January 24, 2013

Making Noise: A guitarist with pluck, choirs on fire

Warm up your heart and soul with some live music.

By Aimsel Ponti aponti@pressherald.com
News Assistant

I'll start this stupidly cold week off with a few looks back, and then we'll get into gold star local music events for your entertainment calendar. Nothing warms one's heart and soul like some live music, so get out there, people. Get out there.

click image to enlarge

Funk/soul singer Lyle Divinsky returns to Portland for a Feb. 2 show at the Big Easy.

Courtesy photo

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.

PATRIOTS Schmatriots. I spent my Sunday night at the Stone Mountain Arts Center seeing Paula Cole. Along with her hits, Cole played some songs from her forthcoming album "Raven," due out in April. If the heart-throttling "Manitoba" is any indication, I for one can't wait to hear the rest of it.

Along with drummer Ben Wittman, Cole was accompanied by 21-year-old Italian guitarist and harmonica player Noe Socha. I looked at my friend in jaw-dropped awe several times over this guy. We bore witness to true greatness, and during a chat with Socha after the show, he told me his thing is Delta blues.

A quick YouTube search revealed several clips of him, which resulted in further disbelief. I want him to come to Portland to jam with Samuel James. Right? Check him out at noemusic.net.

TWO WEEKENDS ago, I went to Mayo Street Arts to see two sensational choirs. The first was the Portland-based theatrical ladies' choir Murmurations. The 13 singers wove voice, movement and simple illuminated costuming into a performance that was enthralling, uplifting and heart-soothing all at once.

Songs included Zero 7's "Waiting In Line," "I Feel It All" by Feist and Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)." Keep tabs on Murmurations on Facebook.

Then we heard The January Men and Then Some, which formed 17 years ago in Belfast under the direction of Gordon Bok. They sang traditional and working songs of many cultures. The evening ended with both choruses singing together. Perfection.

FLASHBACK TO Halloween. I wound up at The Big Easy, where I loved every single second of funk/soul brother Lyle Divinsky's performance. He can sing like nobody's business, and he's also a super fun guy, which ranks high in my book.

Although Divinsky now calls Brooklyn home, he comes back enough to keep us at least partially satiated. Such will be the case on Feb. 2. You gotta see this guy and his awesome band.

Dare I say, trust me? I'm saying it. Here's the scoop: Lyle Divinsky & The Velvet Vagabonds and the Nat Osborn Band featuring Alice Lemke. 9 p.m. Feb. 2. $10. bigeasyportland.com

PORTLAND ROCK OUTFIT Heart Shaped Rock is celebrating the release of its new album, "Brought It On," with a show at Brian Boru at 9 p.m. Thursday. It's fronted by singer Sheridan Giordano, and believe me when I tell you, this band knows how to seriously rock.

Expect it to be a loud, raucous and tush-kicking kind of night. And let's face it; we could all use one of those from time to time. heartshapedrock.net

MEANWHILE, back here at the office, my ears are having a marvelous time listening to new music by Phantom Buffalo and A Severe Joy.

Expect to hear more raving about these two acts in the coming weeks.

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



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