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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 News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Arts & Entertainment with Aimsel Ponti
Posted: May 27, 2015

Rootsy Della Mae heads for Port City and Nate Tucker brings old and new rhythms to Victoria Mansion

Della Mae will play songs from their new self-titled album at Port City Music Hall Sunday, and Darlingside opens for them. Courtesy photo

Della Mae will play songs from their new self-titled album at Port City Music Hall Sunday, and Darlingside opens for them. Courtesy photo

They’re out of Boston but hang their hats in Nashville and just released their third album, a self-titled one on the Rounder label. Say howdy to Della Mae, the four-woman combo of Celia Woodsmith (vocals, guitar), Kimber Ludiker (fiddle, vocals), Jenni Lyn Gardner (mandolin, vocals) and Courtney Hartman (guitar, banjo, vocals).

The album before this one, 2013’s “This World Oft Can Be,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for best bluegrass album. Considering the band only formed in 2009, this is an impressive accomplishment, but after listening to the latest album several times it’s not surprising.

Nine out of 11 of the album’s songs are originals, and the two covers are well chosen. Della Mae’s take on the tender, earnest Rolling Stones tune “No Expectations” from 1968’s “Beggars Banquet” is absolutely gorgeous. “Your heart is like a diamond, you throw your pearls at swine. And as I watch you leaving me, you pack my peace of mind,” sings Woodsmith atop fiddle, acoustic and slide guitar.

Their other cover, The Low Anthem’s “To Ohio,” is another heartfelt gem. But the originals are at the true heart of the record.

“Long Shadow” features Hartman’s rootsy lead vocals on a song fraught with a tormented past up against a brave soul.

“Shambles” is full of sass, finger-pointing and empowerment housed in a nifty swingin’ fiddle tune. This is the kind of record that keeps getting better with every listen. What’s more, Darlingside is opening the show. They’re indie-folkers out of Boston who are frequent visitors to Portland, and their harmony-rich acoustic tunes are heavy on violin and cello.

Della Mae with Darlingside. 8 p.m. Sunday. $15, $30 preferred seating, 18-plus. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland.

Composer Nate Tucker will meld percussion and electronic music at Portland’s Victoria Mansion Wednesday. Courtesy photo

Composer Nate Tucker will meld percussion and electronic music at Portland’s Victoria Mansion Wednesday. Courtesy photo

Victoria Mansion and Oratorio Chorale invite you to a very different way to spend your Wednesday night. Boston-based composer Nate Tucker, who is known for working his magic in bridging classical and contemporary music, will perform works that meld ancient percussion with electronic instrumentation.

This kind of music with the 1860s Victoria Mansion as a setting is sublime. The show will be two, 25-minute sets, starting with Tucker’s composition “Nocturne on a Drought” and “Le Corps a Corps” by Georges Aperghis. The second set features “6 Marimbas” by Steve Reich.

Between the sets you’ll be able to mingle while enjoying wine and hors d’ouevres and touring the mansion. These perks are included in the ticket price, and speaking of tickets, get them ASAP as seating is limited. For audio samples of Tucker’s work, head to and settle in with your eyes closed. Synths, bongos, bells, hand-claps and myriad other sounds will fill your ears. Tucker’s work is soothing, scintillating and unpredictable. The thought of hearing it at the Victoria Mansion is categorically transcendent.

Off Grid: An Evening of Electronics and Percussion at Victoria Mansion, with Boston composer Nate Tucker. 6 p.m. Wednesday. $25. Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St., Portland.

More live music this weekend

Spencer Albee CD Release Show
9 p.m. Friday, Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $10 in advance, $12 day of show, $20 preferred seating, 18-plus,
Spencer Albee celebrates the release of his latest album “Mistakes Were Made.” “Mistakes” is considered by many to be Albee’s best work and the album shines with the electronic pop-rock sound Albee’s known for. There’s also a significant 60s retro vibe running throughout the songs. Also, be sure to get there on time, you don’t want to miss openers Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band and Leveret.

Eric Bettencourt with Will Mallett
8 p.m., Friday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $12,
Though he spends most of his time in Austin, Texas, Mainer and singer-songwriter Eric Bettencourt is back in town for a hometown show with his friend Will Mallett of the act The Mallett Brothers Band. Bettencourt is known for his distinct, gravely vocals, first-rate musicianship and a truckload of original songs that can be found on his four full-length albums and two EPs released in just five years. Mallett will be opening the show with a solo set.

Joe Ely
8 p.m. Saturday, The Stone Mountain Arts Center, 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield, $25,
Joe Ely’s a singer-songwriter who has built a career on making honky-tonk, Tex-Mex, country and good old rock and roll music. His debut was released in 1977 and his most recent is “Satisfied At Last.” Ely also authored “Joe Ely: Bonfire of Roadmaps,” which includes road journal entries, drawings and the ups and downs of a life as a traveling musician.

Leon Russell
8 p.m. Sunday, Jonathan’s, 92 Bourne Lane, Ogunquit, $60,
He’s a legendary musician from Tulsa, Oklahoma who has made a name for himself with gospel-infused southern boogie piano rock, blues and country over the past 50 years. Leon Russell is 73 and shows no signs of slowing down. Expect a riveting performance from the guy with the long white beard and a list of albums that’s just as long.

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