Musician's Bios

Big Bardela!

Big Bardela!

Cooie DeFrancesco

Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmony

I'm a Vermonter, born in St. Albans and raised in Burlington's South End. My favorite childhood memories are those late night journeys on Route 7 between home and extended family in St. Albans. The Oldsmobile was our little acoustic chamber as we six motored through the quiet Vermont countryside. Weary, but we sang our hearts out in that hour-long ride on Route 7. Yes, it used to take an hour to travel, especially in weather. In those years before light pollution, the nighttime landscape was dark, sometimes moonlit, ofttimes not. I was a little sister, and learned to sing harmony by listening to my mom, dad, sister, and brother, and finding a spot for my voice to fill. Sister would let me know if I stepped on her part! Baby brother sang along, too. 

My name, Cooie, was baby brother's pronunciation of my given name, Carolyn. It stuck...from Sister Mary Imelda, my first grade teacher, to Ned Stapleton, the priest who officiated my wedding, I always identified as Cooie. Only when in trouble, or in the corporate world, did my given name come up. 

Music has been my lifelong companion and source of comfort. My sister's Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Duane Eddy songs; my brother's Rip Chords. Then came with folk singers, girl groups, and the British invasion. I had the extreme good fortune of owning a transistor radio and listened to AM radio into the early morning hours. Joey Reynolds on WKBW, at 1540 in the dial - 50,000 Watts coming to me from Buffalo NY! Quick switch to 1520, WPTR in Albany. I could hear my favorite songs a dozen times every night. Every night was heavenly until the batteries gave out. 

From the Beatles to the gritty, provocative, bluesy Rolling Stones. Little did I know, in those days before the interwebs, that the Stones were performing covers of disenfranchised American blues artists who struggled outside the mainstream music industry. Just take a listen to Irma Thomas singing Jerry Ragavoy's "Time Is On My Side," or Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do," and you'll hear truth to imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. 

Jimi, Janis, Cream, Spencer Davis Group, The Animals, Traffic, Procol Harum, Blind Faith, Chicago Transit Authority, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Tracy Nelson, Ellen McIlwaine, Delbert McClinton, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Mark Knopfler, and the list goes on. Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells backing up Laura Nyro's sweet soprano. Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" album with James Cleveland. Leon Russell and JJ Cale's 1979 Paradise Studio recordings. 

I'm drawn to the Blues, and to ballads. Only in recent years have I started to trace blues music lineage back to the sources: Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Etta James, Otis Rush, T-Bone Walker, Rosetta Tharpe, Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim. 

And now, after a decades-long stretch of inattention, avoidance, stage fright, I've realized that I don't want to die with the music still inside me. So I'm sending it out to you. I am full-on ready. World, I want to sing for you. I want to sing my songs for you. 

What's next? A continued busy solo schedule throughout the summer months. Another couple rounds of demo recordings. Refining old material, writing new material. Growing a band to midwife the music. Bringing the music to you. 

Come along with me and I'll keep you abreast of my schedule. Join the mailing list, follow on social media, check the Soundcloud, contact me. Come see me!

Arty LaVigne 


Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmony

Born in Albany, New York on September 30th, 1950.  Sent to Burlington, Vermont within days to meet his adoptive parents 

Susie and Bob LaVigne of Winooski,Vt. Pretty neat childhood living on EAst Allen street for the first 12 years. The heart of the city at my doorstep. We moved to Main Street, round the corner and up the hill to my grand mother's house. We settled in across from The V.F.W. and the U/\.S. Army tank that sits on the hill to this day. Many a late Saturday night I would lie awake listening to the band playing across the street, knowing that when they played Proud Mary everyone knew it was the last dance. afterward there would be yelling and maybe a fight or two would break out. 

On a Sunday night Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 the world as I knew it changed with The Beatles singing their songs that captured this 14 year old kid. I decided I wanted to play the drums like Ringo. I practiced and then joined up with classmates, Rick Boyd and Mike Kruger to form The Mods. We took our sound to Friday night dances at The Winooski Teen Club. Celebrating our first pay day we headed over to Bill's Diner for fries, burgers and a Coca Cola. 

On a shopping trip to Forest Hills Factory Outlet I came across an album, Freewheeling Bob Dylan and decided to add guitar to my life. Along the way I discovered that more practice meant better results. So playing guitar led to writing my songs. In the beginning, not so good but kept at it until one day I happened to write Heartland. This was the one that made me realize  that  I would continue on this path for a life long journey. 

So here I am with Cooie, Jeff and Mark playing my songs, our songs and loving what we do together. 

Bardela spent this past winter recording our first 4 song E.P. Sky. Take a listen and download for free. 

Come out and join us when we play near you. Support live music and those that provide it.

Jeff Barrows

Bass Guitar, Backup Vocals

 I started playing the bass guitar in 1967. My best friend and great guitar player, Eric Parker, told me the world we full of guitar players and he needed a bass player to start a band, so in a Junior high school we formed the band called the Wild Horizon and we found ourselves busy right through high school. 

In college in Colorado, a found myself in a steady three night per week gig with a country band. The only problem was that I now had to learn country! It was an interesting time and I met many musicians rom that job and ended up playing in many other bands. 

Moving the Arizona in 1979 I found myself meeting and playing with many great musicians, and I ended up on the road taking gig all over the west.  

Finally in 1984 I came back to Vermont and living in Johnson I joined a Burlington band. Now I live in Burlington and love playing with three different groups! 

Mark Christensen

Lead Guitar, Vocals, Harmony

"Mark Christensen is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer. His main instruments are electric guitar (with a lot of electronic manipulation of the sound) and the Chapman Stick, a 12-stringed instrument with the range of guitar and bass that is played by tapping the strings. 

He is currently serving as lead guitarist for the Vermont semi-supergroup Radio Underground, as half of the post-prog duo The Stone Document and as a solo artist. Past projects include touring and performing with Brooklyn’s indie rock trio Ghost Ghost and with Robert Fripp and the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. 

Originally from Los Angeles he currently lives in Vermont and appears with his various projects throughout the Northeast.  More info can be found at" 

Dave Simpson 

Drums, Vocals

 Dave is bad ass on the drums and has the male version of Cooie's voice. Now its Big Bad Bardela! Dave has played in the Burlington scene for many years. He has been a meber of "Currently Nameless", The Battleboy Choir" and Milton Busker and The Grimm Work" A multi instrumentalist, he plays the drums, guitar and bass.