February 26, 2010

The Night Is Young


— By . PONTI

Well, the tree is at last trimmed, with an improvised Michael Jackson angel topper no less. I'm taking today off to do my shopping, with visions of sugar coma fairies dancing in my head. I finally have the holiday spirit that had eluded me up to this point.

Some new holiday music (and if I never hear Paul McCartney's ''Wonderful Christmastime'' again, it will be too soon), has helped my cause.

Tori Amos' ''Midwinter Graces'' is an illuminating blend of ancient carols and original songs. Joan Jett's ''A Blackheart Christmas'' is another gem. Girl in a Coma deliver with ''Blue Christmas'' and ''I'll Be Home for Christmas.'' Thommy Price, featuring Nefertiti Bones, makes merry with ''Winter Wonderland.''

Fix yourself a mug of hot cocoa, preferably with an obscene blob of Fluff in it, and take a sleigh ride to blackheart.com/ablackheartchristmas for Jett's version of ''Silent Night,'' which samples speeches from a then President-elect Obama in November 2008.

On a local note, our very own Joyce Rossi-Gamon, the 80-year-old Aroostook County crooner of ''A Tater Farm in Maine'' fame, also has a song for the season. ''Christmastime in Maine'' will melt even the Grinch's heart. ''Snowflakes are softly falling, the ground a blanket of white. The hush is just like magic on this holy night,'' she sings. Know and love her at www.joycerossigammon.com/index.html.

I'm highlighting two shows this week and am making five other suggestions for you to contemplate as you dream by the fire.

Sly-Chi is celebrating the release of its new five-song EP, ''Seven in the Shadows,'' with a Saturday-night show at the Big Easy. Seven members strong, Sly-Chi's got horns, four singers and a rhythm section to beat the band. ''Move this Way'' is an upbeat, horn-soaked, funky romp. ''I'll Never Stop Loving You'' could be sung by Elvis or any number of Motown artists: ''There's a yearning, there's a burning in my soul.'' The song's horn solo at the midpoint is fantastic, and when the rest of the brass join in, it's even better.

''The Light with a Smile'' lets Jay Desormeau's guitar shine brightly, and the song is another polished funk number from the band. ''Ride It On'' takes a mellower tack: ''There's so much more to you than being someone's baby.'' Sly-Chi's got its groove on, and it sounds superb. ''Con Corazon'' is the final song, and it lives up to its name (with heart). Merengue could happen upon hearing this song -- especially live -- so sport proper footwear. ''Seven in the Shadows'' has stocking stuffer written all over it, so bring some dough to the show.

Sly-Chi CD Release Show. 9 p.m. Saturday. Big Easy, 55 Market St., Portland. Ages 21 and older. $5.

Beantown psychedelic rockers the Stereo Flys are among the trio of acts tonight at Port City Music Hall. Listen to the group's originals and a cool cover of ''She's Not There'' at www.myspace.com/thestereoflys. The Sea Captains, Portsmouth-based pop-rock sailors, will also play. ''Lonely All the Time'' is a darn good song, and you can hear it at www.theseacaptains.com. They have gotten into the holiday swing of things with the three-song EP ''Crust and Slush,'' home to ''It's Gonna Be a Cold One Tonight,'' ''Whitewash'' and ''The Snowman and the Snow Angel.'' Headlining the evening is the Portland pop/punk/power band the Leftovers. Listen to all of their infectious songs at www.myspace.com/theleftovers.

The Leftovers with the Sea Captains and the Stereo Flys. 8 tonight. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland. Ages 21 and older. $5 tickets at Port City or online at www.brownpapertickets. com.

I'm gonna leave you with a rapid-fire five-pack of shows to also take under advisement as options for this week. Ready?

n You can head right back to the Big Easy on Sunday night for a show from the Adam Ezra Group along with Girls, Guns & Glory, because Red Hook is presenting the first annual Rockoustigrass Winter Solstice Soiree and Holiday Festivus.

Adam Ezra Group with Girls, Guns & Glory. 9 p.m. Sunday. Big Easy, 55 Market St., Portland. Ages 21 and older. $5.

n Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm celebrate 20 years of performing.

Inanna. 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, Portland. $15 in advance/$20 at the door. FMI call 671-1757 or www.one longfellowsquare.com.

n It's Kotzschmar Organ time in the city. Or put another way, here comes Yukon Cornils!

Christmas with Cornils: A Kotzschmar Christmas. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Merrill Auditorium, Portland. $19 to $33 at www.porttix.com.

n Deck the halls with boughs of Brownfield. Stone Mountain Live, fast becoming one of Maine's most treasured traditions, will be filled with Christmas cheer and lots of great music. Carol Noonan and the Stone Mountain Boys will host this annual night of Christmas music and fun with special guests the Burns Sisters.

Stone Mountain Live for Christmas with special guests the Burns Sisters. 7:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.) Dec. 18-19. Stone Mountain Arts Center, 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield. Dinner show $71; general admission $45 (show only). Call 935-7292 or go to www.stonemountainarts center.com.

n You'll have a bluesy Christmas with Pam Baker.

Pam Baker and the SGs. 9 p.m. Dec. 19. Bray's Brew Pub, 678 Roosevelt Trail, Naples. www.braysbrewpub.com or www.pambakerblues.com.

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


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