A RETURN THIS WEEKEND Moses Atwood comes to town with a piano-centric writing style we haven’t seen from him before.
Like predicting the impact of climate change, looking forward to the season's album releases reveals an increasing number of significant events, but you can't quite pin down exactly when they'll all happen. With debut full-lengths from interesting emerging songwriters like Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Max Garcia Conover, plus new work from those who've already put out consistently great work like Spose, Kate Schrock, and Trails, there's a good deal to look forward to if you're a connoisseur of Maine music.
Some Mainers don't stay exclusively in Maine, but we don't have to give them up. MOSES ATWOOD returns for the first time in a good while this weekend, in fact, to remind us of his old-timey grace even if it's by showing off a piano-centric writing style we haven't seen before from the accomplished acoustic guitar picker on "One Bright Boat," the opening and title track to his new album. There's maybe some Steve Winwood here, but lots of New Orleans soul, too, "tired of all the sad songs/tired of living my life like I done something wrong"
"At Last" is a summery and melancholy beach tune, with a high-hat like the wind in your hair and enjoying the sunset at the end of a beautiful day you wish wouldn't end. "Garden of Eden" is like a Traffic tune: "I hear the brass band playing just for me." The vocals in general are Procul Harum's Gary Brooker mixed with Winwood and thoroughly engaging, never more than on the closing ballad, "Tell It Like It Is."
There's definitely no reason to miss him DECEMBER 28, with long-time friend SAMUEL JAMES, at One Longfellow Square, in Portland.
We're also hearing tell that this next week could see the release of new records from both BRENDA and METAL FEATHERS, a pair of smart rock bands who'll be putting out Fix Your Eyes and Handful of Fog, respectively with TEENARENA RECORDS (also doing vinyl for 2012's poppy Foam Castles record, Bonanza).
Should we get our hands on them, we'll be reviewing those shortly, as we'll do for the new release from the prolific and tireless STEVE JONES, Listening, which will be available JANUARY 8. An early listen says it's another group of Jones songs that deliver a lot of different roots approaches, from Steve Earle heartache to John Cale cynicism to Delmore Brothers hillbilly boogie-woogie.
On JANUARY 11, FORMORNING will release "The Soldier Song/Lorena Bobbitt," a single featuring Whit Walker, Kate Somerville, Mark Cevoli, Elizabeth Stockbridge, Daniel Boyden, and Dominic Lavoie, whose ShaShaSha will play along with Forget Forget at the release show at the Big Easy. Lavoie also engineered the songs, which follow on ForMorning tunes like "One in a Million," which has a studied sloppiness, and "George Jetson's Wife," with a pump-organ jangle that's really easy on the ears.
Also, as the month closes out, look for a new full-length from TRAILS (The Lin producing, Syn the Shaman vocalizing), which is yet untitled, but promises vocal guest spots from Dray Sr., Spose, and Misl. The Lin says it may lean more sample-driven, but "it's not done yet, so who knows."