Thursday, January 9, 2014

Catching Up With: Thomas John Cadrin at Big Jay Tavern

I first ran into Tom when we shared a gig together at The 9 Songwriters night in Harvard Square. I was really blown away by his excellent playing, truly solid voice, and endearing, but confident stage presence. Turns out that endearing confidence has lead him to wear another hat in booking the talent for a new venue in the great white north in Vermont at Jay Peak. Now, I don't know if you all know about these "apres-ski" type gigs, but from what I have found is that they are usually pretty damn awesome. Put that all together with a really comfortable and inviting listening room, great food, and a place to crash and you have a killer stop on a tour or a reason to head to the mountains for the weekend! I caught up with Tom to talk about life outside of the city, the new venue and how you can get your foot in the door!

1)      First and foremost, who are you? For those readers who may not know, what is your connection to the Boston Music Community?
  • My name is Thomas John Cadrin, I’m a musician, writer, talent buyer/booker @ Big Jay Tavern and spent the last 5 years in and out of the Boston music scene. As a performer, my stylings lend definition closest to percussive jazz & folk, but lately I have been deploying elements of theater to create a larger experience as a solo-acoustic act on stage. 
2)      You’ve packed up your things to brave the great white north and are now booking a great new room on Jay Peak. Tell us about the room, the vibe, the types of acts that you are currently bringing in to the venue?
  • I book Big Jay Tavern, a restaurant/music venue located just below Jay Peak Resort, in Montgomery, Vermont. To be completely honest, the room, the people who own it, and the patrons who seek music & refuge there are all genuine and straight forward people. The musical community in Vermont is exceptionally accepting and open to pretty much anything. Having gone to college @ St. Michael’s, which is just outside Burlington, VT, I’m happy to be back amongst such open-mindedness. My intention is to stretch the good vibes and top notch entertainment from Boston, through Burlington, up to BJT. I mostly looking to book smaller acoustic based acts. As I’m sure is the understood stereotype of Vermont, jam bands are a dime-a-dozen, and there are plenty of places who showcase those sorts of bands. BJT is more geared toward acoustic, single to trio sized bands. 

3)      I think the most important thing about this new room is it gives a lot of folks from the city a place to go play with a fellow musician doing the booking. Have you found it easy to find acts to make the trek?
  • At first it was a bit dizzying trying to get people to come up. From Boston, Montgomery is about a 4 hour trek, give or take. That alone is a difficult pill to swallow when I tell them we’re a tips based venue. But, BJT is located directly below a very heavily trafficked ski resort that holds just over 5,000 people. People come from all over the northeast to ski here and because BJT is a brand new spot, the buzz about what we do and the caliber of our food & talent is unparalleled around here. As a musician who as toured through “donation based venues” in the past, I make sure to “pass the hat” a few times throughout each artist’s set, which has resulted in an average of $100 per evening. Our food is top notch and comparable to anything down in Boston (the owner’s used to own Cognac Bistro in Brookline & Kouzina in Newton), which is something I’m very familiar with having served tables at some high-end places in town over the last 3 years.
Really, Big Jay Tavern is an ideal spot for artists who are on their way through Vermont - maybe playing Higher Ground, Signal Kitchen, ArtsRiot , Radio Bean or any other spot in Burlington - and a need a easy place to crash & recuperate. We are able to feed & house people for free. This alone is a huge benefit for touring artists. 
Beyond the money, coming up into the middle of nowhere-Vermont is good for the soul. I recommend getting up here during the daylight to see the mountains and feel the solitude. There’s hardly any cell service and wifi is hard to come by. So, getting out of the city, out of one’s comfort zone & to be completely removed is pretty much the whole idea. It’s like a mini vacation. Couple the vacation with the possibility of spreading one’s notoriety into a transient community is a very good thing, because then anyone who sees you will take your music back home - which could be anywhere - and the result is a quick explosion of influence. At the end of the day, this is what we all want - to spread music and the love of it as far and wide as possible. 

4)      If folks wanted to come play the room, how would they go about it? What kind of acts are you looking for? Spill the details.
  • If anyone wants to come play, we book 4 days a week, Wednesday - Saturday, and welcome smaller, acoustic based acts. Shoot an email to with music links, etc. 
5)      Before moving, you were well rooted in some of the local music scene here. What do you think is special about the Boston community and how it may (or may not) foster growth for acts or a community/family kind of a vibe?
  • Boston is a beautiful town and I’m happy to have spent the past five years in and out of it. The close knit community and family feel to the whole place certainly has many advantages and disadvantages all the same. By moving up north, I’m striving to extend this local community feel from Boston, up through Burlington and have it land @ BJT. From here, Montreal is only over an hour away and Portland, ME, though a trek, is well worth the drive. Vermont has a musical community an appreciation that I’ve found unparalleled anywhere else. There are so many small shops, restaurants & venues to be played and gain followers at, that if you can make it happen, a whole tour could be booked throughout the state.  But, we live with our connections and our families where ever we go. Even if I move to Portland, Oregon, I’d strive to carry along this community feel across the country.
6)      Ok, now is your chance for shameless self promotion, plugs, or anything else you may wish to convey to the admiring public…GO!
  • I’ve been blessed so far to all ready have booked some very well known and fantastically talented artists at Big Jay Tavern. Ryan Montbleau stopped by and played a solo-acoustic set on New Year’s Eve. Just this past week, we had Caroline Rose, a Burlington based up-and-comer who will be touring all over the country this year. I will actually be opening for her on January 19th @ Club Passim in Harvard Square (tickets! Zac Clark, another great friend of mine, graced our stage twice this season with his fantastic booty shaking piano-pop before he headed back to LA. And coming up, we’ve got a whole horde of Boston based artists scheduled to play including Hayley Sabella, The Surviving Kenneallys, Julia Mark, Ricky Duran, Jeremy Mendicino (of Pretty & Nice), Jesse Hanson & many more!  
  • We’re all over facebook, twitter & instagram so follow along @bigjaytavern. So, if you’re the skiing sort or just want to get away, I highly recommend getting up here this season. We’ve got shot-ski’s (check it: and have all ready put two whole pigs through our outdoor rotisserie (boo-ya:! With Vermont local brews like Switchback, Trout River & the occasional Heady Topper, you be happy you stopped by.

No comments:

Post a Comment