Combining the best parts of jam band and Americana music, Dirigo has just released its debut CD, “Jamericana.” The Americana elements come from Coming Grass bandmates Steve Jones (guitars, bass, vocals) and Ginger Cote (drums, vocals). As for the jam, look no further than members of Strangefolk, Luke Patchen Montgomery (guitars, vocals) and Erik Glockler (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals).

GO cornered Montgomery for his take on the band’s sound, songs and direction.

How did you choose Dirigo as the band name?

I came up with Dirigo as a tribute to Maine itself. All the members besides me are from there – I’m a New Yorker – and I feel like I am a Mainer in exile. I love the state, and I go there all the time to play with these guys. It’s also a tribute to our determination in forming this band. Dirigo means “I lead” in Latin. Erik (Glockler) and I had a lot of downtime with our band Strangefolk and had decided to “take lead” on a band together. I also just love the way it sounds. I think it’s a cool word.

What about “Jamericana?”

It came out of a conversation about “what do we sound like?” Half the band has a jam band background, and half has a rootsy, Americana background. I can’t remember who put jam and Americana together, but it stuck, and I think it describes the record pretty perfectly, too.

What’s the brief history of the band’s formation?

Erik and I started playing together the way we do in Dirigo practically the day I joined Strangefolk in 2000. We would stay up after shows and sing harmonies on the bus, playing Beatles songs. At its core, Dirigo is a natural progression of that.

We got Stevie (Jones) on board in ’03 or so, and that is when the band as it sounds today really formed. He writes prolifically, sings and plays a mean slide guitar. His addition added a real rootsy, bluesy vibe that took our sound to another level.

Ginger (Cote) hopped on a couple of years ago, and she fits in perfectly with that new sound. The intent at first was to simply have an outlet for the “back of the bus” harmonizing we were doing, but once we picked up Stevie and Ginger we realized, hey, this is a pretty serious outfit.

Despite the fact that three of you wrote songs on “Jamericana,” do you think there are any running themes woven across them?

We all have pretty different songwriting styles in that you can definitely tell an Erik song from a Stevie song and a Stevie song from me, etc., but in terms of our lyrical content, I notice all of our songs have a little bit of melancholy, I think, dressed up in a happy package. We acknowledge, hey, life can be pretty painful at times, but damn it, let’s make the best of it. Listen to “Wrong Way,” “Before the Moment’s Gone” or “Day Job,” and you can see the thread through all three of those songs.

What was Dirigo’s approach to making this record?

We did this one a little differently than we have done in the past with other records. Usually a band comes in with some songs that were all ready to go, after getting all the parts down and tested on the road or in rehearsal. With this record, because we had so much freedom and time, we decided to find our parts in the studio, sometimes as we were recording it. It was a pretty thrilling experience. The songs were extremely spontaneous that way, and have an energy I don’t think we could have otherwise achieved.

Is Dirigo the primary focus for all four of you, or do you all still have other bands that are currently active?

Dirigo is absolutely our main focus, but we all play in other bands when we have free time. You cannot stop us from playing!

Where can people pick up a copy of “Jamericana?”

The record is available at all Bull Moose record stores. It’s also available at CD Baby and iTunes, or just hit our website, dirigomusic.com.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]