Folk, Americana and good old-fashioned hard rock are in your future this week. First, though, a shout-out to one of my lifelong favorite bands that has decided to call it a day.

Thank you, R.E.M., for “Murmur,” “Lifes Rich Pageant” and certainly several other albums. Thank you for your performance at Boston’s Wang Center when I magically had front-row seats in 1986. Thank you for that unforgettable show at the Worcester Centrum three years later and the show at what was then called Great Woods about three years after that. Thank you for your passion and your activism.

Here’s a line from one of my favorite R.E.M. songs, “The Sweetness Follows” from “Automatic for the People,” that speaks to the essence of what R.E.M.’s music has meant to me: “It’s these little things, they can pull you under, live your life filled with joy and wonder.”

Thank you, Michael Stipe and all of R.E.M. past and present for the gift of your sublime bounty of music. 

“Where Ocean Meets Land” is local folk artist Connor Garvey’s fourth CD, and the full-band party is on tonight at One Longfellow Square. Garvey’s 2009 release “Constancy of Stars,” with its song “Soul on the Line,” enjoyed national airplay via Sirius XM, and between that revenue and the $6,000 raised by fans, he was able to fund this latest project.

I listened to “Where Ocean Meets Land” and was greeted with the breezy tune “Backroads,” which features Sarah Hallie Richardson’s lovely backing vocals that match so well with Garvey’s summery, clear voice. “The Reflection” is a bittersweet lament that’s best played loud and not left to softly linger in the background, especially during the refrain of “there’s a cloud ‘tween me and you, it’s hard for light to make it through.”

All told, “Where Ocean Meets Land” is 11 songs strong. It was recorded and mixed in Portland at Busted Barn Recording and Red Vault Recording, respectively.

You can listen to and purchase the CD at or pick up a hard copy at the One Longfellow Square show. And speaking of Sarah Hallie Richardson, she’s the opener.

Connor Garvey CD-release show. 8 tonight. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $8 in advance; $10 at the door. 

The New England Americana music community is a thriving one, and its cup runneth over with an endless list of up-and-coming and well-established songwriters. Six of them converge for a free show at Blue, offering a superb opportunity to hear a cross-section of this genre in Portland’s most intimate live music venue. And now for the list: Sam Otis Hill, John Colvert, Sarah Blacker, Patrick Coman, Jay Basiner and Jeff Conley.

New England Americana Songwriter Night. 8 p.m. Friday. Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland. Free. 

Here’s another Friday night possibility: An EP-release show for “The Passion and the Fury” with local band Mystic Folk Opera. MFO is lead singer Kristin DiCara, guitarist/vocalist Nathan McClellan, bassist Robert Mills and drummer Rick Cantz. They’ve got a vintage hard-rock thing going on with “The Passion” EP, as evidenced by the scorching opener, “Journey.”

The six songs on the EP traverse across hard and progressive rock territory with wicked guitar riffs, thumping bass lines and DiCara’s belt-it-out vocals. I imagine the live show is its own musical thunderstorm. Get an earful on the group’s Facebook and MySpace pages, and then see and hear more tunes at Bayside Bowl.

Mystic Folk Opera EP-release party. 8 p.m. Friday. Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland. $5.

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

[email protected]