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David Wilcox

Friday, December 4, 2015

Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine

It was a really busy Friday night in Gardiner because a lot of people were in town to enjoy Gardiner ArtWalk. I peeled myself away from some of my favorite galleries (yes, we have a few in sweet Gardiner, Maine) to grab a good seat at Johnson Hall to see David Wilcox. Executive Director Mike Miclon has raved about David Wilcox’s music for a while now, but he’d never had a chance to see the North Carolina resident live. Mike discovered David Wilcox years ago on NPR during an episode of Car Talk that played David Wilcox’s tune, “Rusty Old American Dream.” Mike was hooked. He bought David’s complete musical collection and was really excited to see him live for the first time. His energy got me pumped for the show. Also, Mike had made a mix CD of music of people who are performing at Johnson Hall this season, and I kept skipping back to play David Wilcox’s “Language Of The Heart.” It’s beautiful. His live show, however, was far from it.

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Every so often, you’re really excited for a show and it falls completely flat. Sometimes people are better on record, which is a big disappointment for those of us who love to see music performed live. David’s live show left a lot to be desired. He was overly effusive and a little odd during his song introductions and I had an impossible time connecting with him and enjoying his protracted stories. At least, then, I’d hoped to enjoy his songs, but I found them unappealing—to the point that I left at intermission, which I really almost never do. I would be interested to know if David Wilcox has a strong live show following and, if so, what folks who enjoy him live see in him. I sure missed it, but I’m glad I was there just in case! You never know!

xo,

bree

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Jeffrey Foucault with Caitlin Canty

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine

I first caught Jeffrey Foucault sharing songs with Mark Erelli at One Longfellow Square back in December of 2011 and I was smitten. There’s something incredibly unassuming about him, so when he opened his mouth and these captivating, heartfelt, honest lyrics poured beautifully out of him, I was caught a little off guard. He is fantastic live—a true storyteller. He came back to OLS in May of 2012, and I grabbed a front row spot to soak in the show. At some point in the night he introduced his friend and fellow musician, Vermont’s Caitlin Canty. She was in Portland working on a new record, and he’d taken her out for dinner before the show. He said she owed him a song, and “invited” her to the stage to sing with him. She is the real deal, and I was really impressed with her gritty, yet airy voice. What I didn’t know at the time was that I’d witnessed (and documented) their first performance together. Now, a few years later, they’ve toured extensively together. I feel lucky to have witnessed them at the very beginning of their musical relationship. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Caitlin after that show back in 2012, and she has become a friend-in-music who I look forward to seeing whenever she’s in town.

My steadfast concert buddy Colin and I grabbed front row spots at One Longfellow Square to enjoy the show up close (obviously). We met Nicole, who was solo and sitting next to us in the front row. She was lovely—it’s always great to meet great folks at shows. Nicole lives in Madrid and runs a travel company, but was staying in Portland for a month and had picked this show to check out. I made her a list of musicians I thought she should know about, and as if on cue, my dear friend and talented Portland-based musician, Max Garcia Conover, sat down with us to enjoy the show. He was obviously on the list I’d made for Nicole.

Caitlin Canty took the stage, and was joined by Jeffrey Foucault, Billy Conway, and Jeremy Moses Curtis for the whole of her seven-song set. Their energy as a band is fantastic—these folks are definitely friends and their chemistry is apparent. I especially enjoyed “Southern Man,” “Get Up,” and Caitlin’s stunning cover of Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend.” Caitlin’s second full-length album, Reckless Skyline (produced by Jeffrey Foucault), is getting some of the attention it deserves, especially by NPR, who introduced “Get Up” as one of the “Songs We Love” early in 2015.

From left to right: Jeffrey Foucault, Caitlin Canty, and Billy Conway

From left to right: Jeffrey Foucault, Caitlin Canty, Billy Conway, and Jeremy Moses Curtis

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Jeffrey Foucault and the band (now including Caitlin) took the stage (again) after a quick break to play Jeffrey’s songs. They were also joined at some point by guitarist Mark Spencer. They played a bunch of tunes from Jeffrey’s October 2015 release, Salt As Wolves, which was apparently recorded in just three days in rural Minnesota. I especially enjoyed “Slow Talker” and “Heart to the Husk” in the beginning of their set. Jeffrey and Caitlin unplugged and stepped to the edge of the stage to play her song “Leaping Out” and a cover of “Drown in My Own Tears” together. They both had big smiles on their faces while they played and the positive energy was contagious.

