Songwriter nights are typically laidback performances where you can hear new work by your favorite musicians or discover new artists, and there are several coming up in the next month at venues across the state.

Check one out this weekend by heading to Cadenza in Freeport at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Songwriter Showcase is hosted by Jud Caswell, who will be joined by fellow Mainers Lisa Redfern, Jenny Van West and Ed Desjardins. Tickets are $23 in advance, $28 at the door and $10 for students. Get them at, or, if you can’t make the show, watch a livestream from Cadenza’s Facebook page.

Lisa Redfern’s new album “The Best Part.” Popham Beach photo by Lisa Redfern

“The joy of songwriter nights is hearing the creations of your fellow songwriters, and I also love that the audience gets to hear four songwriters for the price of one,” said Redfern, who lives in West Bath and just released her 12th album, “The Best Part.” With a voice as clear as a Maine mountain stream, Redfern sings nine original and three cover songs with a welcoming warmth. She’ll be playing some of these tunes on Sunday.

Left to right: Joel Thetford, Conner Garvey, Frank Hopkins and Ben Cosgrove on stage at the April 9 Songwriters in The Round show at Blue. Photo by John Duncan

Singer-songwriter Joel Thetford and pianist Ben Cosgrove co-host the monthly Songwriters in The Round series at Blue in downtown Portland. The cash-donation shows are 21-plus and start at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday each month.

The May 14 show features Thetford with local artists Lauryn Hottinger and John Nels. Brook Blanche, a musician from Kansas with a rich, deep voice, is also on the bill.

“In the round” typically means all of the musicians are on stage together and take turns playing songs. Sometimes backing vocals and a guitar or other instrument is added organically.


“What makes this special to me is sharing the stage with so many amazing artists,” said Thetford, who said Hannah Daman, Griffin Sherry and Anna Lombard have taken part in the series.

Thetford also appreciates the fan loyalty and attentive audiences. “We have had many of the same folks attending every one since we started  (in 2022), and when we perform at Blue, everyone is quiet and focused on the artist which is great.”

Cosgrove’s history goes back further. “I used to do a regular one with Griffin Sherry, Max Davis and Max Garcia Conover, and they were really essential to my early days in this community,” he said. “It’s an honor to have a role in keeping that tradition going, and these songwriter nights consistently remain some of my favorite evenings each month.”

Musicians performing at the Songwriters Round put on by WERU and Ecology Learning Center at Clifford Arts & Student Center in Unity. Left to right: Roger Ramsey, Seth Gallant, Kate McCann and Sara Trunzo. Photo by Jonathan Fulford

Singer-songwriter Sara Trunzo lives in Belfast and loves songwriter nights.

“It’s my favorite type of show to put on because it is one of the only formats where audiences who have trouble listening to songs and songwriters just need to give in and hush up and because it turns every space into a listening room,” she said.

Trunzo spent time living in Nashville where these types of shows are commonplace. “It was culture shock to come back and have my own friends talk over my songwriter shows in Maine. Listening is an art, and this form elevates songs in a way that is really beautiful,” she said.

There’s a Songwriters’ Round with Trunzo, Stella Prince, Kate McCann and Laurie Jones in Searsport at 7 p.m. May 16. The show is in the Starboard Lounge at Hey Sailor restaurant. Trunzo has a bunch of other shows over the next few months, including more songwriters’ ones. Keep tabs at

Keep an eye on Elements Books Coffee Beer in Biddeford, which regularly hosts musical acts and has an occasional series called Elements in the Round, hosted by Laurie Jones, featuring a handful of singer-songwriters.

Also look out for The Blueberry Jam songwriters night, hosted by Isaiah Bennett every few months, on the Facebook page for Erik’s Church in Windham. The next one is on Wednesday at 7 p.m. 

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