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Peter Mulvey on the Road with Po' Girl

Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME ~ April 1, 2011 ~

Apr 13, 2011
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Were Peter Mulvey and Po’ Girl stopped by the blizzard ofApril Fool’s Day, 2011, in Portland Maine? Heck no! They are not sissies and despite the challenges of touring, they showed up and the audience showed up and it was beautiful!

Peter opened the show with attention getting technicalprowess, his fingers doing the tango up and down the neck of his beautiful, brown Martin guitar, the capo attached upside down and his thumbs playing bass notes on either side of it as he sang the musical question, “If love is not enough?”

If love is not enough then what's enough? I am listening
If love is not enough what keeps the moon bright,
What keeps the ocean glistening?
You think it's you, I think it's me
If love is not enough than what else can it be?

His warm baritone voice, relaxed demeanor and intelligentlywritten songs were a delight from the get go. “If Love is Not Enough” might have been grafted from the same musical tree as Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” or “Aint No Sunshine When She’s Gone”. As an expert multi-tasker, he told funny stories while retuning his guitar more times than Joni Mitchell. Mulvey’s musical teeth were cut while playing for years in the Boston subway. He seems totally at home on stage and has that sort of vital male energy that emanates like sunshine, the way fit muscles burn calories at rest. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he sometimes tours by bicycle and conveys his athleticism at a ‘song’ular level. His songs range from romantic to poignant to jazzy to silly. He played a lovely version of, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, and one of his old standby’s, which he dubbed the happiest song he’s ever written entitled, “Sad, sad, sad, sad.”

“Some People” is a humorous, Randy Newman-ish compositioncomparing types of humanity.

Some people go to the tavernPeter Mulvey
Some people go to the church
Some senators go into the airport johns
And get their reputations besmirched
Some people go away from the altar
And leave some people in the lurch
And I go mmm mmm mmm mmm

Peter explained that he and the members of Po’ Girl met at asongwriting camp, felt a connection and decided to tour together. Allie Russell of Po’ Girl teased that they dubbed him their spiritual leader because when they took turns riding with him during the tour they came back refreshed and inspired. Po’ Girl members joined him one by one on stage, fleshing out his solo performance. “Shirt” is one of those tunes that zeroes in on sadness, love and things familiar. They assisted on “Charlie” (a composition about double bassist, Charlie Haden) “Knuckleball Suite”, and the achingly beautiful, “Shoulder Birds.”

Coming up on his roster he’s playing Tom Waits in a liveperformance of the entire Tom Waits album, Raindogs. Also he is singingthe role of Orpheus in an upcoming show of the Anais Mitchell folk opera, “Hadestown”. Peter Mulvey is a truly exceptional artist who should be much more famous than he is. We wish him well.

You can find out more about him 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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