Jeffrey and Caitlin unplugged

Jeffrey and Caitlin unplugged

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The band wrapped up their set with the melancholy, lovely “Paradise” and then brought it up with “Left This Town.” We roared with applause and the band treated us to an encore—one of my (new) favorite Jeffrey Foucault songs, “Hurricane Lamp.” I listened to Jeffrey’s interview with David Greene on NPR’s Morning Edition, and he talked about thinking about a friend having a hard time fighting cancer when he wrote the song.

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You should definitely see Jeffrey Foucault and Caitlin Canty live if they come to town. Check out their Daytrotter session if you need a little extra urging. Thanks so much for a great night!

xo,

bree

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The Ballroom Thieves with The Bros. Landreth

Friday, November 20

Portland House of Music, Portland, Maine

This show would have been perfect, but the same difficult woman who pushed and verbally harassed me at The Ballroom Thieves show at Empire six months ago was sadly at this show and was as obnoxious as last time. At least I was much further away from her at this show. Concert etiquette is an easy thing to understand—put your phone down, whisper when you talk, respect the personal space of others—but it sadly doesn’t mean everyone comes to a live show to actually listen to the music. For those of us who do, people who ignore those basic rules are the worst. This woman (whose name I know and have decided to withhold after much deliberation) saw me during this show and pointed and waved sarcastically at me during it, all the while talking at more than full volume just inches from the stage while the Thieves performed. I guess she wasn’t really drunk when she was so badly behaved sixth months ago (which was the excuse for her behavior I’d invented) because she shouldn’t have remembered me so many months later. She annoyed the poor people around her so much at this show that they asked her to stop talking over and over again, which she refused, but then she had the audacity to post complaints about how rude the people at the show were later that night on the Facebook event for the show. I continue to be puzzled by her and just hope she’ll skip the next Ballroom Thieves show—for all of our sakes.

Back to the music, though, which was wonderful, even though I was distracted.

This was my first time at Portland House of Music and I liked it. I went with a large group of friends, and we stood next to the stage instead of in the pit, and it offered a great view of the stage. It’s an intimate venue and I don’t think there’s a bad spot in the house. Winnipeg’s The Bros. Landreth were fantastic. The foursome charmed the big crowd with their strong harmonies and honest vocals. At one point, the four stood around one microphone and stunned to silence the entire crowd with their beautiful, sad song, “Greenhouse.” I was truly impressed with their sound and stage presence and have listened to them a bunch since that night. Here’s a piece in Billboard about them that came out last year in advance of their January 2015 release, Let It Lie.  

Bros Landreth

The Bros. Landreth

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The Ballroom Thieves are surely one of my favorite live bands and I love their music so, so much. Martin, Devin, and Callie have incredible chemistry, beautiful harmonies, and heartfelt, engaging songs. They’ve toured a bunch to support A Wolf in the Doorway, and I’m thankful I got to see them live in April, September, and November of 2015. I’m eager for a new album from the Thieves, which must be coming since they’ve played lots of great new songs during these shows. They’re playing a show tomorrow night on New Year’s Eve with Lady Lamb and The Ghost of Paul Revere at State Theatre. (I’ve decided not to go just in case she-who-shall-not-be-named is there, as I don’t want to ring in 2016 anywhere near her.) If you’re feeling up for checking out a fantastic band (you may want to avoid front row center for your concert-going happiness) to end 2015, there are still tickets available! Thieves—I will conjure some bravery to overcome crowd adversity and come see you next time you’re in town! All good things to you in 2016!

xo,

bree

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The Ballroom Thieves

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Guster

Friday, October 16, 2015

Morrell Gym, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Guster is a band that immediately takes me back to my college days in the late 90s (oh my). Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel have been together since the beginning of their college days at Tufts in the early 90s, and have made music together for over 25 years. I was excited when the announcement came that Guster would play a show in Morrell Gym during Bowdoin College Homecoming to celebrate the inauguration of Bowdoin’s new president, Clayton Rose. My favorite Guster memory comes from the fall of my senior year at Bowdoin (2000), when my good friend was the head of the student group that brought concerts to campus, and she assigned me to “keep Guster happy” for the day leading up to their show. I brought them meals, helped them find internet on campus (which was a big challenge in those days), and got to hang out with them a bit ahead of their great show (also in Morrell Gym) that night with Jump, Little Children. I looked through my past shows list and was a little surprised to see that I’ve only seen Guster live nine times, which seems quite few given the impact their music has had on me throughout the years. I was lucky to be at their show at the State Theatre with Howie Day back in 2003 that was recorded and released as a live album, Guster on Ice—Live from Portland Maine. I hadn’t seen Guster since 2013 at L.L.Bean, and it was a treat to have them back at Bowdoin for a private show.

