June 3, 2010

The Night Is Young

A true banjo god, Sorcha's new CD and Sutherland is solo on Sunday


Four-day workweeks rock. Three-day workweeks would be even better, but we have to start somewhere.

With my toenails freshly painted bondi blue, I officially welcome June with open arms and hope she delivers with the kind of panache and sunshine that May did. I'm even starting to have moments of sheer optimism when it comes to a certain baseball team, though at the moment I'm still all about Rajon Rondo.

June is starting off on the right musical note with shows from Tony Trischka and Tim Eriksen, Sorcha, Guggenheim Grotto, Rebecca Martin and Chriss Sutherland.

If there's one thing I know nothing about, it's banjo playing in the roots music world. But don't let my ignorance get in the way of seeing Mr. Tony Trischka.

For more than 35 years, Trischka's been an influence on a whole mess of bluegrass and acoustic musicians who think he's the bee's knees, which he pretty much is. It only took one quick dash to YouTube before I yelled "Dude!" at the monitor, feeling nine shades of impressed.

But that's not all; Trischka will be joined by another cool cat if ever there was one, and that's Mr. Tim Eriksen.

BBC Radio says Eriksen is "widely regarded as the best ballad singer of his generation." The intensity of his vocals merges perfectly with fiddle, banjo, guitar and bajo sexto.

Allow me to save you the trip to Wikipedia and tell you that the bajo sexto is a musical instrument with 12 strings in six double courses, and it's used in Mexican music.

If Eriksen's name rings a bell, perhaps you remember his folk-punk band, Cordelia's Dad, which had a very successful 11-year run out of Northampton, Mass.

Trischka, Eriksen and you? Have at it on Friday night.

Tony Trischka and Tim Eriksen. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square, Portland. $18 in advance; $20 at the door. 761-1757; onelongfellowsquare.com.

"Laughing and Lamenting," released on Tuesday, is the third album from Sorcha, and she and some of her closest musical friends are marking the occasion with a Saturday-night show at Space.

The album upends loss and longing. If you are not yet familiar with the voice, guitar and all-around gratification that can be found by listening to Sorcha, now's your chance.

She'll be accompanied on electric and pedal steel guitar by Pete Morse, with Adam Montminy on upright bass and Zak Trojano on drums, along with several other allies. Get an inkling at www.sorchastudio.com.

Sorcha CD Release Show with Jerks of Grass, Sean Mencher, Putnam Smith and Ramblin' Red. 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. Ages 18 and older. $8 tickets available at Bull Moose locations and at www.space538.org.

Last October, Guggenheim Grotto opened for Maia Sharp at Venue Music Bar. This weekend, the group is headlining with a batch of new songs from its third album, "The Universe is Laughing," set for release on June 15.

The Dublin-based alt-folk duo of Kevin May and Mick Lynch caught my attention last fall and has drawn me back in with this latest offering from "Trust Me I'm a Thief" to the closing track, "Diamond."

Visit them online at guggenheimgrotto.com and listen to "Told You So," from the 2006 debut "Waltzing Alone." Also check out "Wisdom" from the new one.

Speaking of Venue Music Bar, the owners will soon be opening a second location in Portland on the hallowed ground of Raoul's on Forest Avenue.

The location has been a number of things since the storied music spot closed its doors all those years ago, and it pleases me to no end that someone is finally bringing live music back inside its walls.

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