Ten Strings and a Goatskin ~ 2017 April 15 ~ One Longfellow Square ~ Portland, ME
Rowen Gallant, fiddle and vocals; Caleb Gallant, bodhràn, snare drum, percussive feet, and vocals; Jesse Périard, guitar and vocals
Auprès du Poêle
Whoa Mama (medley of "Old Gussie" and "Smiling House")
For the second time in three days I saw a power trio, except this time it was a folk power trio. The "ten strings" are, of course, a guitar and a fiddle, and the "goatskin" is the bodhràn.
This high-energy bilingual (French & English) trio from Prince Edward Island, Canada is made up of two brothers and a college friend. These three talented young men are just a ball of fire on stage -- even while sitting. Their repertoire consists of re-imagined French Canadian folk songs, of which some are instrumentals and some are sung in French, and a handful of tuneful originals, mainly instrumentals. They sang only one song in English. If I had any wish for this band, I'd like to see a little more singing, since all three had very strong voices and their harmonies were just beautiful. And I'd like to hear an additional song or two in English.
Rowen and Caleb (the brothers) and Jesse (the friend) had both a musical and personal rapport on stage that was completely delightful. They told funny stories, introducing the songs, and occasionally teasing one another the way really good friends do. Unfortunately, one of the stories they told involved the loss of their box of CDs to the customs agent, leaving them with hardly any merch to sell. The band were extremely democratic, with the musicians taking turns introducing the songs.
It was my birthday and Concert Going Partner and I were spending the weekend in Portland, and we thought a concert by an unknown band (but in a known venue) sounded like a good way to top off the day. And we were sure right. These three talented young men made a pair of instant fans. The venue was completely sold out with enthusiastic concert goers, most of whom seemed to be familiar with the band. This venue is just off of State Street in the western part of downtown Portland, up the street from the bigger-name-but-that-doesn't-mean-better State Theater.
Click for 2017 Concert Page with links to all 2017 concerts ... Click for Main Concert Page with links to all years