One doesn’t forget the first time they witness the female powerhouse that is Steady Betty. For me, it was the Magic Hat Mardi Gras party in 2016 (Just a year ago? Sinful, I know). Kicking off that weekend by dancing to the 8-piece rocksteady band of all women is one heck of a way to kick off the annual March celebration. And as we welcome the ladies back to our Skinny Pancake Burlington stage this week, let’s dive a bit deeper into this crew.
Steady Betty has a hold over the Burlington area. From early sets at Radio Bean to bigger stages at Nectar’s and Higher Ground, to big outdoor shows at Grand Point North and Waking Windows. From the first minute the stew of bass, drums, and horns hit your ears, the aural impact works its way to your toes, and soon thereafter into a full on groove. Their reggae infused with dance and funk can get anyone on their feet – you see this from their long-time fans and first-time listeners alike.
While many folks originally associated Steady Betty with their early champion and occasional participant, Kat Wright, the roster of talent in this crew runs deep. With sound tech extraordinaire, Rachel Capobianco (who’s spent some time on the road with Mike Gordon), the incredible pipes of Mariam Bernardo (with her own album in the works), exceptional rocksteady guitar playing from Linda Bassick (of a weekly Radio Bean kids show among other projects), and an absolutely kick-ass collection of horns players – it’s very easy to throw the work SuperGroup at this collective.
Coming up with a variety of pieces with so many influences only makes the creative process that much more intriguing. Rocksteady inspiration comes from Dawn Penn, Judy Mowat and Phyllis Dillon. Linda Bassik sources support from other female musicians as an influence of encouragement and growth during her time with Steady Betty over the last five years. “I feel freer in my musical expression than I ever have before.”
So how would one support females artists here in Vermont? First off, don’t make any assumptions. “Don’t limit girls wanting to play instruments by telling them certain ones are for boys are certain ones are for girls,” says Bassik. Being inclusive just the beginning. Involvement in the Burlington area comes easy when there are so many fantastic venues around. Volunteering time at the Flynn or Higher Ground, or you can spend some time with the artists themselves – you can find many of them hanging out on any given night enjoying another local musician’s show.
Supporting organizations like Girls Rock Vermont is one way Steady Betty influences younger females with an interest in music. One of the Girls Rock mottos is “we build each other up” which is exactly what women must do. No judgment, no comparisons. Linda explains “contrary to what our culture is telling you, there can be more than one female in a band! And she doesn’t have to be the singer!” So come support these fantastically badass females Friday, March 24th!
Linda Bassick – Guitar & Vocals
Miriam Bernardo – Vocals
Rachel Capobianco – Drums & Vocals
Caroline O’Connor – Bass
Zoe Harris – Alto Sax
Margot VanHorne – Trumpet
Allison Frazier – Baritone Sax
Megan Waterhouse – Tenor Sax
Sometimes Kat Wright on vocals (when she is not busy with her band!)