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Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys Dazzle and Delight!

~ Venue - One Longfellow Square, Portland Maine - July 2009 ~

Jul 26, 2009
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys brought their musical fire to One Longfellow Square in Portland Maine, this past Thursday night. Landing on the stage in a flurry of whiskers and instruments, the five piece bluegrass band commenced to ignite the audience with an evening of tight-tight-tight harmonies and fearsome pickin’. Not only was it a feast for the ears, it was, in their words, “high fiber, low-fat music, that leaves a low carbon footprint”. What more could bluegrass fans ask for?

I knew we were in for a treat the second they started playing because tears sprang into my eyes. That always happens when I hear good music. Also my face was stretched into an indefatigable omni-smile that lasted the duration of the concert. Kind of like a free Botox injection with the cost of admission. Also my foot went into “auto-tap” mode and didn’t stop ‘til it was over.

Not only blissful to listen to, they were fun to watch too, such as when they seamlessly interchanged the spotlight in a little in-house square dance. Dan Lindner dazzled us with his banjo (hence the name!) and his brother, Willy Lindner, was uncommonly wonderful on mandolin. Both were expert singers on lead and harmonies. Jon Henry Drake, as they said, played the low notes on his standup bass and sang the longing, lonesome high notes as lead tenor. Phil Bloch was continuously miraculous on the fiddle. Where did he get those fingers? The adept Al Davis played guitar, sang and was credited for many of their compositions including the humorous, “Fire in the Sugarhouse”, the title song for their new album. It’s a sweet song about love and syrup - with a line that people from Dixie might not get; “Jenny took her sweater off and had three more on besides.”     

Their version of the Stanley Brothers, “Harbor of Love” was stunning and heartfelt enough to convert a convict. Peter Rowan’s, “Midnight Moonlight”, with lead vocal by Phil Bloch, was nothing less than gorgeous. The zydeco tune, “C’est La Vie” was delightful, and Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues” was a darkly magnificent encore.      

Local singer, Boo Cowie, (who worked with Phil Bloch in the band, The Piners) was invited up to the stage from the audience for a very enjoyable rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”.

Two marks of great musicianship are how easy they make it look, and how much fun they share with the audience. The two hour concert was over way too soon and the whole place was aglow with good feelin’s and happy hearts. Thank you Plowboys, you made us feel happy as a bunch of black bears in a sugar house - a delightful delectation of felicitous, frolicking festivity!

Visit the Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys website at


For music lovers visiting Portland, Maine, I highly recommend
One Longfellow Square ~ "Portland's Premier Arts Venue"
Check them out at

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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