Rocket Shop 12/19/2012: Funkwagon, John Daly, & 80 Proof Hum

Funkwagon Words by Mason Smith. Photo by James Lockridge.

Under representation of band-founder Aaron Burroughs, the Radiator had Funkwagon on air. It’s good the whole band didn’t come because the small studio couldn’t fit the Funkwagon army.  The ten-piece funk, R&B, and soul group has been together since 2005, playing gigs in the Burlington area and Vermont as a whole.

Funkwagon’s gospel influence comes through regularly in the songs and in Aaron’s description of the band’s feel. “I like to think of it as church with a smoker's section...and a bar,” says a quote on their Facebook page. The “bar” aspect of the band is prominent. You can’t listen to these soulful songs without swaying back and forth, bobbing your head, and singing along. “It’s not a party until Funkwagon says it’s a party,” Aaron said.

They also have the festival feel that Vermonters tend to love. Songs such as “In My Pocket” have a jam-band aspect that keeps the listener wondering where the song could end up. Get to know Funkwagon better by ‘liking’ them on Facebook and by following them @FunkwagonVT.

John Daly


Words by Mason Smith. Photo by Lily Chau.

Solo-guitarist John Daly dragged his Martin to the Radiator to share some of his tunes with Burlington. Apart from making listener-friendly music, this singer/songwriter’s goal is to “turn transparent on stage.” This comment has mixed meaning. In the physical sense, John was joking. But perhaps spiritually speaking, he wants emotion to be in the forefront, not hiding behind anything.

According to John, songwriting has become a “body function.” He’s gotten to a place in his creative career where he’s finding inspiration in everyday items. The other day he saw a piece of blank cardboard lying on the street. To most people, cardboard on the street is litter. To John, he saw an unwritten song and what he wanted to say articulated itself instantaneously.

John’s songs are quite systematic, but that’s not problematic. His 100+ tracks never stray far from his comfort zone, creating a relaxed atmosphere that’s easy to let your ear live in. Listen in on his YouTube channel (JohnDalyMusic) and find him online at

80 Proof Hum


Words by Mason Smith. Photo by Lily Chau.

“Real, Honest, Passionate music.”

Kevin and Nick, two guitarists and sole members of 80 Proof Hum shared some tunes with Rocket Shop last Wednesday. The duo met on Craigslist after Kevin put an ad up for a supporting artist. Nick was the first to respond and was decidedly a good match. In Nick’s words, he is a “rudder in [Kevin’s] boat” and Kevin is “ninety percent” of the band. To this end, Kevin is the obvious front man of 80 Proof Hum, but there are no hard feelings about that fact.

Both members of the oddly named pair (80 Proof Hum was chosen after several drafts and a long thought process) feel the need to expand the band. A bass playing friend may be added soon and they are in the hunt for a drummer. Two guitarists and vocalists inevitably create good, simple and low-key music. These proposed additions to 80 Proof Hum would really take the band to the next level by adding more layers and complexity.

Help this group reach their goal of being the “best band in Vermont and beyond. Or at least the best one their friends like” by liking them on Facebook and following them @80ProofHum.