• Wows were issued to us all the way from the muddy banks of Dodds Farm, New York, where local bluegrass dude PUTNAM SMITH was the only Mainer to play in last weekend's 21st annual Falcon Ridge Festival. Smith joined 23 other fringe-folkers to play the Emerging Artist Showcase, a juried event torturously conducted in 100-degree heat. Apparently, Smith kept his composure and blew coolly through his songs, thus spinning a number of sweaty heads in search of merch tables that offered his new disc, We Could Be Beekeepers. While votes are still being tallied for the winner of the showcase, Smith's new album ranks second on the country's Folk Radio charts, but vaults to first if you filter that list to include only Folk artists with soul patches. Solid work.
PUTNAM IN NEW YORK At Falcon Ridge.
• Last week in Kittery, the boys of BRENDA played an under-the-radar show for one of the toughest possible audiences: a swarm of children at a summer camp. Apparently, the kids thought they ruled (or, being pre-adolescent, that music, generally speaking, rules), and even lined up to collect autographs from the four dudes after the set. At first glance, this may look like another classic opportunity for some cynical indie yuks, but if you think about it, a show like that might be a pretty close distillation of the whole reason people play music at all. Either that or it's the closest we can get to what the '90s felt like.
• Break-up season may have come late this year, but it's surely wielding its scythe now. First, MARIE STELLA. Now, TJ METCALFE has been torn from guitar duties in DEAD MAN'S CLOTHES, playing his last show with the band at a house party last weekend. And for whatever reason, WESLEY ALLEN HARTLEY's TRAVELING TREES came crashing down this past month. Not to fear on both fronts: DMC plan to continue, and Hartley, that bruised crooner, already has a new unit called SPLENDORA COLT.
• Whatever courses through the veins of Montana songwriter ADAM NORDELL would make a fine energy supplement. On Saturday, Nordell reaches the final destination of his bicycle-powered CD-release tour, LOCAL SPROUTS CAFÉ, for a free concert of his original takes on traditional Appalachian mountain sounds at 7 pm. Starting way up north, Nordell will have played shows in Lubec, Machias, Belfast, and Damariscotta by the time he docks in Portland, and given the circumstances, we'll take his perspective on American country pretty much at his word.
• Bands, if you wanna sneak onto the schedule at Bangor's KAHBANG FESTIVAL, "like" the hell out of the PORTLAND MUSIC FOUNDATION FB page (and get your fans to do the same). Win, and you could be backstage discussing the debt ceiling with LUPE FIASCO in no time! Good luck.
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