Three acts top this week’s picks of the tix, and by coincidence, all three are booked into Portland’s best small music venue, One Longfellow Square. Two are from Boston and one is from Spain.

Duke Robillard, the irrepressible guitar god and bluesman from Boston, will be featured on Friday. Robillard has been a fixture on The Hub’s music scene for decades, and he’s a frequent visitor to the Port City.

The following night’s featured act is Boston-based Dwight & Nicole, who will be joined by Portland’s Katie Matzell. Both members of the duo possess strong natural voices that command attention, whether they’re belting or whispering.

Then on Sunday, Cuarteto Quiroga, a classical string quartet from Spain, will take the stage for a show to benefit 240 Strings, a Portland arts education organization.

Duke Robillard

A 70-year-old guitar god and bluesman is coming to Portland this Friday.

Duke Robillard, an irrepressible and consummate guitarist who specializes in the blues, with occasional forays into rock and jazz, will be dominating One Longfellow Square’s stage.

The Rhode Island native has enjoyed an incredible career that has spanned more than half a century, first gaining national recognition as a 19-year-old co-founder of Roomful of Blues and later with the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

As leader or co-leader of an ensemble, Robillard counts 32 albums; his most recent, “Duke Robillard & His Dames of Rhythm,” came out two years ago. He’s a two-time winner of the W.C. Handy Blues Award, and has been nominated twice for Grammys.

With other groups and as a sideman, Robillard’s discography is almost endless. Among his hundreds of stage-mates over the decades, he’s toured with Bob Dylan.

Catch Duke Robillard at 8 p.m. Feb. 22 at One Longfellow Square, corner of Congress and State in Portland. Call 761-1757.

Dwight & Nicole

Relatively new to Boston’s vibrant music scene is Dwight & Nicole, comprising multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson.

The pair met in Boston when they were both just out of school and quickly gained experience on the local club scene. Both Richter and Nelson boast powerful voices that can wring the most out of a song.

Dwight & Nicole began performing live as a duo; touring the Northeast and developing a following. Over the next several years they gained regional recognition for their dynamic live shows and well-crafted songs. They’ve also gained industry respect with nods for nine Boston Music Awards, seven Boston Phoenix Awards, seven Daysie Awards and six New England Music Awards.

Guest and lead-off artist will be Portland singer-songwriter Katie Matzell, who was nominated by the New England Music Awards in 2018 for Female Performer of the Year. After releasing her debut EP a year ago, Matzell is currently working on a new album for 2019 and I expect that Saturday’s performance will include a lot of that material.

Catch Dwight & Nicole at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 at One Longfellow Square, corner of Congress and State in Portland. Call 761-1757.

Cuarteto Quiroga

One Longfellow Square’s final program this weekend brings an outstanding Spanish classical ensemble to Portland.

Cuarteto Quiroga was formed in Madrid in 2004, and the foursome has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s top ensembles. Among their honors, they’ve been named the first artists in residence of the Royal Palace of Madrid, allowing them to perform on the unique set of Stradivari instruments – two violins, a viola and cello – on display as part of the Royal Collection exhibition.

Their Portland visit is to benefit another group that’s interested in strings: 240 Strings, a teaching organization that recently won a Maine Arts Award for education. Co-founded in 2016 by the members of the Portland Piano Trio and led by University of Southern Maine School of Music piano professor Anastasia Antonacos, 240 Strings is the only organization in Portland to provide 100 percent free private classical music education to students unable to afford instruction.

Cuarteto Quiroga – named a for an early 20th-century Spanish violinist – has selected a program of three composers representing a variety of styles and influences. Juan Chrisostomo de Arriaga was an early 19th-century composer who was known as “the Spanish Mozart.”

Bela Bartok was an early 20th-century composer who incorporated folk melodies of his native Hungary into his music. Ludwig van Beethoven, of course, represents the apotheosis of classical music.

Reviewing for The New York Times in 2012, Allan Kozinn commented on a Cuarteto Quiroga concert: “Its program, in the intimate concert room at the Frick Collection on Sunday afternoon, was exquisite: precise, perfectly balanced, interpretively fresh performances, couched in consistently warm hues.”

Catch Cuarteto Quiroga at One Longfellow Square, corner of Congress and State in Portland, at 4 p.m. Feb. 24. For tickets, visit For other info, call 761-1757.

Duke Robillard, an irrepressible bluesman from Boston, will appear at Portland’s One Longfellow Square Friday, Feb. 22.

filed under: