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.
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.
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.
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!