I have sensational news for fans of Portland’s extraordinary local music scene. You have good reason to celebrate as the State of the State show happens on Friday night.

The show is being presented by the newly launched apparel company Katalyst and Baxter Brewing and is being hosted by Katalyst’s Kyle Poissonnier and WCYY’s Mark Curdo.

Rustic Overtones are the headliners, joined by The Mallett Brothers Band, Spose, The Wrecking and The Other Bones. This means you can expect an awesome night of alternative rock, alt-country, hip-hop, electronic and pop-rock.

But not only will there be five terrific bands performing, the memory of local music fan Raina Davis Jensen will be celebrated, and funds will be raised for her foundation. Jensen was killed by an impaired driver on Thanksgiving Day 2010. She was 27.

Jensen, a 2002 graduate of Deering High School in Portland, was a huge Rustic Overtones fan and attended all of their all-ages State Theatre shows when she was a high-school student. This show marks the first time Rustic has played the State in a decade.

The Raina Davis Jensen Foundation will support children and communities in Mali Island and Kia Island in northern Fiji. Jensen worked for a cross-cultural tourism project in Fiji. It was called Tribe Wanted, an online organization that promotes eco-tourism, philanthropy and social networking.

A conversation with Raina’s mother, Jan Jensen, 52, of Portland shed much light on her daughter’s life and her passion for the local music scene. “She loved it. She hung out and listened to the music of several garage bands that friends were in. She was exposed to a lot of people involved with music,” said Jensen.

“She loved Rustic. She went to all of their State Theatre shows,” she added. Jan Jensen went on to say that when her daughter started at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, her love for local music never wavered. “She got immersed in the Vermont scene and fell in love with Grace Potter, who was just getting started, but Raina would (always) find these people who were just starting out. She loved local music everywhere, whether it was in Maine, Fiji, Thailand or Vermont. She was always bringing home local CDs.”

Jan Jensen inherited her daughter’s Mac computer, and when she was ready, she checked out all the music on it, which included some from the Dave Matthews Band that spurred her to attend a Dave Matthews concert.

It was last December that Jan went to her first Rustic show. The band had reunited for two sold-out shows at The Big Easy, and she went both nights. “They were just incredible; they blew me away. I paid so much money to see the Dave Matthews Band, but I would have paid double to see Rustic.”

A post-show conversation with Rustic front man Dave Gutter resulted in Jan getting in touch with Rustic’s management, and all parties agreed that the State of the State show would be a perfect time to spread the word about the Raina Davis Jensen Foundation. A booth will be set up in the lobby where Jan and friends will be selling T-shirts, sweatshirts and water bottles with the foundation’s logo. There will also be information available about the foundation, and a video about Raina will be shown.

Jan Jensen ended our chat by noting the healing powers of music and how important it’s been for her own healing process. “The Maine music scene is incredible. It’s pulled me through this horrible experience, and I’m constantly going online checking out new music and going through Raina’s iTunes.”  

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

aponti@pressherald.com 

TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.