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Mountain Home Magazine

Fish Like Toast, Too

If you know Dan Shipe, you know that he loves to fish. From native brook trout to cutthroat to steelhead to drum—if it has scales and fins and lives in the water, he’s interested in convincing it to attach itself to the end of his line. It takes a lot this time of year to get him off the water.

But music is another passion, one he has shared for many years with a variety of friends in a variety of bands. One of the most popular, at least in these parts, was Burnt Toast. An upbeat, bluegrassy band, Burnt Toast formed in the mid-1990s and played to enthusiastic crowds at numerous local festivals and venues. Members, some of whom had played together in North Fork Alliance, another regionally popular band, included Dan (vocals, guitar), Craig “Laz” Vance (guitar), Fred Lantz (mandolin, banjo, really “anything with strings,” Dan says), Tom Hoover (guitar, mandolin, vocals), and Steve Belcher (bass). The group enjoyed several years of making music together, both with the original lineup and with the other musicians who occasionally sat in; by about 2000, though, the members of Burnt Toast had all moved on to other bands.

“We’ve all established our names in the music business individually,” says Steve.

In March of 2017, Tom Hoover died. Both Dan and Steve, the band’s only local residents, were out of town at the time; the other Burnt Toast members were not living in the area, either, so there was not an opportunity for any sort of band-based memorial.

“Fred (Lantz, who lives in Vermont) and I talk a lot,” Steve says, and the subject of a Burnt Toast reunion had come up. “We always had a blast every time we got we thought this would be a nice chance to say goodbye to Tom.”

Enter the Deane Center for the Performing Arts as the venue for the April 20 show, commitments from the remaining original Burnt Toast members to play, and positive responses from invitations to two other musicians—Jeff Wisor (fiddle) and Chad Darou (dobro).

“It is a nice opportunity to play for the hometown crowd,” Steve continues. “We haven’t played together in a long time, but I think it’s like riding a bike. is is gonna be a lot of fun. It’s a big deal for us to play for our hometown folks.”

“All the musicians in Burnt Toast were a big inspiration to me musically,” says Dan. “It’s exciting to have four out of five of the original members together. They are amazing musicians.”

Tickets are twenty dollars and you can call the Deane Center at (570) 724-6220 to reserve seating. The show starts at 7:30, and guests are welcome to bring adult beverages and snacks. Burnt Toast will play the following evening, April 21, at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport.

Fish all day, sing all night!

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