The Revenants are a bluegrass trio from Vermont that is slated to perform this Friday at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland.

A diverse choice of music is in the offing for southern Maine this coming week. Starting on Friday, The Revenants bluegrass trio will hold forth on Munjoy Hill in Portland.

The Kennebec Early Music Festival launches its third season in Bath and Phippsburg venues this Sunday. Six musicians of international renown will perform Aug. 11-18.

How about a festival of female pop music stars? That’s kind of what Susie Pepper has in mind with her Aug. 15 show “Divas Live!” in Harrison. Pepper and her band, Mixology, will cover more than a dozen of the top female pop artists and their biggest hits over the past half-century.

Kennebec Early Music Festival

A year ago I drove to Phippsburg to check out one of Maine’s newest offerings in the field of early music, with the phrase being roughly defined as European classical music dating before 1750.

I was tremendously impressed with the Kennebec Early Music Festival, which debuted in 2017 and enters its third season on Sunday. I plan to return this season.

Organizer and artistic director is George Bozarth, a longtime professor of music at the University of Washington in Seattle. Bozarth is a noted scholar specializing in the development of keyboard instruments.

I met Bozarth some years ago when he was presenting a series of early music concerts in Sanford. He and his wife purchased a summer home in Bath, and this new music venture is an indirect result.

Performers will include wife Tamara Friedman who teaches harpsichord, pianoforte and piano in Seattle. Others are harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels-Dupree, violinist Susanna Ogata, cellist Sarah Freiberg, clarinetist Thomas Carroll and Vicki Boeckman on recorders. Emphasis will be on period performance styles on period instruments, with five of them dating from before 1800.

Bozarth’s format is four different programs, each with its own catchy theme and title, performed over an eight-day span in two venues: the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Linden Tree Meeting House at the Phippsburg Congregational Church. The series concludes on August 18.

For performance schedules and venue info, call 319-5732 or visit KennebecEarlyMusicFestival.org.

Susie Pepper

How about this for a concert lineup: Adele, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Cher, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner and many more female musical legends?

That’s the pivotal concept underscoring Susie Pepper’s new show, “Divas Live!,” subtitled “Tribute to Female Musical Legends.” Pepper and her band, Mixology, will cover a vast range of women who rocked concert halls and sold untold millions of recordings. This vibrant concert promises to be a tribute to the voices that changed and super-charged pop, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.

Pepper, who lives in southern Maine, is one of Maine’s top musical talents, performing dozens of private events and a handful of public concerts each year. On Aug. 15 she and Mixology will bring “Divas Live!” to Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center in Harrison.

Pepper is a mezzo-soprano chanteuse whose straight-ahead delivery jibes with a variety of styles and formats. Her breakthrough as a songstress came in 2008 when she won Fox23’s “Maine Idol.” The following year she took the crown in the Miss Maine competition.

In December of 2014 and 2017 she was a featured soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in its very popular“Magic of Christmas” series, plus she gave several other performances with the PSO and other orchestras. I’ve enjoyed her performances a number of times in various venues and formats, and she’s a real crowd pleaser.

In addition to Pepper’s vocals, Mixology comprises Kelly Muse on piano, Rob Gerry on acoustic bass and Dustin LeVasseur on drums.

Catch Susie Pepper’s “Divas Live!” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center, 156 Deertrees Road in Harrison. Call 583-6747.

The Revenants

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “revenant” as “one that returns after death or a long absence.” How that relates to the Vermont-based bluegrass band, The Revenansts, is unclear to me. Perhaps it’s a sardonic, self-deprecating reference to the very, very long musical CVs of the three members.

In any case, The Revenants are a fairly recently organized band and secular spinoff from the Bluegrass Gospel Project. The band, which plays all over Vermont, makes occasional forays into other New England states, and this Friday they’ll appear at the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill in Portland. Personnel include lead vocalist and guitarist Andy Greene, mandolinist Taylor Amerding and bassist Kirk Lord.

The Revenants play a mixture of traditional bluegrass, self-penned songs and covers of pop and rock songs that lend themselves to a grassy re-invention.

Catch The Revenants at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St. (top of Munjoy Hill) in Portland. Call 775-5568.


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