My friends Rachel, Ian, and Jan met me for a delicious dinner at Shere Punjab in Brunswick and we made our way over to Morrell Gym a little bit early to get a good spot up front. I forgot about “college time” and that no one is ever on time ever, and so we were the only people anywhere near the gym when we arrived. We took a walk and hung out a bit in Smith Union and circled back when doors opened and grabbed spots along the barricade at the stage. I was glad to see a lot of Bowdoin staff and alumni friends in the crowd. Guster took the stage to a pretty empty room (see “college time” above), but it was full of exuberant college students a few songs in. Ryan, Adam, and Brian were joined by Luke Reynolds (of Blue Merle), who has been part of the group for about the last five years, and had a couple other musicians join throughout their set, including a Bowdoin student named Roya who played a killer violin part during “Satellite.”

   
    
    
    
    
    
 Ryan took the lead on chatting with the crowd and entertaining song requests from the audience. Someone kept asking for “Parachute,” (which I would have loved to hear myself) and it earned him a conversation with Ryan and a song that Ryan improvised in his honor (but no, they didn’t play “Parachute.”) Ryan joked about playing coming out of retirement to play a show in a gymnasium and welcomed new Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose with a song he ad libbed just for him.

They opened with “Careful” from 2003’s Keep It Together and their encore, “Demons,” was from their 1997 release, Goldfly. I was glad to hear “Happier” and “Barrel Of A Gun” from their 1999 album, Lost and Gone Forever, and I would have LOVED to hear “What You Wish For,” too. While writing this, I realize how many hundreds of times I’ve listened to Lost and Gone Forever, and how much it was the soundtrack to my life in college. Thanks for hosting a great show, Bowdoin College, and welcome, President Rose! Guster—thanks for playing a show in a gym on a Friday night in the middle of Maine. And for everything else, too. 

xo,

bree

   
   

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Gardiner’s 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Water Street, Downtown Gardiner, Maine

I’ve lived in Gardiner for over nine years now and have come to love my sweet little town and am proud to call this fabulous place home. Gardiner continues to grow, and much of that energy and progress has to do with the efforts of Gardiner Main Street. One of my favorite annual events, sponsored by the dedicated folks at Gardiner Main Street, is our Swine & Stein Oktoberfest. It combines Maine beer, Maine pork, and live music from Maine artists. Where else can you get all those things and a beard and mustache competition, a frozen t shirt contest, a rubber chicken toss, AND a rock-paper-scissors competition?! Swine & Stein is always a great day, and this year—the 6th annual—was no different.

Gardiner's 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

Gardiner’s 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

I was thrilled to be asked back as a local judge for the second annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition, sponsored by Monkitree. Mike Miclon, Executive Artistic Director of Johnson Hall, called it a “dog show, but with less touching.” It’s such good fun.

The impressive winners of the Second Annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition

The impressive winners of the Second Annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition

Sometimes, the bearded and mustachioed must dance!

Sometimes, the bearded and mustachioed must dance!

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Bronwyn took home the 4th Annual Rock-Paper-Scissors Competition!

Bronwyn took home the 4th Annual Rock-Paper-Scissors Competition!

We were treated to talented musical acts on the main stage all day—Emilia Dahlin, the Oktoberfest German Band, Muddy Ruckus, The Pete Kilpatrick Band, and The Colwell Brothers. A couple of new things this year—the “Beer U” tent hosted by Craft Beer Celler (opening very soon on Water Street in downtown Gardiner) and a butchering demonstration by Emery’s Meat and Produce that was quite well attended. I don’t eat pork because I think pigs are wicked cute, but I dropped by the butchering demonstration and it was fascinating.

Emilia Dahlin

Emilia Dahlin

The Pete Kilpatrick Band

The Pete Kilpatrick Band

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make Swine & Stein a great day! Gardiner Main Street—you rock! I had the pleasure of introducing The Colwell Brothers to the main stage for their set, and I mentioned to the crowd that we love having everyone visit Gardiner for Swine & Stein, but that we are also here and open for business all the time! Come back and visit us soon! And, of course, we’ll see you next year at Swine & Stein! I took lots more photos, so please check them out below. If you’d like to use one somehow, please give photo credit to Bree Candland of whatbreesees.com. Thank you!

xo,

bree

Swine & Stein is a kid-friendly event

Swine & Stein is a kid-friendly event

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So many Gardiner Main Street volunteers on the scene! Thanks, All!

So many Gardiner Main Street volunteers on the scene! Thanks, All!

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Giant jenga was a bit hit!

Giant jenga was a bit hit!

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All of the Beard & Mustache Competition entrants!

All of the Beard & Mustache Competition entrants!

