If you really wanted to completely immerse yourself in some of the best of what Portland and New England have to offer for live music, you could go out four nights in a row and have yourself one heck of a good time.

Your first stop would be in Freeport tonight to see Samuel James. Tomorrow night, it’s back to Portland for Kris Delmhorst. On Saturday, your destination is Biddeford to hear South China. Then you have your choice of either Sunday night back in Freeport or Monday night in Hallowell to see Ellis Paul.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I suppose you could rest, but where’s the fun in that? After all, on Tuesday night, the weekly Clash of the Titans at Empire puts Ray Lamontagne up against Nick Drake (go Nick!) and its hip-hop open mic night on Wednesday at the Big Easy. Hey man, that’s what naps are for. See ya.

Songster Samuel James continues to trip me up, because I never know quite how to give him his proper due. Bear with me on this attempt. James is a sublime, old-soul, young-man, neo-blues troubadour revivalist. Or something like that. He is a wizard of the finger-style guitar, slide, banjo, harmonica and yes, even piano.

James also pens songs that will convince you that he used to sneak out of his house after midnight and wind up in a Prohibition-era speakeasy, where he’d jam and trade stories and songs with his influences – Gus Gannon, Sonny Terry, Skip James and Charley Patton – ’til the sun came up over the banks of the Mississippi.

After the Freeport performance, James will pack his bags for a string of dates across Canada, and then it’s off to Norway, Germany and Belgium. For a few good belts of James, slide on over to www.myspace.com/sugarsmallhouse.

Samuel James. 7:30 tonight. Venue Music Bar, 5 Depot St., Freeport. Ages 21 and older. $10 at www.venuemusicbar.com or 865-1780.

After many months on the road, the experimental dynamic duo South China (Jerusha and Jeremy Robinson) are back home – for the moment anyway – and have a Saturday-night show lined up at Hogfarm Studios Annex in Biddeford. Be sure to tether yourself to something before listening to South China’s music, or you’ll end up floating into their cello, guitar and gentle accordion clouds, guided by voices in a halcyon cocoon.

Wait, what am I saying? Cut the ties and go there by way of “Terryhead” and “Painting” at www.myspace.com/southchinamusic.

South China with The Accident that Led me to the World and Micah Blue Smaldone. 8 p.m. Saturday. Hogfarm Studios Annex, 140 Main St., Biddeford All ages. $8 at the door. Go to www.hogfarmstudios.com for more information.

My emotional response is similar when I hear two different sounds. The first is the sound of a single cello being played, and the second is when Ellis Paul sings. I become one with the moment, and there isn’t a pore of my being that isn’t permeated.

With Paul, it doesn’t particularly matter what he’s singing, although the fact that he is such a veracious wordsmith who can reach into the hidden, well-protected chambers of a person’s heart makes him all the more worth listening to.

“The Day After Everything Changed” is his first studio album in five years and, heck yeah, it was worth the wait. Its inhabitants are 15 songs that navigate their way through hurricanes, found love, lost love, life, death, fireworks, devilish grins, Las Vegas and the back seat of a Buick.

I was also reminded of Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give  Up” when I heard the track “Rose Tattoo”: “The economy’s crashing and this poor boy’s laughing, cause there’s nothing to lose/ We don’t live in no mansion, there’s no bling to put on, only Walmart fashions will do,” sings Paul. Annie Clements lends her backup vocals to the song, and it’s one of my favorites on the album.

One last thing: There’s no Ellis Paul like a live Ellis Paul and you’ve got two chances, on Sunday and Monday nights, so take your pick and enjoy.

Ellis Paul with Adam Ezra. 8 p.m. Sunday. Venue Music Bar, 5 Depot St., Freeport. Ages 21 and older. $20. www.venuemusicbar.com. 8 p.m. Monday. Slates Restaurant, 169 Water St., Hallowell. All ages. $20. slatesrestaurant.com.

“The Birds of Belfast” is such a fantastic song that – say it with me, people – “I can hardly stand it.” You’ll find it on Kris Delmhorst’s most recent album, “Shotgun Singer”:

“When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name? When did all those silver ashes breathe into flame? Who are you without your sadness? Who am I without my shame?”

While that song isn’t posted, you’ll find plenty of others that are, including the achingly moody yet hopeful “Blue Adeline,” also from “Shotgun,” at www.myspace.com/krisdelmhorst.

If I had a nickel for every absolutely outstanding musician who calls western Massachusetts home, I’d take us all out to the ballgame – and then some.

Kris Delmhorst with Andy Friedman. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square, Portland. $15 advance; $18 door. onelongfellowsquare.com.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

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