Monthly Archives: March 2013

Geneviève Beaudoin

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blue, Portland, Maine

It’s with a lot of pride that I introduce you to Geneviève Beaudoin, whose name you’ll surely be hearing again. I met Genny when she walked into my classroom in May of 2007, a polite and wide eyed eighth grader visiting my high school social studies classroom on Step Up Day. She was an exceptional student in my Ancient World Cultures class as a ninth grader in the fall—a true scholar who saw connections between the past and present and understood how and why to glean lessons from the past. I was thrilled to have her. I have never been more impressed at a school musical than I was when I saw her as the lead in Once Upon a Mattress that year. She was charismatic and a pleasure to watch on stage. I’ll never forget how blown away I was when Genny played a song at one of the open mic nights I hosted at Mt. Ararat during her senior year. She fingerpicked an acoustic guitar with ease and I was impressed by her strong voice. At the end of her performance, I asked her who wrote the song. When she said that she had, I didn’t believe her at first. It showed wisdom beyond her years.

All grown up now, Geneviève Beaudoin is a student at NYU and an up and coming singer songwriter. In her first year at NYU, she performed in and won her dorm’s talent show which gave her a spot in NYU’s talent showcase. Here’s where it gets interesting—Lady Gaga once lived in the same freshman dorm and also performed in and won the same dorm’s talent show. Through the transitive property, Geneviève is on her way to extraordinary stardom!

“KS” wrote a spot on description of Geneviève and her music that’s on both her website and her Facebook page:

“Geneviève Beaudoin is 19 but she’s not young.

The budding singer-song writer has been shaped by a vibrant family–half American, half French—and has learned from different homes in Lyon, France; New York, New York and a small town in rural Maine. To that end, Geneviève’s original songs are raw, multi-faceted, and mature. With their perception and poetry, her lyrics reflect a solidified spirit—and the voice that sings them is one skilled beyond others of her years. Her folk and blues compositions are at times playful and witty; other times, achingly poignant. Regardless of its emotion, though, or the language in which it’s sung, Geneviève’s art is always stirring.

She has been performing at venues across coastal and southern Maine this summer, and will release her first EP soon.”

I got to Blue in Portland a little before Geneviève’s set. It was great to see her while she was home on break and to catch up with her dear friend Mary and her delightful family—even her dad, who went to Colby. (No hard feelings, John!) Geneviève introduced me again to Dietrich Strause who was playing after her. I saw him open for Ben Sollee at One Longfellow Square back in August. Dietrich is very good and I wish I’d been able to stay for his set, too.

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Geneviève Beaudoin

Genevieve Beaudoin

A small, but attentive crowd (including Portland singer songwriter Max Garcia Conover) gathered as Geneviève took the stage with her original bluesy folk songs. Here’s her setlist from the night:

  • “Go On,” which Geneviève wrote with her friend Kate on the quad at Bowdoin College—my alma mater!
  • “Selfish Mind,” which is the first song Geneviève ever wrote. It was for her high school sweetheart essentially declaring her love for him. He eventually told her he didn’t like the song and they broke up shortly after. This is the song I heard Genny play at open mic night her senior year, so I was one of the first lucky people to hear it. It’s full of wisdom.
  • “Little Fangs” was written from the former boyfriend’s perspective. I liked the lyric “put your ghosts on the table/ring ’em out until you’re able/to luck up with your bursting eyes/The fire inside/it does, it dies.”
  • “Another Secret”
  • “Settling” was dedicated to Geneviève’s mom (it’s her favorite) who sang along from the audience. It was adorable.
  • “I Could,” which featured some great guitar thumping percussion.
  • “Fatigue,” which is a new song Geneviève called a work in progress, but was perhaps my favorite song of the night. It was inspired by the short film, Destino.
  • “Blued Metal,” another new song and also a work in progress, was inspired by a passage from Cold Mountain. Geneviève asked us before she played it if any of us had read the book. I think I shouted out that it was “so depressing.” She said, “I know! No one warned me!”
  • “Stay,” which was Geneviève’s last song and one she said was about her fears and the things she’s bad at. I liked the image she painted with the lyric “I’m your paper doll/you’re cutting me down.”

