Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wisely in Ellsworth, Maine

We had the good fortune to be able to go to Ellsworth on Friday night (January 11th) and catch Wisely at the Maine Grind performance space.

(Above two photos taken by guest photographer jenny_whyme [using my camera].)

(Willie) Wisely played solo for most of the evening. He had a percussionist join in for a couple of songs (as you can tell from the photographic evidence above). His set was an entertaining mix of pop songs and stories in a loose, freewheeling, almost-stream-of-consciousness delivery, which was probably three parts Willie's personality and one part lack of sleep. Willie gigged in Massachusetts the night before and drove here after the gig. He might've gotten a few hours of sleep before appearing live on three different area radio stations (early morning on Kiss, lunchtime on WERU and late afternoon on WHSN - next time we'll have to get him to squeeze in a visit to WMEB and really test his endurance!).

Willie performed songs from his two most recent albums (Parador from 2006 and the brand new Wisely) along with a few older tunes. The set included (among others) Erase Me, Ella, Cracked World View, California, Who Blew Out the Sun, Vagabond, and Through Any Window.

Willie is an egaging performer who knows his way around a hook and a lyric. I don't think I'd ever consider Wisely's songs to be retro, but if you've ever been wowed by the pop or power-pop of The Beatles, The Raspberries, Ben Folds or Matthew Sweet, then you owe it to yourself to check out Wisely (and don't forget the Willie Wisely Trio recordings while you're at it)!

(I wish I'd thought to get a set list from him or take some notes. Maybe I should crib from Emily as I saw her with notepad in hand at the show. I didn't really plan on writing too much about the gig, but figured the pictures ought to have some commentary)

As you can see from the following photos, the fun didn't stop when Willie's set was done. A group of local musicians took over (I didn't catch their name, though things ended up being more like a jam session as several other musicians joined in for a song or two (including Willie on harp for a bit)).

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jenny_whyme said...

>jenny_whyme [using my camera].)

Don't be such a whiner.

I liked the ones I took without the flash better.

jenny_whyme said...

Oh.. you forgot to mention the traditional circle dance done to that traditional circle dance cover tune... "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

Murph said...

Hmm... I thought it was "You Can't Always Get What You Want" that they played. Fuzzy memories...

jenny_whyme said...

Whatever... it was a surreal moment.. dancing to a Rolling Stones tune... Circle to the left.. Circle to the Right..Swing your Partner... Dosey Doe?