November 7, 2013

Making Noise: Notes on Big Easy and Dilly Dilly and Americana and jazz

While the club's closing is sad, there's much to look forward to.

By Aimsel Ponti
News Assistant

Let me start off by acknowledging that I am quite sad about The Big Easy in Portland closing. I’ve seen, as many of you have, many great shows there over the years from both nationally touring and local acts. As I write this, the future of the venue is uncertain. Fingers crossed?

click image to enlarge

Mark Olson, a founding member of The Jayhawks, is at One Longfellow Square on Thursday.

Courtesy photo

NEXT I’D LIKE to say congrats to musician Dilly Dilly (Erin Davidson) for winning a really cool contest sponsored by Levi’s. Dilly was on the SoundCloud site, which is a popular online audio distribution platform, and came across an ad for something called “#makeourmark.”

Turns out, Levi’s is transforming a transcontinental journey into a mobile studio for creative folks from around the globe via something called Station to Station, a public art project. An element of this is a remix contest. Entrants got to choose from nine “stems” of music, which Dilly explained as being “an idea of sorts, whether it be a drum beat, keyboard line or basic stripped-down melody. Dilly chose one from the band Grizzly Bear. You can go hear what she did with it here:

Five winners were chosen by a panel of judges, and our very own Dilly Dilly won the grand prize. This earned her a Native Instruments Machine Groove Production Studio (think pricey, amazing gadget that she’s gonna do awesome things with), a Sonos Wireless Hi-fi system tailored specifially for her living room and a $200 Levi’s gift card. High five, Dilly. Way to make your fellow Mainers proud!

AMERICANA FANS take note, there’s a legend in town tonight. Mark Olson, singer-songwriter and co-founder of The Jayhawks is performing as a duo with his wife and musical partner Ingunn Ringvold. Expect a preview of tunes from Olson’s forthcoming record and his two previous ones, “Many Colored Kites” and “Salvation Blues.” And yes indeed, you’ll hear some Jayhawks tunes.

Olson co-founded the band in 1985 with Gary Louris and played on the first four Jayhawks albums before branching out to form the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdrippers with his then wife Victoria Willians. That band released several albums, and then Olson circled back to The Jayhawks to record an album in 2011.

This promises to be a fantastic, well-attended show.

Mark Olson. 8 p.m. Thursday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $15;

NEED A MIDWEEK pick-me up? Who doesn’t? I know that I’m in deep Red Sox withdrawal and since hockey, basketball and football don’t spin my spurs, why not turn to music? It’s the obvious choice. And there are few things more comforting than hearing jazz from the Great American Songbook. That’s where Rob Schreiber’s Standard Issue comes in.

Schreiber’s on drums, Emmett Harrity is on piano and Nicholas F. Merriam plays acoustic bass. These fellas get it. They are all about Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Rogers & Hammerstein and the like. They bring to mind these words of wisdom from Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.”

So grab your rubber ducky and a swanky Ginkgo Blue cocktail because Wednesday night is bath night. Test the water at

Rob Schreiber’s Standard Issue. 7 p.m. Nov. 13. 7 p.m. Gingko Blue, 455 Fore St., Portland. 21-plus;

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

LISTEN IN: 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.

CATCH LOCAL and national acts performing live at the Press Herald on The Newsroom Sessions video page.

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