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By the end of her set, I’d written down and then underlined (twice) “NOT 19 years old!” Geneviève’s songs are mature and wise despite her youth, and she is such a pleasure to see live. You can keep in touch with her on her Facebook page (where she graciously promotes this blog!), her website, or on Twitter. Definitely don’t pass up the chance to see Geneviève live. Genny—thanks for such a lovely evening! Can’t wait to see you again soon!

xo,

bree

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Milo Greene with Savoir Adore

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Empire Dine and Dance, Portland, Maine

I saw Milo Greene open for The Civil Wars in November of 2011 and was very, very impressed. They have no lead singer, but a drummer (Curtis Marrero) and four other musicians (Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Andrew Heringer, and Marlana Sheetz) who all sing beautifully and pass instruments constantly back and forth. Their harmonies were spot on, and I loved their songs. I bought their three song EP for five dollars and listened to it on repeat for much of my three hour drive home to Maine. I got to see them again in Boston about a year later at Brighton Music Hall. I got to the venue super early and was literally the only person in line until Maddie joined me. Hi, Maddie! We’re still in touch almost six months later. She’s a Milo Greene mega fan. She went to a summer camp in California where Andrew Heringer was a staff member. He came outside for an interview while we were waiting and she said hello to him. It precipitated a twenty-minute conversation in which I learned how down to Earth and kind he is.

My Gardiner lady friends Andrea and Kate and I spent the day in Portland supporting the local economy and had a leisurely dinner at Local Sprouts and then a pre-show margarita at Taco Escobarr. We were sure to get to Empire Dine and Dance early to get a good spot for the show. We made our way upstairs and I spotted Andrew coming our way to get to the merch table. I decided to say hi and told him we’d met back in Boston. He said, “yeah, your friend was at our gig last night in Boston.” Good memory!  He stopped and talked to us for twenty or so minutes. I’d seen on Facebook that they were looking for Vermont skiing suggestions and my friend Kate is a Vermonster, so they chatted at length about all the things the band could do on their day off. At some point, Kate even had Andrew’s iPhone in her hands using Google maps to show him some points of interest. It was hilarious. Anyhow, thanks, Andrew, for taking the time to be nice to your fans. It’s appreciated.

We wrapped our conversation because Brookyln’s Savoir Adore took the stage. They were dressed in all white and were mesmerizing. Andrea, Kate, and I took to them immediately. There was even synchronized dancing. What? Yes. It was awesome. I particularly liked “Loveliest Creature” and another song (sorry, I didn’t catch the title) about “teardrops in your eyes.” They had a lot of stage presence and personality and I liked their harmonies. I’d see them again in a heartbeat. Check out Savoir Adore’s full set from Brooklyn Bowl.

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Savoir Adore

Savoir Adore

Synchronized dancing!

Synchronized dancing!

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Savoir Adore and Milo Greene both took the stage to switch gear between sets. Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” was playing over the PA and we all noticed that members of both bands were singing along and doing a little dancing. It was adorable. Andrea, Kate, and I solidified our spot front row center and waited a few more minutes for Milo Greene to start. Here’s their set list from the night:

  • “Take A Step”
  • “Cutty Love”
  • “Silent Way”
  • “Wooden Antlers”
  • “Don’t You Give Up On Me”
  • Wilco’s “Shot In the Arm”
  • “Son My Son,” which is my favorite song on MG’s debut self-titled album. I love the line “just remember the weight of your world’s only resting on me.”
  • “Staging Point,” which is the only one of MG’s original songs they played that is not yet recorded.
  • “Polaroid”
  • “Perfectly Aligned”
  • Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”—a very well done cover!
  • “Autumn Tree,” which is the first song MG wrote together as kind of a songwriter’s group, which really spurred them to start a band.

ENCORE

Setlist

Setlist

There’s no denying Milo Greene’s talent. Their songs are lovely and layered. They can all sing (well, I don’t know if Curtis the drummer can) beautifully, and they function onstage as a cohesive and comfortable unit. Their harmonies are breathtaking. I am ready for even more Milo Greene music. Their shows tend to be relatively short because even though they play a couple of covers and everything from Milo Greene, that’s only about an hour of music. They don’t banter a ton, either, so it does leave audience members wishing for more time with them. Is there new music on the way, Milo Greene? With their relatively quick rise to stardom and near constant touring, I am not sure they’ve had the time to write much new stuff.

Andrew and Marlana

Andrew and Marlana

Graham

Graham

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Curtis is back there on drums

Curtis is back there on drums

Andrew and Robbie

Andrew and Robbie

Check out their short film, Moddison, which was released in October and is a series of music videos for every song on their debut self-titled album. I’ve read in Milo Greene interviews online that they are all passionate about film scoring and sometimes call their music cinematic pop. Their music would surely play well as a soundtrack.

