Listen Up: Roots music for your weekend, Travis Cyr, and Abigail Washburn

Each Friday I’ll be posting music that you might like. I like it, anyway. One local, one not so local. Enjoy!

Your weekend soundtrack comes to you courtesy of two fantastic acoustic/roots acts. First up, Maine’s own Travis Cyr and the Strings of Calamity, who’s playing a sweet post-Thanksgiving show this Saturday at Empire Dine & Dance in Portland, along with Putnam Smith, Dark Hollow Bottling Company and Tricky Britches. This video, of a performance of his song “Vinegar,” is from earlier this summer, at Cyr’s own Arootsakoostik Music Festival, held each July at Thomas Park in New Sweden, in Aroostook County. Remember when it was sunny and green out? Yeah, me too. Anyway, Cyr’s a fearsome songwriter and supporter of Maine music. He has a beautiful beard, and is a lovely guy on top of it, who believes in acoustic guitars and in Northern Maine. You can listen to more of his music at his Reverb Nation page. If you miss him in Portland on Saturday night, you can catch him on Dec. 9 at the Sea Dog in Bangor, and Dec. 10 at Mai Tai in Presque Isle.

On the not-so-local side of things (though she did play at the Strand in Rockland a few weeks ago), Abigail Washburn is an amazing young talent, an unbelievable banjo player who was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work in China, combining Chinese musical traditions with American traditions. Here she is, playing her song “City of Refuge” and a Chinese song as well, as part of NPR Music’s wonderful Tiny Desk Concert series.

She’s a fascinating person. She’s also married to Bela Fleck, which kind of makes them banjo royalty. Her album “City of Refuge” came out earlier this year. It’s definitely worth picking up.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.