I’ll admit it. I’m guilty. Guilty of too often focusing my attention mostly on the music scenes in Bangor and Portland. I know, there’s much more out there than that — and today, we focus on four music venues well out of the way of those two locales, that for in some cases years and years have showcased hundreds of Maine musicians on their stages. If you find yourself in upper Aroostook County, or the quiet side of Mt. Desert Island, or the Midcoast, or wandering the streets of Lewiston, here’s four places you can go for a nice meal and some sweet tunes.
Stockholm, located a few miles down the road from Caribou, has a population of 253 people. It’s also home to one the most consistent and diverse music venues in Maine — Eureka Hall, a restaurant and bar that plays host to many Maine and New England roots and folk bands and artists. Folks are just as likely to arrive on snowmobile as they are automobile, waiting for cocktails, barbecue, pizza or an excellent weekend brunch. They’re also waiting for music from the likes of Jacob Augustine, the Ghost of Paul Revere, Dan Blakeslee and Aroostook County’s own one-man music scene, songwriter Travis Cyr, who also books most of the music. Coming up soon, there’s psych-rockers ShaShaSha Jan. 23-24, songwriter Max Garcia Conover Jan. 30, the Ghost of Paul Revere Fev. 6-7, and Dan Blakeslee and Amy Kucharik Feb. 13-14; all shows at 7 p.m.
Bar Harbor gets all the attention as far as entertainment on Mt. Desert Island goes — the Lompoc Cafe has been a summertime staple of Maine’s indie rock scene for a very long time — but tucked away in beautiful Southwest Harbor is a great place to hear live music. Sips, a cozy restaurant with regular performances from local bands and songwriters year-round. For dinner, try one of their decadent risottos, tasty grilled skewers or savory crepes, paired with one of their many imported beers. For your listening pleasure, take a chance on the Monday open mic night, or a full night of music most Wednesdays and some Saturdays. Coming up in the next few weeks, enjoy songwriter Bill Shaw Jan. 14, rockers the 220s on Saturday, Jan. 17, harmonica master Russell Snyder Jan. 21, a jam with keyboard player Michael Anderson Feb. 11, or acoustic duo Honey Don’t Feb. 25.
Sure, I mention them in my online 5 Things To Do This Weekend column each week, so they’re not completely off the radar, but Rock City Coffee is certainly worth a mention in print as well. Aside from the excellent coffee — many varieties, roasted just down the street — the cafe offers great snacks and sandwiches and, oh yeah, one of the most consistent and cool live music series in Maine. Nearly every weekend the cafe hosts musicians from all over the state, from Irish and bluegrass bands to experimental jazz, indie rock and punk and singer-songwriters. For example, this weekend brings Bangor husband and wife rock duo The Royal Bones on Friday and Camden native songwriter Alice Limoges on Saturday, while on Jan. 23 there’s the By The Bay jazz trio and on Jan. 24 there’s Rockland songwriter Tom Albury. All shows start at 7 p.m.; get there early for a snack and to shop at the wonderful Hello Hello Books, located within the back third of the cafe.
Lewiston is definitely not off the beaten path. But for our print readers and for many of our Bangor area readers, there’s a good chance they don’t know about the cozy, hip and comfortable Lewiston eatery and venue She Doesn’t Like Guthries, which for about a decade has offered healthy, yummy, local food and has been a bastion of live music, film and comedy in Lewiston. This Friday, Jan. 9, bluegrass band Mountain Emergency will play; on Friday, Jan. 16, improvisational jazz musician Kit Demos plays a set; and on Jan. 30 songwriter Seth Warner will perform. All shows at 8 p.m. In between all that, the Maine Short Film Festival will show its program at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15.