should meet Frederick “Ted” Dodson of Madison, NJ. They were married in 1941.
Ted and Phyl bought a small farm in Stony Brook, Vt., where they raised small livestock and vegetables. They began a family – David in 1948 and Anne in 1952. Phyl’s lifelong struggle with a congenital heart defect forced them to give up their rustic life, and they moved to the slightly more urban Acworth, NH, in 1954, but the Stony Brook years became well documented in her first published book, Stony Brook RFD (2006; The Illuminated Sea Press).
When the cold winters became too much for Phyl, the family (minus David who was by then in college) moved to Naples, FlaDavid Dodson.3. Phyl survived two major heart surgeries, far outlasting her predicted life expectancy of 30 years.
For many years Phyl wrote a biweekly nature article for the Naples Daily News. She took writing classes and began early work for “Stony Brook RFD.” Between writing, painting, birding, and canoeing, Ted and Phyl lived a remarkable life together until his sudden death
in 1988. Phyl commuted seasonally between Naples and Camden, her children’s hometown. In her early 80s, she moved to Camden, much to the delight of her children.
David Dodson’s songs are thoughtful and truly original and range from heartrending to hilarious, from a Dylanesque story of lovers on the run to songs about seeing the world through others’ eyes and experiencing fame in Fitchburg, life on the straight and narrow, loss, grief, and surfing. Musical guests include the Lowdown Band with David, singer-songwriters John and Rachel Nicholas and bass player Michael Nickerson.
Originally from New Hampshire, Anne started playing folk music at an early age, along with her brother, David Dodson. For 5 years she worked with the highly acclaimed trio “County Down”, until 1982, and then moved on to the 5-member band “Different Shoes” which performed together for 10 years. Since 1990 she has performed solo or in a duo with Matt Szostak, who adds a second voice, some additional fancy cittern and guitar work, and even the occasional hurdy-gurdy!
Her first 2 solo albums, “Tranquility Grange” and “In Its Own Sweet Time” were followed by “From Where I Sit” in 1994 and “Almost Grown”, her first recording for kids and their families, in 1995. Her fifth solo album, “Against the Moon” was released in 2000. For eight years, from the late 1980’s into the 1990’s Anne hosted “Folk Tracks,” an hour-long weekly folk music program for Maine Public Radio. In 1989 Anne was invited to accompany the first Sister City exchange between Portland, Maine and Archangel, in what was then still the Soviet Union, as one of two artists representing Maine. (Photo: Matt, Will Brown, and Anne)