The Sandy River Ramblers, from left, Dan Simons, Stan Keach, Bud Godsoe, Dana Reynolds, and Julie Davenport, during a May 19 performance at the Hall of Fame Show. (Submitted image)

AREA — The Sandy River Ramblers will celebrate their long-anticipated new CD, “Home in the Heart of Maine,” with a concert Saturday, June 29, at Somerset Abbey, Main Street in Madison.

Somerset Abbey is a beautiful concert hall housed in a historic church building. Locally made food and snacks and a wide array of Maine-brewed beer and beverages are available. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. For information, visit the Somerset Abbey website at www.somersetabbey.net, call 696-5800, or email [email protected]

The Ramblers have been playing bluegrass-flavored acoustic music in Maine since 1983. Their special niche is playing original songs about Maine, mostly written by bandleader and guitarist Stan Keach, a nationally-known bluegrass songwriter whose songs (not the ones about Maine) have been recorded by some of the biggest names in bluegrass. Keach, who won the prestigious Maine Songwriters Association Song of the Year award in 2017, was also recently inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame.

Banjo player Bud Godsoe, like Keach a founding member of the Ramblers, learned to play the banjo while working on the Alaska Pipeline, and has gone on to become one of Maine’s top banjoists. Mandolinist Dan Simons and young (21) fiddler Finn Woodruff are also top instrumentalists. Simons, the younger brother of film and TV (“Veep”) star Tim Simons, is an outdoorsman and homesteader living in Vienna.

Besides Keach, Godsoe, and Simons, all of whom are competent lead and harmony singers, the Ramblers are blessed with two extraordinary female vocalists, upright bassist Julie Davenport (a small farmer and SAPPI forester by trade), and 17-year-old prodigy Dana Reynolds.

Their three- and 4-part harmonies are among the best you’ll hear in northern New England. The Ramblers’ 2012 CD, “Cry of the Loon & other original songs about Maine,” has been called “a gift to Mainers” by Bangor Daily News outdoors writer George Smith.

The new CD, which will be the focus of the concert, features all new songs about Maine. Some, like “Black Fly Time in Maine” and “Down Went Sonny Liston” are amusing. Others, like “The Knife Edge” – about a woman hiker and Baxter State Park Ranger who died in a tragic incident on Mount Katahdin – are heart-wrenching.

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