Howdy, music fans! Per usual, I have no idea where to begin. It’s like the start of a game of Twister. The first spin has happened, and the options of which green circle to put my left foot on are many. But together we can do this. We can twist ourselves this way and that and work our way through this week’s gathering of dazzling local music news flashes.

LET’S START with Clara Junken. She’s in the band Marion Grace but is also working on her first solo record. I popped into the Merchant Company in Portland a couple of Fridays ago and watched her perform several songs. Guitar skills? Check! Terrific vocals? Check! Solid songwriting? Check! With any luck, the solo CD will drop by the time summer arrives. I’ll keep you posted.

ON A RARE (for me) Tuesday night out on the town, I wound up at Local 188 just after 10 p.m., just in time to catch experimental/psychedelic/hip hop act Jaw Gems.

The band is drummer DJ Moore, bass player Andrew Scherzer, Ahmad Hassan Muhammad on the Wurlitzer and Tyler Quist on keyboards and synths. Go here for a listen — — because any attempt by yours truly to describe their sound will fail miserably.

So not only was Jaw Gems entrancing, the place was packed, and there I was without my autograph book. There were so many local musicians there that they could have created the “We Are the World” video. Thankfully, they didn’t.

Turns out everyone was there to wish singer Kenya Hall a happy birthday. Kenya, I hope it was a happy one; it sure looked that way! Oh, and get this: Jaw Gems plays at Local 188 EVERY Tuesday night at 10 p.m. No cover, just be at least 21. Go to

LAST FRIDAY night, I hit the Big Easy for the Maine Academy of Modern Music’s “Be In Love” celebration of love and music. “Be In Love” is a song written by Dominic Lavoie and recorded by an all-star cast of local musicians and academy students. The video for the song is the stuff of legend. As of Wednesday evening, it’s closing in on 59,000 views.

At the Big Easy show, I caught short sets by Dave Gutter, Kyle Gervais, Sara Hallie Richardson, Emilia Dahlin, Sara Cox and Dominic Lavoie. Everyone was in fine form.

My car, however, turned into a pumpkin before midnight, so I dashed just as The Fogcutters were about to start, which was then (from what I heard) followed by a huge finale of “Be In Love” performed by a packed stage full of many of the musicians who are in the video.

I’LL END with one more little something for your calendar. Head to the Asylum in Portland at 9 p.m. March 1 (again, you must be at least 21). The cover is only five bucks, and you’ll see Meantone, The Murder Weapons and headliners The Pubcrawlers.

The Pubcrawlers have been making their Celtic-flavored punk music since 2002. They’re a band you can really sink your teeth into while you toss back an Irish whiskey and stomp your feet in a fevered jig.

All proceeds benefit Maine Roller Derby’s All-Star team, the Port Authorities. The women on wheels have a busy travel season coming up, and could use a little dinero to help defer costs. While you’re there, be sure to wish Pubcrawler bass player AJ a happy 30th birthday.

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

[email protected]


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