Rachel Ries (pronounced ‘rice’) was tall, wearing a
flowered dress. She seemed to like the color red. Her tights were red, her
guitar was red, and she wore a red sweater. A young man with curly hair,
clothed in as much yellow as she was in red, sang and played with her. His name was Ben
Davis, and they both are part of Anais Mitchell’s Young Man Band. They made me
think of ketchup and mustard with their outfits, but they played some sincere
songs, sang well in harmony, and played their instruments like champs.
Rachel Ries told us that she was raised as a Mennonite in
North Dakota. It wasn't really surprising. She had an atmosphere of purity that evoked a feeling of the prairie grass and the plains, the bitter winters and broad summer
sun. She shone when she spoke and sang, and looked trustworthy. She looked kind,
like a friend.
Her set was short but heartfelt. She sang love songs about her new husband, Adrian. She made us laugh when she asked for help
re-titling a song that was called, “With or Without You”. Something in her imagery and originality
reminded me of Emily Dickinson. I looked forward to hearing them play with Anais
Mitchell. At the end of her set she made a plug for her CDs, which were being
sold in hand-sewn cases! You don’t see that everyday. Plus she had jars
of homemade plum jam for sale too. Wow! Visit her website at rachelries.com.
Press photo by Carli Davidson
For music lovers visiting Portland, Maine, I highly recommend
One Longfellow Square ~ "Portland's Premier Arts Venue"
Check them out at onelongfellowsquare.com.