Tag Archives: Brunswick Maine

Connor Garvey and Sorcha Cribben-Merrill

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Frontier, Brunswick Maine

I was so glad to finally get to see Maine’s own Connor Garvey. We’ve traveled in similar Maine music circles for ages, but our paths had somehow never crossed. Sorcha Cribben-Merrill is a friend in music. She’s played Swine & Stein Oktoberfest in my sweet little town in 2013 and 2014, but I’d also never seen her play a sit down show. This was a lovely Saturday night to really sit down and see both of these talented Maine musicians shine.

Connor and Sorcha played the whole night together, alternating between their songs. Connor joked that he’d wanted Sorcha to play some shows together for a long time, and so he just went ahead and booked a handful of dates as a duo. It forced them to finally sit down and work out parts for each other on their songs. Their harmonies were lovely. These two are clearly friends and it was great to watch them happily share the stage with their wide range of musical stylings.

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Connor Garvey and Sorcha Cribben-Merrill

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I really like Connor’s song “Willow.” His voice is crystal clear and it’s always refreshing to be able to hear all the words to a song. The lyrics to “Willow” resonate—“The more she showed/Her longing for a love not there/She wept for a love not there.” One of the best things about this night was hearing the stories behind a lot of the songs. Sorcha talked a lot about her grandfather, who was a country doctor in Oregon, and played “Carving,” which she wrote about his life, and “Spark,” which she wrote on an airplane on her way to his memorial.

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Connor played a lovely song for us he played on his wedding day. Sorcha followed up with a song about unrequited love. The whole night was like sitting around a campfire in their backyard. It all felt wonderfully personal. Connor told us a funny story about how he accidentally booked a gig on St. Patrick’s Day (he’s a redhead with an Irish name, so avoids that), and played plucky “Irish Song,” which he wrote for the occasion.

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Sorcha and Connor co-wrote a stunning song about the love they have for their grandparents and more specifically about all of the things their grandparents have passed on to them. You should really check out “All These Things.” I hope Sorcha and Connor record it together soon. What a treat to see you both play!

xo,

bree

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Ellis Paul

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Unitarian Universalist Church, Brunswick, Maine

This was my 46th Ellis Paul show, and it was fantastic. Obviously, some Ellis Paul shows are better than others, and I can tell the difference, even if I’m biased. There was a point in time a few years ago when Ellis’ voice sounded strained (he plays hundreds of shows a year, so that’s to be expected) and he needed to work with a voice coach and get some vocal rest. I also didn’t love how he gave up telling a lot of his best stories about a year ago (how he found his guitar, Guinness, for example) to banter instead about how we’ve lost our connection to music we can hold in our hands and carried a record player around to all of his shows. The last two of his shows that I saw (January 1 at One Longfellow Square) and this lovely night were full of the best of Ellis—with a powerful voice and great storytelling.

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Ellis Paul

Hedda and I have been friends since we both had bad hair in high school (she had a bowl cut. I had a spiral perm). She was able to join me at the beautiful Unitarian Universalist Church in Brunswick for her first-ever Ellis Paul show. My dear colleague Dennis and his beloved wife, Jean, were also able to come for their first-ever Ellis experience. I love introducing people to Ellis Paul. It never gets old. All of them, of course, loved him. He was really on that night!

Bree and Hedda

Girls’ night out! Me and Hedda!

This show was one in a series of Concerts for a Cause at the UU Church. They host concerts to raise money for local charities chosen by church members. This year’s charities are Midcoast Hunger Prevention, Tedford Housing, Independence Association, Spindleworks, Habitat for Humanity, Gathering Place, Boys to Men, Maine Hospice, ILAP (Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project), Natural Resources of Maine, Coastal Humane Society, and Doctors Without Borders.

It’s time for a brief concert etiquette lesson. If you’re taking photos at a concert with a camera that makes sound, it’s polite to shoot during a few songs and then put the camera away. The same goes for taking photos with a cell phone, even if it’s silent. No one wants to listen to your camera click or watch a show through your cell phone screen if they’re stuck sitting behind you. It is not polite to take photos throughout every song such that people around you can’t enjoy the tender moments in the song because everyone in a five-plus row radius can only hear the constant click of your camera. I spoke to this particular Ellis superfan during intermission and asked her to kindly put the loud camera away after intermission, and she obliged. I think the folks sitting behind her had to endure watching the rest of the show through the screen of her cell phone while she took photos without sound (a bummer still, even if somewhat an improvement), but the second half of the show was a ton more enjoyable for those of us a bit farther away.

Ellis Piano

Ellis at the piano and the offending constant click of that camera in the foreground. Audience etiquette no no.

Ellis obviously impressed the sold out crowd. Folks were toe tapping and laughing and singing along (when invited) all night long. The truly talented Laurie MacAllister from Red Molly sang a few songs with Ellis. She’s performed with him every time I’ve seen him over the last year or so, and is a real treat. He introduced us to his beautiful new guitar, Sprocket, which he invited us to take a closer look at after the show. I didn’t take notes and just enjoyed the show; so I have nothing resembling a set list for you, but I remember that he wrapped his set with an improved song at the piano about being back in Maine (which was creative and hilarious) and his encore was an unplugged sing along to Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” from the middle of the room.

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Ellis and Laurie

Ellis Paul and Laurie MacAllister

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“Circle Game” from the center of the room.

Do you think you get to sing a song on stage with Ellis at your 50th Ellis show? Starting to plan ahead. Thank you, Ellis, for another wonderful night!

xo,

bree

Sprocket

Ellis’ new guitar, Sprocket!

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