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Spuyten Duyvil Give Earthy and Inspired Performance

Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME ~ April 23, 2015 ~

Apr 26, 2015
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Spuyten Duyvil played their hearts out on Wednesday evening. If you’ve heard their new CD, The Social Music Hour Volume I, then you know the gritty sound and feeling of their music. Before they came out I enjoyed looking at the stage set-up: a big array of guitars, drums, concertina, and other seldom seen instruments such as tenor guitars—even one made from a wooden cigar box with a license plate top—a kind of do-it-yourself resonator.

Beth is petite in stature, but big in voice. She wore lacy clothing and has a flapper-meets-Mae-West-spunkiness, delivering songs with dramatic flair. Her husband, Mark, has a gruff, growling voice reminiscent of Barry McGuire. I loved the sweet smile on his face throughout the night.

The entire band is so good at what they do. Rick Mercaldi, sporting a newsboy cap and an ascot, was a magician with electric guitar and what seemed to be a spiffy-looking pedal steel guitar that he played standing up. John Neidhart looks like he’s been rocking all his life and added a robust presence on the bass. Jim Meigs is one of the most talented people I’ve ever heard on harmonica, he was like the spinal fluid of the band and really gave them their signature sound. Lou Geser held it all together on drums. The group is loud but that’s what makes it fun. When they’re singing those old-timey songs, you want to join in and roar along. The band outdid themselves live—they define the notion of sound and fury!

Besides songs from the new CD, they did a Beth composition that was very Eilen Jewell-esque, called “Bitter.” It had incredible texture and feeling. Also their version of “Lord Franklin” was particularly spirited. It reminded me of the Judy Collin’s live arrangement of “Pretty Polly.” Their songs start out like little tornadoes that swell into tsunamis. Batteries could recharge in their presence.

At the end of the evening they called up opening act, Laney Jones and the Spirits, to join them for a rousing version of “Shady Grove.” It was a great show, and I only wish the place had been packed. They deserved to play for a bigger crowd, and I’m sure when they do, the place ignites. Wonderful show! You can find out more about them at

Press Photo from Spuyten Duyvil website.

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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