It’s been four years since rocker Darien Brahms released her last album, “Number Four” (yes, it was her fourth), and 20 years since her debut, “hello! hello! to the people.” But she’s back at it with a new record, “Dogwood,” and will be marking the event with a CD-release show on June 22 at The Big Easy in Portland.

She’ll also be at Blue on Congress Street tonight for a songwriters in the round show. GO got the skinny on what she’s been up to, the new record and the local music scene. 

What’s been happening with you since your last record?

In a nutshell, I have been living the blue-collar life and trying to earn a living like every other Portland musician, falling in love, laughing, crying, having my body taken apart and put together again like the scarecrow from the “Wizard of Oz,” and then using all of the above to write some songs for this record. Normal stuff, really. 

Who is that playing the killer electric guitar on “Jekyll & Hyde”?

That would be Adam Bean playing what we call the “white rabbit” lead solo. I am playing what we call the “zorro” rhythm parts. 

Who else is on “Dogwood?”

Jerome Shuman is on bass, Chicky Stoltz plays drums, Jack Vreeland’s on keys and Carty Thompson’s on pedal steel. Then there’s Dave Noyes, Lucas Desmond and Brian Desmond Graham on horns. The engineer is Steve Drown, and mastering wizard is Adam Ayan. I had a vision of what I wanted it to sound like, and they helped me make it happen.  

Has the local music scene changed since you first got involved with it?

It’s better than ever, and just keeps getting better. The talent pool is enormous and collaborative, and I think anyone who isn’t making a trip out to a local club every now and then is really missing out. We have some world-class bands and songwriters here in our little city.  

How many songs are on the new record, and do you have a favorite?

There are 12 songs on “Dogwood.” I can’t say that I have a favorite, but the song “Yes Yes Yes” makes me bob my head around like a happy Muppet, and “Clear the Way” has made me weepy a few times throughout the process. 

Why is the record called “Dogwood”?

This collection of songs are all about one form of love or another — both the good and bad kinds. A dogwood flower symbolizes “undying love in the face of adversity.” I thought that would be an appropriate title. It also brings to mind a beautiful spring day when you are filled with hope because of the flowers blooming all around. I also happen to have a dogwood flower tattooed on my arm. I got it to balance out the anchor on the opposite arm.

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

[email protected]





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