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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Face the Music with Aimsel Ponti
Posted: November 5, 2014

Cariad Harmon’s dovelike voice and brilliant stage presence on display at Blue on Thursday

Cariad Harmon will perform songs from her self-titled new CD at Blue in Portland on Thursday.

Cariad Harmon will perform songs from her self-titled new CD at Blue in Portland on Thursday.

London-born New Yorker and purveyor of indie folk Cariad Harmon celebrates the release of her self-titled CD with a show Thursday at Blue in Portland.

Harmon sent me a copy of the CD and I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it for the past two weeks. Her soprano voice is dove-like and lovely and her songs are as cheery as a day spent eating popsicles in Central Park, even if your heart’s broken.

“Every Time” starts the record off with acoustic guitar, brushed percussion, darling backing vocals and what I think is a glockenspiel: “How did you get so big and mean? Why is everything I want so bad for me? If you keep talking you’re gonna tell me that you’re mine and I’ll fall for it every time.” Cynical lyrics on a bed of musical roses. I love it.

“Wicked Town” is both a Dear John and a love letter to a city that affords no sleep and sells dreams down the river.

Harmon’s British accent shines through on “I Want You,” a playfully self-deprecating song that’s as sweet as pie, with a slide guitar in the mix. “Like You” includes backing vocals from Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessing from a favorite act of mine, Lucius: “Underneath the sky I cross my heart and hope to die, I’ve never seen anything like you before.” This is the song we all want someone to write for us. It’s also a prime choice to throw on a compilation for a crush.

I don’t want to spill all of the beans, in hopes that you’ll join me at Blue and hear Harmon for yourself. But I’ll mention one more song. “California” is a slow-moving train with breezy electric guitar that has Harmon contemplating the other coast: “California take me in, cause I’m counting on you, your sympathy, for the New York state I’m in.” This one’s my current favorite, entirely charming and musically sound.

I saw Harmon at Blue about two years ago and will vouch for her delightful stage presence. I can’t wait to hear the new material live.

I lied. There’s one more song that must be mentioned. “Williamsburg Bridge” is an invitation that no one in their right mind would ever refuse: “Let’s steal away until the break of day when the old yellow sun comes up. Darling won’t you meet me by the Williamsburg Bridge?” Yet another worthy crush-compilation contender. Head to and preview a couple of new songs.

Cariad Harmon is the post-election breath of fresh air you didn’t know you needed. Add to this the intimate setting of Blue and you’ve got yourself a dandy of a night out. I’ll see you there.

Also, I’ve got a mother of a bonus for you. Get to Blue by 7 p.m. and you can catch a set by Muddy Ruckus, a sensational Portland-based Americana band who just released their debut album about five minutes ago.

Head to to hear why this is such an exciting double bill. I suggest you listen to “Crawl on the Ceiling” in all its swinging, snappy glory, and “Ruby Red,” a raw, troubled tune that goes from slow and moody to bursting out of itself with fast-paced fire and brimstone: “Ruby red on the lips of my lover/ Ruby red and she’s gone insane/ Ruby red and the green hills stained/ Ruby red grows from my grave.” Yep. I love it.

Cariad Harmon CD release show at Blue. 9 p.m. Thursday. Blue, 605A Congress St., Portland, no cover.


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