September? Really?


But don’t cry for me, Portland, because the truth is that summer’s not over. Still, having to flip the calendar next week does evoke an OUCH!

To ease the pain, I give you two completely different options for tonight — world-class wooden flute and retro country fun. Both shows are on Congress Street and either one is worth exploring; it all depends on your mood. I’m also throwing in a Sunday-night show for your consideration at yet another Congress Street locale. And remember, if you wake up out of sorts next Wednesday, just remember Mr. Diamond’s words of wisdom: “September mornings still can make me feel that way.” Better yet, cue up the song, throw open your windows and belt it on out.


Flutist Nicole Rabata is on the music faculty at my brother Tom’s alma mater, Colby College. She recently spent a month teaching music in India’s Himalayan foothills. Before that she played at the International Flute Festival of Lund, Sweden, the Magic Flute Festival in Stockholm (where — it is hoped — she gave my regards to Lisbeth Salander) and the Temple Bar Trad Festival in Dublin. She’s also been part of flute conventions in New York City and San Diego and has played in Scotland, France and England. Her biz card could say: “Has flute will travel.”

Rabata has just released her debut CD, “Armorica,” a blend of traditional music from Ireland, Canada, Brittany and Scandinavia melded with original compositions on the wooden flute. Other instruments you’ll hear on the CD are fiddle, cello, guitar, cittern, accordion, concertina, bouzouki, harmonium and harp. Rabata’s got some handy friends, that’s for sure.

OK, so what does this all sound like? Hear for yourself tonight at the North Star. But first, I’ll unpack a few adjectives as I listen to samples of all 12 tracks online at Here goes: blithesome, bewitching, pacifying, esoteric and incandescent. P.S.: An open session will follow the show, so bring your instrument.

Nicole Rabata. 8 tonight. North Star Music Cafe, 225 Congress St., Portland. $10 at the door.


I’ve been meaning to write about this ongoing series at Empire Dine and Dance for weeks now, and I’m finally getting around to it. Join Matt Robbins (King Memphis) and Tim Emery (The McCarthys) tonight at Empire as they host (I couldn’t make this up even if I tried) “I’m Too Broke to Be This Drunk: An Evening of Live Old School Country and Two-Step.”

I know, how great is that? Expect a gaggle of like-minded locals who are keen on legends like George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Buck Owens. Given the name, I can’t imagine there won’t be a beer special, but take it easy, ’cause it’s not such a long, long, long, way to the county jail, y’all.

“I’m Too Broke to Be This Drunk: An Evening of Live Old School Country and Two-Step” with hosts Matt Robbins and Tim Emery. 8 tonight. Empire Dine and Dance, 575 Congress St., Portland. $5 at the door. Ages 21 and older.


Indie-folk from Vancouver resident Dan Mangan is in the offering Sunday night at Space. Mangan’s second album, “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” was released earlier this month, and he and his band will be playing songs from it and its predecessor, “Postcards and Daydreaming,” between sets from Jacob & The House of Fire and headliners The Wooden Birds. Hear Mangan’s work at

“Tina’s Glorious Comeback” is an unassuming, quiet song teeming with astute lyrics such as: “If all this was easy, it wouldn’t matter how it ends/ I’m ambitious when giving up, never thinking clear enough.”

“Robots” picks up the pace and has sharper teeth. “The fire in my eye is fleeting now, your robot heart is bleeding out,” sings Mangan with a mix of contempt and conviction. Two thumbs up. “The Indie Queens” is even better: “Bus down to the local record store, buy something to make you like me more.” the time I got to the acoustic ball of fire “Sold,” I was just that on Mangan.

The Wooden Birds with Dan Mangan and Jacob & The House of Fire. 8 p.m. Sunday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $10 at or Bull Moose. Ages 18 and older.

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

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: