LEWISTON — Country guitarist-singer Jonathan Brown, the soulfully eclectic Holmes Brothers and one-of-a-kind songwriter Lady Lamb the Beekeeper are the featured performers in this summer’s Concerts on the Quad at Bates College.

In three outdoor concerts at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Brown performs on July 17, the Holmes Brothers on July 31, and Lady Lamb on Aug. 14. The setting is the Coram Library porch on the college’s Historic Quad, at College Street and Campus Avenue.

Admission to this family-friendly series is free, and audience members are encouraged to bring picnics and chairs or blankets. The rain site is the nearby Peter J. Gomes Chapel, 275 College St. For more information, call 207-753-6953.

Jonathan Brown

Hailing from Nashville, guitarist Brown brings a bit of Music Row with him wherever he plays. A virtuoso of fingerstyle guitar, Brown has made a name for himself among fellow players and audience members alike. Whether it’s an original composition or a reimagining of a classic like “Beyond the Sea,” Brown brings his own style to each piece he performs.

Rooted in Southern music traditions, Brown was a natural choice when producers of the television series “Nashville” went looking for a Music City player to bring a little Tennessee twang to the show. These days he can be seen on “Nashville” himself as a member of the band backing up Connie Britton’s character Rayna James, the show’s central character.

Brown has established himself further still as part of an elite community of guitar players through appearances at high-profile events such as the series of tributes to fingerstyle master and Nashville giant Chet Atkins. Along with Atkins, Brown lists favorites like Tommy Emmanuel and Maine guitar star Lenny Breau among his influences. But with a style situated somewhere between the Tennessee hills and a 1960s juke joint, Brown has carved a place for himself that is all his own.

Brown, by the way, plays Bourgeois guitars, made in Lewiston.

The Holmes Brothers

The Holmes Brothers’ gospel-influenced three-part harmonies, simmering energy and telepathic musicianship mix Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor of Sunday’s church service. Blending blues, soul, R&B, rock and country, this trio creates a “rural feeling that no other touring roots music group can duplicate,” said a writer for All Music Guide.

The Holmes Brothers are bassist-vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist-pianist-vocalist Wendell Holmes and drummer-vocalist Popsy Dixon. The three have recorded with Van Morrison, Odetta, Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash and Joan Osborne, and have gigged all over the world.

Their recordings include their new Alligator release, “Brotherhood.” Produced by Glenn Patscha (Marc Cohn), Chris Bruce (Seal) and Hector Castillo (Brazilian Girls, David Bowie), “Brotherhood” is their bluesiest album to date. Its 14 songs — including eight Holmes originals — find the trio at the absolute top of their game. They close “Brotherhood” with their most-requested song: the soul-stirring “Amazing Grace.”

Sherman and Wendell Holmes grew up in Christchurch, Va. In 1963, the brothers formed The Sevilles, a group that lasted only three years but backed such touring artists as the Impressions, John Lee Hooker and Jerry Butler. After The Sevilles broke up, Sherman, Wendell and fellow Virginian Popsy Dixon played together and apart in various bands until 1979, when they formed The Holmes Brothers.

The Concert on the Quad will be the band’s second Bates appearance. They first performed here in 2008.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper — aka Aly Spaltro — began her music career in what she calls the “cocoon” of the night shift at a used video store in Brunswick. After hours, she would practice her music, write songs and develop her voice, until she was ready to send her music out into the world. Or at least into Maine.

Publicizing her work locally and often through nontraditional channels allowed Lady Lamb to develop a style — and a following — unlike any other.

A true solo endeavor, with Spaltro writing all the songs and arrangements, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s debut album, “Ripely Pine,” is a collection of some of Spaltro’s most earnest music to date. With music described as both “folk-twinged” and “unabashed rock,” Lady Lamb is an endeavor that defies much classification, with Spaltro instead preferring to exist somewhere in the margins.

Her commitment to having her mark on everything, from guitar to lyrics to banjo to arrangement, makes Spaltro’s music starkly personal, both for her and her fans. As a longtime favorite of the Portland music scene, Lady Lamb earned fiercely supportive followers, while as a breakout success in folk-rock she has collected praise from institutions like the Boston Globe and CMJ.

The Aug. 14 date is the second at Bates for Lady Lamb, who now lives in Brooklyn. She opened a Cold War Kids show at the college in 2011.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: