A pair of don’t-miss folk shows in Portland

If you’re into folk or folk rock, or grunge folk or any of the other #folk varietals, there are a couple of shows on the immediate horizon that you won’t want to miss out on.

First up, Dan Blakeslee and Coyote Island – a pair of Maine-based musicians who have both made quite a name for themselves nationally – will take the stage tonight at the Sun Tiki Studios.

Blakeslee, according to his Instagram, has recently moved back to Maine, and this will be his first show since that return.

Blakeslee, a gifted songwriter, got his start busking in Boston back in the mid-’90s. Since then, he’s put out 10 records and averaged about 160 shows per year, including gigs with Langhorne Slim, The Low Anthem, David Wax Museum, Lydia Loveless, The Lumineers, Old 97′s, Brown Bird, Josh Ritter, Death Vessel and Kimya Dawson, among other.

His most recent recorded release is a collection of the demos he made in connection with his second record, Tatnic Tales, which was recorded in a barn in North Berwick.

“The sole purpose of these frill free recordings was to be shared with those involved with “Tatnic Tales” the album,” Blakeslee says of the released on his Bandcamp page. “Welcome to the behind the scenes glimpse to what was one of my favorite and most memorable recording experiences to date.”

“There is a feeling of antiquity to the songs, which are written in a poetic language that could have been taken from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

Nick Zaino III
Boston Globe
Coyote Island

Maine-based songwriter Mike O’Hehir opens the bill with his project, Coyote Island. Coyote Island’s sound is rooted in folk, but it reflects O’Hehir’s broad palette of influences, including pop, South American & African percussion, 60’s surf rock, and reggae.

He’s released a handful of songs, which are available on several streaming platforms. Or you can check out the video, below.

Saturday night, Joe Henry rolls into Portland for a show at One Longfellow Square.

If you haven’t listened to his stuff, do yourself a favor and check him out. We were particularly taken with the record he did with Billy Bragg back in 2016, Shine A Light. It’s all railroad songs, recorded in the field, either on trains on in trains stations, and it’s a remarkable experience to hear.

Joe Henry

But really, you can’t go wrong with any of the 15 records he’s put out to date, including his latest, The Gospel According to Water, because they’re all freakin’ awesome.

The fact that Henry is here at all is a goddam miracle. In November 2018, he was diagnosed with Stage Four prostate cancer that has metastasized and spread throughout his body. He was told he had, at most, seven months to live.

Yet, here he is. The doors are at 7pm, and the show is 8pm. Get tix here – and we’ll see you there.

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