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Love this shot of Marlana

Love this shot of Marlana

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Some magical things happened before, during, and after the show. En route, we passed by a gentleman who told me “I have a video of me killing people.” That was quite a moment. Before the show, we got to chat with Andrew and he was lovely. During the show, the woman next to me was beside herself with joy. She’d first heard Milo Greene while on the treadmill at the gym and was really moved by the music. It was hilarious. After the show, Empire turned on Madonna’s greatest hits and a bunch of guys hit the dance floor in rare form. It was a thing of beauty.

Thanks for the kind words, Graham! Oh--there I am in the front row!

Thanks for the kind words, Graham! Oh–there I am in the front row!

Milo Greene—come back to Maine someday? I learned from Marlana’s video blog that Empire Dine and Dance has a subpar green room, but I promise there are better ones in Portland! Thanks for a great night!

xo,

bree

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Shawn Mullins with Chuck Cannon

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine

I was so excited for this show and it exceeded all of my expectations. I love Shawn Mullins. He is by far one of my top favorite singer songwriters. I think I survived my sophomore year of college because of his album, Soul’s Core. When I studied abroad in Namibia in the fall of 1999, I transferred the album to tape (high tech, I know) and brought it with me. I vividly recall listening to it on repeat to fall asleep during my three week long rural home stay. I was really sick from bad drinking water and missing clean running water and electricity and English. I believe the music helped. 98.9 WCLZ played Soul’s Core in it’s entirety years ago as my “Desert Island Disc.” Ethan played it with clips of an interview with me about it interspersed. I wish I had a recording of it. I finally saw Shawn in 2011 at the The Strand Theatre in Rockland and decided to stay after the show to tell him that story. He listened patiently and responded with kindness. I’m always afraid to meet musicians I look up to in case they are unfriendly, but Shawn was a complete gentleman.

Shawn and I on April 29, 2011 at The Strand in Rockland, Maine

Shawn and I on April 29, 2011 at The Strand in Rockland, Maine

Back to the night of the show. I circled Portland for parking for ages, and finally made my way to One Longfellow Square almost 30 minutes after doors opened. I snagged an aisle seat in the second row (phew), and settled in for Chuck Cannon’s opening set. I’d never heard of Chuck Cannon, but I seemed to be in the minority. It turns out that he’s a prolific and decorated songwriter from South Carolina. Countless artists have sung his songs, and he wrote some of the songs he played in Shawn’s set later in the night. I had no idea. By his second song, I was totally hooked. He talked about his family full of Pentecostal ministers, and you could readily hear the influence of growing up in a conservative Christian household on his music. I absolutely loved his story about how his dad offered to help him buy him a car when he was a teenager if he’d agree to cut his long hair. Chuck didn’t tell us how it turned out. I would have gone for the haircut. Chuck said he told his dad that Jesus had long hair. His dad replied, “sure, but Jesus walked everywhere.” I laughed a lot during Chuck’s set. He’s quite the storyteller.

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Chuck Cannon

Here’s Chuck’s setlist:

  • “Money Don’t Matter”
  • “Poison.” I liked the lyrics, “You can learn to love anything/Even a bird in a cage will sing a song/Even it’s wrong/Even if it kills you in the end.” He asked us before the song how many of us had ever fallen in love with the wrong person. It was quiet in the room. He smiled and joked that the silence usually means “you’re here with them.”
  • Shawn Mullins and Tom Ryan on bass joined Chuck for the rest of his set starting with “Outta This Town.”
  • “If I Was Jesus”
  • “Boyfriend,” which Chuck said was essentially a chick flick with a surprise ending. He used a slide and told us it was his first time using one. I don’t think I believe him.

There was a brief intermission between sets. Shawn took the stage and opened with “Twin Rocks, Oregon” from Soul’s Core. I was ecstatic. I love that song, but the whole album means a lot to me. It was so nice to hear it live. After the song, Shawn joked that people were watching online at home through Concert Window and that he’d play his hit “I’ll Be” later (obviously Edwin McCain’s song). He gave his buddy Edwin a shout out just in case he happened to be listening. Shawn and Tom played another song from Soul’s Core next, “Ballad of Billy Jo McKay.” In fact, here’s his setlist from the night. Chuck Cannon joined them often throughout the set.

