Hannah Fair – A Preschool Teacher Becomes a Star
There is no shortage of singer-songwriters in Burlington, Vermont. In fact, our community of folk-loving, accepting listeners has created a sort of Mecca for them. We love all that they bring to our intimate stage at the Skinny Pancake: baring their hearts and souls, perhaps helping us think more deeply about our own lives as we listen closely to their stories and melodies.
We’ve hosted Hannah a few times on our stage, but one night stands out. It was a benefit concert for the Against Malaria Foundation (itself a show full of wonderful songwriters), and Hannah was part of several acts. She had an old banjo and acoustic guitar, and she asked me, “So, how long would you like me to play for?” She seemed a little nervous, with a wide-eyed look; yet I could tell she’d done this more than a few times. A member of the crowd asked, “Another singer-songwriter? Really?” It was a question I declined to answer.
As we were about to find out, Hannah was so much more than we expected. She brought the room to silence, in complete awe of her performance.
From the very first song, it was clear that Hannah Fair was not only a phenomenal singer but also a true artist and poet. Her lyrics were compelling, and you could feel the authenticity in her voice. The entire room was right there with her, happily along for the ride, and left with that feeling that only live music can give you. This was something special, something rare.
Her set consisted of mostly original songs, and a few truly impressive covers, including a rendition of Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” Surely not a song your average singer can pull off.
One thing you cannot say about a Hannah Fair show is that all the songs sound the same – a typical complaint with singer-songwriters. In truth, she’s got an incredible range and variety of material. One of my favorites is a song called “No Whiskey,” which she wrote with her little sister. Based on this tune, her little sister could be the next Hannah Fair.
Her song “Roots,” performed as a Tiny Desk Contest submission, is a lyrical whirlwind and really shows off her incredible songwriting, with its magical range and quirky brilliance.
Our Wednesday Night residency with Josh Panda has recently come to a close, after 5 years strong. While we undoubtedly will continue to have Josh on our stage regularly, it was time for a new chapter for both Mr. Panda and our Wednesday night line-up. So not long ago we were left with the question of who could fill these enormous Panda Bear-sized shoes? But the answer it seems is that nobody needs to. Over 5 long years, Josh emerged as the artist he is today. The freedom of a weekly stage is liberating, allowing for an artist to grow.
Similar to Josh Panda, Hannah Fair started out, as so many Burlington musicians do, busking on Church Street. With an impressive set in tow, she heads to our Weekly residency. Over time, she will fill her own shoes; with her own voice, her own crowd, and her own bar tab.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8 pm, and watch this extraordinary talent, a preschool teacher by day, take you somewhere else for a couple hours.