July 25, 2013

Making Noise: Fogcutters big band adds another great voice

Two shows to see: Lady Essence, Kristina Kentigian and Kenya Hall at the Big Easy and Beach House at the State.

By Aimsel Ponti aponti@pressherald.com
News Assistant

Are these the dog days of summer? According to my pooch Odie they most certainly are, but then again, he says that every day of the year is a dog day. Point taken, buddy.

click image to enlarge

Megan Jo Wilson will be joining Stephanie Davis and Chas Lester as a singer with The Fogcutters. She’s also working on her next EP.

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.

But for us humans, we're not going to let sweltering heat or badly timed rain spells get us down. There's too much to do, see and, of course, listen to.

Let's start with a few news bulletins from the local music scene. It pleases me immensely to share the news that singer-songwriter Megan Jo Wilson has joined the ranks of The Fogcutters. She is adding her sensational voice to their 13 horns, five-piece rhythm section and vocals of Stephanie Davis and Chas Lester.

Wilson's pretty psyched about this, and who can blame her? The Fogcutters are showing Maine and beyond that big band music is still relevant and awesome with an array of well-chosen covers and originals.

Meanwhile, Wilson is working with recording whiz Jim Begley on her next EP. She says they're in the "finishing touches" phase of the first single, "Baby You Must Be Mine," and I for one can't wait to feast my ears on it.

And meanwhile from The Fogcutters' camp, they are working on their first all-original studio album. They're hoping it will be a "true melting pot of the combined influences of the 19 incredibly talented musicians that make up The Fogcutters." Yeah to that!

Want to help this project see the light of day? A Pledge Music campaign for the alum is under way, and you can donate by going to pledgemusic.com/projects/thefogcutters. Donations get you cool presents and the knowledge that you've supported something great.

FINALLY, let me send you to a show. I've spun my magic wheel a la "The Price is Right," and it has landed on Tuesday night at The Big Easy.

The "Cover to Cover" series continues with another crazy, sexy and cool night of local musicians covering classic albums in their entirety. And in this case, I mean that literally.

That's right people, TLC's "CrazySexyCool" will be performed in all its 1994 glory by the trio of Lady Essence, Kristina Kentigian and Kenya Hall. Joining the ladies will be drummer Dan Boyden, guitarist Max Cantlin, keys player Mike Taylor, bassist Pete Genova, trumpeter Angela Plato, sax player Tyler Card and emcee Jay Caron. Not only do you get "Creep," "Waterfalls," "Red Light Special" and "Diggin' on You," you'll also be treated to some other '90s-era R&B jams and some originals too. Can you dig it?

9 p.m. Tuesday. The Big Easy, 55 Market St., Portland. $5; 21-plus. bigeasyportland.com

BUT WAIT, what's this? Drew Carey just tapped me on the shoulder and awarded me a bonus spin of the wheel. And it's a good thing, because I would hate to forget to remind you about the Beach House show.

Beach House is a band I've heard of forever but only recently started listening to. They're the dream-pop duo from Baltimore of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, and they've released four albums, most recently "Bloom."

I listened to a dozen or so assorted songs from the Beach House catalog, and each one levitated me off the ground a few inches and infused me with the warm glow of pixie dust-covered reverie. "Heart of Chambers" sent me into a slow-spinning orbit where I plucked pink balloons hanging off stars and absorbed Legrand's vocals singing lovelorn but hopeful lyrics. I floated back to Earth a half hour later and pledged my allegiance to this band.

8 p.m. Wednesday. The State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland. $25 in advance; $30 at the door. statetheatreportland.com

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

aponti@pressherald.com

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