Indie singer-songwriter Jenny Van West celebrates the release of her debut album “Something Real” with a show at Acoustic Artisans. She’ll be accompanied by Andy Happel on fiddle, Jonathan Cooper on dobro, Ed Desjardins on piano and guitar and vocalists Lisa Redfern and Ronda Dale. In other words, she’s assembled a fantastic crew of local talent for a compelling night of music.
Van West’s sound is cut from the Americana cloth as she veers in and out of country and folk. She returned to songwriting in 2009 after a 20-year hiatus but she’s been singing for four decades and writing poetry for three.
The first three songs from “Something Real” are terrific. “Nellie” is an effervescent, fiddle-heavy ditty with rich lead and backing vocals that spin the tale of a woman who flew the coop with the butcher’s son. “We’re gonna sit right down by the railroad track, count those cars till you come back.”
“Something Real,” the title track, is about “looking for everything and nothing at all,” and Van West is on this quest backed by a lap steel guitar, laid-back percussion and an easy beat.
“Midlife Crisis” rambles like a lazy river with some country twang as West looks for a partner in crime to tackle life’s midpoint with. “We’re gonna stay out out really really, go out on the hottest dates. We gonna find that band that really swings, you gonna take me home and say the nicest things.” These three songs make the rest of this record all the more enticing.
And here’s more good news: Your ticket price includes a copy of the CD. Go to jennyvanwestmusic.com for more about her then hear her live.
Jenny Van West CD Release Show. 7 p.m. Thursday. Acoustic Artisans, 594 Congress St., 2nd Floor, Portland, $20 includes copy of CD, acousticartisans.com
Here are two more shows to take note for the weekend along with an introduction of a young musician from Windham.
Guitarist and singer-songwriter Willy Porter and his musical partner Carmen Nickerson make damn fine music together. His finger-picking guitar playing will knock your socks off as will his way with words. Nickerson’s pipes will also impress. Porter’s new record is “Human Kindness” so be kind to yourself and catch this show.
Willy Porter. 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $23, onelongfellowsquare.com
The guitar duo, Nels Cline and Julian Lage, performs original compositions that are known to include captivating improvisations. Their primary love is for jazz but they also color outside those lines with creative abandonment.
Nels Cline and Julian Lage. 8:30 p.m. Saturday. SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland, $15 in advance, $18 day of show, limited number of $10 students tickets available, all ages, space538.org
Thanks to a supportive father, a CD was recently delivered from Ceili Spaulding, a 17-year-old senior at Windham High School. She has a sensational singing voice and an impressive collection of songs. Spaulding was barely 12 when she took guitar lessons from Summer McKane and took to the stage a year later. Then she started writing songs and appearing at school talent shows as well as open mics. Spaulding performed with the award-winning Windham Chamber Singers and has attended songwriting workshops at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Last year Spaulding connected with local musician and producer Ira Sterling and created the “Sweet Blue” CD, which is now out. Spaulding wrote all the songs on the album except for two, one written by Sterling and another by her father David. She played acoustic and electric guitars, piano and percussion. You’ll also hear Sterling on the album playing guitars, bass, drums and Moog and David Spaulding on guitar.
“Sweet Blue” is available for just six bucks at the Bull Moose locations in Windham, Portland and Scarborough and also on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.
The songs are wise beyond the years of their author and the topic of love is deconstructed throughout the eleven songs so prepare to have your heartstrings pulled. Spaulding is set to attend Berklee in the fall and it will be exciting to see what’s next for her. One thing is for sure, she’s meant to be a musician. Follow her at facebook.com/ceilispauldingmusic.