• The Damariscotta-raised songwriter MOSES ATWOOD dropped a new record last week, the first since his well-received 2006 debut. One Bright Boat finds the baritone maneuvering through classic Americana themes of heartbreak, regional longing, and despair while singing from a variety of perspectives and characters. Atwood's both a realist and a pop artist; though he dances around some heavy topics, he seldom strays far from the key of optimism. As a result, many of these songs evoke a sort of universal wistfulness, though things do get irresistibly bleak on "Louisiana," on which Atwood sings to a love across an insurmountable distance, and "A Hard Winter," which revives the roots-country obsession with crimes of passion. We're sure this'll get a full review in the coming weeks, but help yourself to a preview at mosesatwood.net.
• Portland bands playing the ALL POINTS NORTH MUSIC FESTIVAL in Old Town next weekend include the electronic jam group CYBORG TRIO, house DJ TONAS PEAKS, hip hop collective SANDBAG, prog-funk group RESTLESS GROOVE, party-rock weirdos THE RUNNING GAGS, and dubstep DJ OF THE TREES. And, naturally, THE MALLETT BROTHERS BAND. Probably the best jam-country-rap-dubstep festival you'll attend all spring. Look up Kingman's FB page for the whole scoop — the Old Town club hosts the Festival's 25 artists on its three stages from April 19-21.
• A recent documentary by local production company FILMS BY HUEY has gotten much attention in national jazz circuits. IN GOOD TIME: THE PIANO JAZZ OF MARIAN MCPARTLAND has spent close to a year touring festivals, museums, and art house theaters across the country. The doc portrays the life and career of the influential piano jazz legend and National Public Radio host, still kickin' at 93, through interviews and performances, and was named the "Must Have Jazz DVD of 2011" in Downbeat Magazine. In retrospect, McPartland's already impressive body of work is magnified for having been completed in a thoroughly male-dominated jazz scene, and Huey's film appears to honor it rightly. Visit filmsbyhuey.com for more info.
• Meanwhile, this new EP by local balladeer OLIVER WATERMAN is totally worth a listen. Probably the most interesting local songwriter to recall Jeff Buckley in a while. It's pretty raw, sure, but its six songs show a ton of promise. Waterman's still quite young, but has been playing out for years already and has built up some serious musical chops. And of course, that voice is gold. See what I mean at oliverwaterman.bandcamp.com.
: New England Music News
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