March 13, 2010

The Night Is Young


— By . PONTI

Happy Thanksgiving, friends, family and strangers one and all. I give thanks for a much recovered lower back. I give thanks for Dustin Pedroia. I give thanks for my 98-year-old grandmother, Nana Mary. I give thanks to the entire Ponti and Burke family. I give thanks for a good cup of decaf.

I give thanks for a newfound patriotism. I give thanks for everyone who has said hello on the street. I give thanks to Pandora LaCasse for her amazing light creations that make winter bearable every year.

I give thanks to all the musicians who have sent me their CDs, pointed me toward their Web sites, told me about their shows, shared with me their stories and who have made my life better with their music.

Here's hoping that by Friday night the tryptophan hangover will have worn off and you will be ready to rock the Casbah proper. If you got sucked into the vortex of Black Friday bargain-hunting, that's fine; just be sure to schedule a proper disco nap.

Yes, people, it's the Thanksgiving Recovery Program starring the Pete Kilpatrick Band along with Marie Morsehead and Roy Davis and the Dregs. Dregs player Travis Kline has just released an EP, and a few of those songs will be slipped into their set. The Kline EP is called ''More Time,'' and all five tracks are strong. Among the players are slide guitarist Jon Graboff of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, as well as Roy Davis and Justin Maxwell. Expect to hear more about Kline in '09.

Pete Kilpatrick Band, Thanksgiving Recovery Program Show. 9 p.m. Friday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $10, 18-plus

HOPE (Honduras Outreach Providing Education) will be at the North Star on Friday night, and you can learn all about its mission: to provide materials for children, teachers and parents in school programs. The organization also coordinates student sponsorship programs to enable children to attend HOPE schools, as well as providing clothing, school supplies and nutritional supplements for children and their families.

Live music will come from singer-songwriter Jahn Sood and the soul-funk-blues band Murray's Rule. I listened to samples from Sood's 2005 debut solo album, ''I Will Go,'' and the track ''Moving On'' caught my fancy. ''I wrote one verse in Connecticut, I wrote one verse in Maine, I wrote a verse in Amsterdam, and I've never been to Spain,'' sings Sood. ''Behind Locked Doors'' was another that struck me. ''Today I'm sorry that I led you on, that's not what I wanted to do. Never wanted to do you any harm,'' confesses Sood with a voice that makes me think of Cat Stevens because of its emotionally saturated rawness.

Fundraiser for HOPE with music by Jahn Sood and Murray's Rule. 7 p.m. Friday. North Star Music Cafe, 225 Congress St., Portland. Donations encouraged. All ages.

Musician Travis James Humphrey described Gunther Brown so succinctly, I simply must use said quote: ''Gunther Brown feels like a good punk band that discovered Hank Williams and comfortably evolved into an alt-country thing.''

So, in case it's not clear, Gunther Brown is a band, not a guy. In fact, it's four guys: John V. Boyle, Pete Dubuc, Ethan Gamage and Derek Mills. I listened to five tracks on their MySpace page and dug 'em all first time through.

The band members converged via their mutual love for alt-country music. It didn't take long for them to also realize their shared appreciation for '80s alternative, in particular bands like New Order and the Smiths (double hoorah to that!).

Dubuc has a sandpapery voice that is comfortable and distinct. He is the primary songwriter and makes his mark with ''Say Goodbye'' and ''Great Eustis Jailbreak.'' Boyle's electric guitar is as significant as Dubuc's words and vocals, and when you add the rhythm section of Gamage and Mills, well, it sounds darned good.

Gunther Brown. 1 p.m. Sunday. North Star Music Cafe, 225 Congress St., Portland.,

Reggae-jam-power pop act Gruvenwood out of Bowdoin is among a four-band lineup at MJ's in Brunswick on Saturday night for an evening appropriately called Gobble Gobble. So down a turkey sandwich and wash it down with a pint of suds and several hours of live, local music.

You also can enjoy some Topsham-style rock from the Allegiance. Also from Topsham is Chris Shankle, formerly of the experimental rock band Fifty Seven Foxtrot. A quick FYI: Shankle's got a killer voice. I couldn't get a handle on the Bumping Uglies online but am willing to go out on a limb and say that they will only add to the free-flowing fun to be had at MJ's.

Gruvenwood, the Allegiance, Chris Shankle and Bumping Uglies. 9:30 p.m. Saturday. MJ's Grille & Tavern, 94 Maine St., Brunswick. $5. 21-plus. 729-6574

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. She can be contacted at:

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