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The Oktoberfest German Band

The Oktoberfest German Band

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Mike Miclon of Johnson Hall with Clare Marron of Monkitree

Mike Miclon of Johnson Hall with Clare Marron of Monkitree

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Muddy Ruckus

Muddy Ruckus

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Butchering demonstration

Butchering demonstration

Rock-paper-scissors preliminary rounds

Rock-paper-scissors preliminary rounds

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The Colwell Brothers

The Colwell Brothers

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The Ballroom Thieves

Friday, September 25, 2015

Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine

The Ballroom Thieves are a rock solid favorite band of mine and I’ve written about them a bunch on whatbreesees.com. I first saw The Ballroom Thieves open for The Lone Bellow in June of 2013 at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fact that I am in love with The Lone Bellow, but that I didn’t want The Thieves to rush their opening set, speaks volumes about how good they are. Their infectious, percussive, dynamic sound—with honest lyrics and gorgeous harmonies—makes them the full package.

I send an annual email to Mike Miclon, Executive Artistic Director of Gardiner’s historical Johnson Hall, with a list of my favorite acts I’d like to see perform a mere .2 miles from my house in the upcoming year. He fell in love with The Ballroom Thieves right away and reached out to book them for this great season of shows at Johnson Hall. Coming off their first performance at Newport Folk Festival, I wasn’t sure they’d take a gig in such a small town, but they did!

This abundantly talented Boston-based trio—Maine’s own Martin Earley (guitar/vocals), Calin Peters (cello/vocals), and Devin Mauch (percussion/vocals)—is simply made to play music together. This show coincided with their second anniversary as a group. It’s incredible to think how quickly they’ve become such a strong unit. Their first full-length album, A Wolf in the Doorway, beautifully captures their spirit, and their newest songs (a few of which they treated us to) continue to show their growth and evolving energy as a band. I like their music so much that it’s impossible to pick favorites, but I always appreciate getting to hear “Coward’s Son” (Martin’s folks were in the crowd and he reminded us it’s just a lyric) and “Bury Me Smiling” (featuring Calin on lead vocal) live. Devin sang lead on a fantastic cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “My Backwards Walk,” and it shined brightly as a highlight of the night, especially because I can’t recall ever hearing him take the lead vocal part before. I like the trend towards featuring each vocalist solo from time to time. Their beautiful blend makes it tricky to distinguish their individual voices, so getting to hear each one solo is a treat.

The Ballroom Thieves--Martin, Devin, and Calin

The Ballroom Thieves–Martin, Devin, and Calin

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I appreciated that Mike gave me a shout out before introducing the band and credited me with getting The Ballroom Thieves to Gardiner. Although I rarely like to talk to musicians I admire (you never know when they might be having a bad day and it ruins the love you have), I enjoyed friendly banter during the show with all three, which was very kind. After the show, my sweetie pointed out that I chatted with the band enough during the show to be a fourth band member. Devin joked that he must have lost the invitation I sent for putting them up at my house for the night. Funny, because I had meant to send an email to their manager Eric extending an invitation to house them after the show, but I was so busy running Homecoming week at my school that it completely slipped my mind. Sorry, Thieves! You have an open invitation, both to return to Johnson Hall and to escape the van life for an evening at my house next time you come to town! More pictures below!

xo,

bree

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Unplugged encore on the floor

Unplugged encore on the floor

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Houndmouth with Twin Limb

Monday, September 21, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

Indiana’s Houndmouth played the Newport Folk Festival in 2013 (here’s their full set) and came to Port City Music Hall with Rayland Baxter in March of 2014. They were on the fringes of my radar then, and I missed both shows. I’d heard good buzz about their live show, though, and was excited when I won tickets from 98.9 WCLZ for this one. It was the encouragement I needed to get myself to Portland on a Monday night.

Twin Limb—a duo from Louisville, KY—was well worth showing up early for. Lacey Guthrie on accordion (yep, accordion) and Maryliz Bender on drums sang lovely harmonies and sounded fantastic together. Their sound was ethereal and full and not completely unlike Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Check out their song “Red Sun” to get a sense of their style.

Twin Limb

Twin Limb

Houndmouth brought it! They were quite a departure from their friends Twin Limb, and were so different style-wise, that their raucous rock music caught me a tiny bit off guard in the best possible way. They came out in costume, too—a shiny silver (potentially) pleather shirt with a bright blue cape, cheetah print bellbottom stretch pants, even a faux fur coat. They didn’t take themselves too seriously (obviously) and clearly came to entertain. I had a total blast! I was glad to hear “Sedona” and “Say It,” both from their 2015 release Little Neon Limelight. We had such fun early on that we texted our friend Bartlett, who looks an awful lot like the guitarist with the cheetah pants, and got him over to the party halfway through the set. A super fun Monday night! Definitely catch Houndmouth if they’re in a city near you! iPhone pictures below!

xo,

bree

Houndmouth

Houndmouth

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