Chuck Cannon, Shawn Mullins, and Tom Ryan

Chuck Cannon, Shawn Mullins, and Tom Ryan

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  • “Twin Rocks, Oregon”
  • “Ballad of Billy Jo McKay”
  • “Blue” written with Matthew Sweet and Pete Droge of The Thorns
  • “Light You Up” written with Chuck Cannon. The lady sitting behind me was REALLY into that song. We could all hear her enjoying it. It was awkward.
  • “Sunshine”
  • “California”
  • “Catoosa County”
  • “Can’t Remember Summer”—I really like the line “shades of hopeless on the faces of the souls that stand in line.”
  • “She Completes Me”
  • “Lonesome, I Know You Too Well”
  • Chuck’s song “Whiskey Drinkin’ Preacher”
  • “Shimmer”
  • “Beautiful Wreck”—I loved the killer harmonies on this song!
  • “Lullaby”

ENCORE

  • “House of the Rising Sun” from 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor
  • Chuck’s song “Ghost of Johnny Cash”

Shawn told us that he left Columbia for Vanguard in 2005, which is owned by the Welk family (as in Lawrence Welk). His first album with Vanguard was 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor, which was recorded at the recording studio of the same name in New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina just after recording wrapped. I learned that Chuck Cannon co-wrote a bunch of Shawn’s songs. Shawn called Chuck “a songwriter’s songwriter.” “Lonesome, I Know You Too Well” told the story of a guy who played covers at a sports bar in Mississippi who was in love with a bartender there who happened to be the owner’s wife. He could never tell her how he felt about her because the owner had a pistol. And he needed the money from the gigs.

Chuck’s conservative family member apparently started a prayer circle for him after he released his first album. They were offended by the songs, especially “Whiskey Drinkin’ Preacher.” I loved it. Chuck’s religious upbringing is abundantly present in his songs.

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I had somehow not expected to hear “Shimmer” that night, so I got really excited when I heard the opening notes. I was sitting just in front of bassist Tom Ryan and he saw my face light up. I know I’m really expressive. He smiled big at me. I’m glad the guys on stage could see how happy hearing the music live made us.

Shawn introduced “Lullaby” by saying it was the song that changed his career. At the time, he wasn’t sure he could keep making music for a living when he happened upon a girl who told him her tragic life story after a gig at LA’s Genghis Cohen. “Lullaby” is certainly the song that put Shawn on the map in the late 1990s. I was really surprised, actually, that I was by far the youngest person at the show. I thought that I’d be surrounded by other thirty somethings who listened to Shawn in college. I was totally off about that.

Shawn, Chuck, and Tom got a roaring standing ovation from the sold out crowd and played a two-song encore for us. I was so excited when I heard the first few chords of “House of the Rising Sun.” It was added about a month after Hurricane Katrina to 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor and is one of my favorite folk songs. Shawn’s version is fantastic. He said there’s a legend that a lady of the night wrote the song ages ago. They wrapped the night with one of Chuck’s songs, “Ghost of Johnny Cash.” I don’t know if they knew it, but the show that night was on Johnny Cash’s 81st birthday. It was a great end to the night, but I would have gladly stayed for hours more. If you can see Shawn Mullins and Co. live, DO NOT miss it. I was completely taken with Chuck Cannon, too, and look forward to seeing him again. Thanks for these songs, Shawn and friends. They mean so much to me.

xo,

bree

Goodnight!

Goodnight!

Setlist

Setlist

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The Winter That Wasn’t–a mix from Greg

My dear friend Greg is someone who has introduced me to a lot of music that I love. He recently ran a successful Indiegogo campaign (“Make Me a DJ”) to purchase a new computer and DJ equipment. His passion for music is contagious, and he diligently sends seasonal music mixes to some of his music-minded friends (like me!). I was one of those people who made mixtapes for friends back in the day. There was nothing more exciting than getting one from a friend in return. So much effort went in to thinking about what songs to include and in what order they should play. And of course there was mixtape cover art. Does this make anyone else think of High Fidelity?

Greg and I in 2009. We've been friends since 2002.

Greg and I in 2009. We’ve been friends since 2002.

I digress. Greg is technologically savvy, and posts his mixes on 8tracks.com under the moniker ListeningMan. I was so excited when he texted me from Portland, Oregon last night to tell me that he’d posted a mix for me! And it’s SO GOOD. I wanted to share it with you. Check it out here

The Winter That Wasn't. A mix for me!

The Winter That Wasn’t. A mix for me!

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Thanks, Greg. You are such a thoughtful friend.

xo,

bree

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