Posted: September 11, 2017
These five concerts will give you a reason to look forward to fall
Written by: Aimsel Ponti
Up Next: Hiking in Maine: Overdue trip to Chimney Pond doesn’t disappoint
In my head, it’s still the middle of June, and yet the calendar is telling me something entirely different. Where exactly did the summer go? How did this happen? But rather than dwell on the fact that it went too quickly, let’s look ahead into autumn because there’s a lot to be excited about on the live-music front.
The Ghost of Paul Revere will have a new record out, and so will An Overnight Low and Katie Matzell. Hannah Daman & The Martelle Sisters will be recording a new one. My inbox and newsfeed runneth over with show announcements, and this fall promises to be spectacular. We can survive without “Game of Thrones.” I promise.
At pretty much every venue’s calendar that I’ve looked at, there are shows I’m excited about. Way too many to mention here, so I chose a handful for your perusal. Now go buy a box of old-school multi-colored star stickers and start marking up your calendar.
The Head and the Heart
7 p.m. Sept. 23. Thompson's Point, Portland, $43.75 in advance, $45 day of show. statetheatreportland.com
If you were at their March performance at the State Theatre, then you know how good they are, and if you weren't and still haven't seen
The Head and the Heart, here's an awesome way to end the season at Thompson's Point. They are masters of folk-pop with three albums' worth of
outstanding songs to prove it, including "Shake," "All We Ever Knew," "Library Magic," "Rhythm & Blues," "Your Mother's Eyes" and my personal
favorite, "Lost in My Mind." Jonathan Russell is a masterful frontman, and the rest of the band, including vocalist and violinist Charity Rose
Thielen, is thoroughly amazing.
Photo by James Minchin
9 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29. Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 21-plus. portlandhouseofmusic.com
Burlington, Vermont-based Kat Wright, her tremendous set of pipes and sensational band will hold court for two nights at PHOM. Expect
funk, soul and R&B from an electrifying outfit. Hit it one night or both. Tickets are affordable, they've got Prosecco on tap at the House, and
the funky vibes will be priceless. "By My Side" is Wright's debut album, released last year, and she just recorded a live EP at
Photo by Ash LaRose
Shovels & Rope
8 p.m. Oct. 11. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $20 in advance, $25 day of show, $40 preferred seating. portcitymusichall.com
Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are the South Carolina duo (and couple) Shovels & Rope, and I first got hip to them when I heard
their insanely incredible take with Shakey Graves on Neil Young's "Unknown Legend," from their 2015 release "Busted Jukebox Volume 1." I
quickly fell head-over-heels for the vocals of Hearst and Trent. They both released solo albums in the mid-2000s, and their debut as Shovels &
Rope came in 2008. Four albums have followed, including last year's "Little Seeds," and while I'm still working my way through it, what I can
tell you is that they play every instrument, and the album is all original material. "I Know" kicks it off full-steam, then weaves through
songs like the tender "Mourning Song" and the foot-stompin' "Invisible Man," both inspired by Trent's father's struggle with Alzheimer's. I've
never seen Shovels & Rope live, and I can't freaking wait for this show.
Photo by Curtis Wayne Millard
8 p.m. Oct. 19. Jonathan's, 92 Bourne Lane, Ogunquit, $25. jonathansogunquit.com
"Rescue My Heart" is haunting, atmospheric, and it's from Liz
Longley's 2016 album, "Weightless." Her voice is sometimes sweeping ("Swing"),sometimes sweet yet edgy ("Weightless") and
sometimes sad in a way I love ("Never Really Mine"). These songs seem to be about a relationship gone wrong, but the theme aside, they are
gorgeous and meaningful, as are her vocals. "Electricity," about an "undeniable, indescribable spark" is my current favorite. A visit to her
website revealed she's been releasing albums for a decade. Time to play catch-up.
Photo courtesy of Sugar Hill Records
7:30 p.m. Nov. 4. The Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Rockland, $20 in advance, $25 day of show. rocklandstrand.com
My love for Willie Watson was born last October in a club in Asheville, North Carolina. He was new to me – though I now know he was a founding
member of Old Crow Medicine Show – and he knocked my socks off with higher vocals than you'd expect and charismatic stage presence to spare.
What made me smile the widest that night was when Watson played a song called "Keep It Clean" with the repeated line about Coca-Cola, lemon
soda and soft-serve ice cream. Pure magic. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I saw him again, this time as part of The Dave Rawlings Machine
at a folk festival in Colorado. Rawlings produced Watson's latest album, "Folk Singer Vol. 2," which drops on Sept. 15. If the first track,
"Samson and Delilah," is any indication, this is going to be one heck of a record.
Photo by Meredith Munn