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Ron Cody, Erica Brown and Matt Shipman Deliver Sheer Joy

~ Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland Maine - October 22, 2009 ~

Oct 24, 2009
Kimmy Sophia Brown

What a delightful evening, to say the least! Ron Cody with his boyish grin and banjo, rugged Matt Shipman with his guitar, and delicately lovely Erica Brown with her fiddle, played an impressive opening set last night at One Longfellow Square.

They started out with a polka, substituting the fiddle for the part written for clarinet, and then segued into several intricate and toe-tapping jig and reel medleys. After wetting our whistles with those hors d’oeuvres, Erica captured the feeling of a poor, homesick farm worker with her clear, true voice on the spare Gillian Welch tune, “One More Dollar”. She and Matt Shipman continued to create an old-timey sound with their harmony on a lovely composition of Hazel Dickens, “Won’t You Come and Sing For Me?”, as well as many others.

We were treated to the flavor of French Canadian fiddle playing by sweet-smiled Erica, who has been playing and winning awards since the age of seven. Ron, who is clearly in the smile business, (drilling by day with his own dental practice, ( and banjo picking by night), shared anecdotes about the complexity of playing various tunes that, for example, could potentially send tangled finger picks flying into the audience at any given moment. Matt maintained a stalwart presence with an understated and steady demeanor, definitive guitar work and fine voice. I am continually agog at the quality of local talent here in Portland. These three fine musicians have obviously spent thousands of hours working their craft independently and then in cooperation together, as well as with other musicians. It was such a pleasure to bask in the light of their precision and charm. It seemed a shame that there wasn’t room to dance, because many of their pieces begged for the reciprocation of rollicking tootsies.

They really created a wonderful atmosphere warming up the audience for headliners, Bill Evans and Megan Lynch.In fact, they were called back to the stage for the encore with Bill and Megan, playing two fantastic pieces that showcased harmonizing fiddles, dueling banjos, guitar and vocals. So impressive and fun! Doubly impressive because they had only met on the day of the concert, and the result was as if they’d played together for years.

They can be seen at the Empire,, playing with a band called The Stowaways, on Monday nights. Check out their websites to find out about upcoming shows and to buy CDs:,, and And if you want to learn to play like the pros, Matt and Erica both teach music at 317 Main St., Yarmouth,

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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