August? Really? I still have sympathy cringes when I see back-to-school sale fliers in store windows.

But let us not despair; it’s still very much summer and my sister won’t be busting out her Neil Diamond “September Morn” CD for weeks. Let us stay in the moment that is this week. To that end, I give you Friday, Saturday and Wednesday night options brimming with singer-songwriter awesomeness.

Three distinct and talented singer-songwriters pull into One Longfellow Square for one superb night of vocals and wordsmithing. Carrie Elkin’s got something of a country twang going on. Three tracks from her new CD, “Call it my Garden,” can be sampled at

“Jesse Likes Birds” is terrific, and she weaves in parts of “Mockingbird” (as in “if that mockingbird don’t sing”). The song ends on several lively finger-picking bluegrass notes. “Lift up the Anchor” is an aching ballad featuring lyrics such as: “Been lookin’ for forgiveness, been lookin’ for release/ Been lookin’ for the other side of where I want to be.”

Chapel Hill, N.C., native Jonathan Byrd got his start singing in the Southern Baptist church where his father was the preacher and his mother the pianist. After four years in the Navy, Byrd folded himself into the Chapel Hill underground music fabric, then got lured into the realm of traditional Southern music, and was off and running. He’s got five CDs out, and his Facebook page was the easiest entry point to listening to several songs. My faves are the poignant “I Was an Oak Tree” and a surprisingly snappy tune called “The Cocaine Kid.”

Columbia University student Anthony da Costa is only 20, but he’s already achieved so much. In 2007, he was the youngest winner ever at both the Falcon Ridge and Kerrville folk festivals. After a trip to, I got what all the fuss was about.

This kid’s got sage wisdom that comes from an old-soul kind of place. He’s also got an impressive amount of music out there for someone who isn’t even old enough to pony up to the bar. His voice is streaked with passion, and his lyrics are striking. Listen to “November” from his CD “Not Afraid of Nothing.” I look forward to watching his career unfold for many, many years to come.

Carrie Elkin with Jonathan Byrd and Anthony da Costa. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $15, $18;

Singer-songwriter Justin Levinson celebrates the release of his single “I Was So Wrong” with a performance at Blue. The song is a darned catchy duet with Madi Diaz, and she’s got a sweet voice that pairs quite well with Levinson’s. “I was a failed stand-up comic and a worn out acrobatic,” croon the duo against a medium tempo of drums, guitar and harmonica. Levinson’s from Burlington, Vt., and his debut release is 2005’s “1175 Boylston.” The address is a nod to the Berklee College of Music, where he studied. Head to, where you can hear “I Was So Wrong,” among others.

Justin Levinson. 8 p.m. Saturday. Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland. Free.

I missed his recent “Alive at Five” performance but sure hope to make it to the Western Prom lawn on Wednesday to hear the crazy talented Will Gattis do his thing. I loved last year’s five-song EP and am pleased to report his next recording is in the works.

Gattis can sing, Gattis can play the heck out of a piano, and Gattis can write outstanding songs. And because he’s a Portlander, we get to claim him as our own — for the moment, anyway.

Will Gattis. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Sunset Folk Series on the Western Promenade, Portland. Free.

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

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