Cover of the new Joel Thetford Band live album. Photo by Matthew Robbins

The Joel Thetford Band recently released a satisfyingly solid live album of alt-country tunes recorded last fall at Port City Music Hall in Portland and is pledging half of its online sales revenue to Creative Portland’s Artists Relief Fund.

The fund was set up to offer some economic relief in the form of $500 stipends to local visual and performing artists who aren’t eligible for unemployment. Interested artists can submit applications through the end of the month at creativeportland.com/Artist_Relief_Fund.

The album was recorded on Nov. 17, when the band opened for outlaw country act Sarah Shook & The Disarmers. Thetford didn’t tell his bandmates that the show was being recorded so that they wouldn’t be nervous and also because he wasn’t sure they’d even use the recording. “I always love the sound in that room so I did not want to miss the opportunity to record it,” he said.

When the show was over and the band walked off stage, Thetford said they all felt that they had done something special, and when he told them the show had been recorded, they were thrilled.

Joel Thetford Band performing at Port City Music Hall. Photo b Meg Shorette, edited by Lauryn Hottinger

The live album, released April 6, features Thetford on vocals and guitar, Ben Cosgrove on keys, Nate Soule on guitar, Dan Capaldi on drums, Ian Riley on bass and Matthew Robbins on guitar. The recording was done by Kyle Hussey, mixed by Dan Capaldi and mastered at Gateway Studios by Adam Ayan.

To help support Creative Portland’s fund and get yourself a fantastic collection of eight songs, including “If You Don’t Mind,” “Dance Again” and “Another Fall,” head to iTunes, Amazon, Google Play or Bandcamp. You can also purchase a physical copy online from Bull Moose.

Phil Hoose stands in his house in Porltand in 2015. Shawn Patrick Ouelette/Staff Photographer

In other music news, longtime Maine singer-songwriter and National Book Award-winning author Phil Hoose and his wife and fellow musician Sandi Ste. George took pen to paper and re-wrote Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” and turned it into “Isolation Row.”

The couple wrote it during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak and recorded it on March 15, when they were in New Orleans. They were sheltering in place there and have been doing the same since returning to Portland on March 31. Hoose and Ste. George’s primary residence is in Portland, but they typically spend between three and four months in the Big Easy every year.

Dylan’s “Desolation Row” is more than 11 minutes long, the closing track on his 1965 album “Highway 61 Revisited” and one of his most significant and widely regarded songs. The Hoose version clocks in at 1 minute and 45 seconds and sublimely sums up what many of us are experiencing in isolation.

Here’s the first verse:

We’ve run out of toilet paper and antiseptic spray
We’ve been watching “Andy Griffith” since we woke up today
We’re getting used to going nowhere
We haven’t any plans
The one thing on our schedule is to wash our hands
And our dog she’s dancing in circles, that means she has to go
But no one dares to take her from isolation row

Hoose shared the song on YouTube on March 21 with a clip of him singing and playing an acoustic guitar.

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