A big crowd came out to enjoy blues music in French Falls Park on Thursday, Aug. 31. Matt and the Barnburners put on a free show while the crowd enjoyed the clear weather. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

JAY — Matt and the Barnburners, a blues group based out of central Maine, played a free performance in French Falls Park in Jay on Thursday, Aug. 31. Closing out the month of August, Matt and the Barnburners played to a big crowd of roughly 50 people who brought lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy what remains of the summer season.

The event was sponsored by the Jay Recreation Committee, the event featured Fresh Eatz food truck, which provided hot food for the crowd as they enjoyed the blues musicians.

Founding member Matt Bilodeau sat down with the Livermore Falls Advertiser to share more about the band and its history. Founded in 2006, Matt and the Barnburners have been playing at numerous blues festivals in and outside the state of Maine for almost two decades.

“I was a late bloomer,” Bilodeau said. Bilodeau said he had a lifelong interest for blues music and at 48 years old, he decided to give it a shot.

“I was 48 when I started,” he said. “I played with the Roy Hudson band a couple of years and started my own in 2006, and been playing ever since.”

Bilodeau and company have represented the state of Maine three times at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, having won those chances by competing in the Maine Blues Society’s statewide “Road to Memphis Competition”. They last attended the challenge in Tennessee in January 2019.


This year, Bilodeau brought a new lineup to the stage. He and longtime drummer Bub Lynch are joined by up and coming blues artist Noah Watts on guitar and Alden Bertinet on bass guitar. With the two men in their early 20s, the 70 year old blues musician is finding himself passing on what he knows to the next generation.

Alden Bertinet, right, gets down on the bass with Bub Lynch, left, keeping the beat with masterful precision on Thursday, Aug. 31. According to front man Matt Bilodeau, Bertinet’s nickname is the Anchor. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“I’ve been dragging them all over the place,” Bilodeau said. “These boys are getting quite the education. I hear this all the time, ‘you know, Matt, its really nice you got two kids this young playing what you play and showing them what we like’.”

Bilodeau says the band is getting its number of performances back up to pre-COVID-19 numbers. The group took the opportunity to promote the next performance on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Spruce Mountain Blues Bash, which will also feature The Skyla Burrell band, Memphis Lightning, Juke Joint Devils, Dan Cherette and Johnny and the Swingtones. Advanced tickets will be $40 and $50 the day of the performance.

The Jay Recreation Committee thanked Hillside Sports Club; Spruce Mountain Pharmacy; Otis Federal Credit Union; Thomas C. Goding & Son, Building Contractor; and Amvets Post #33 for their support and sponsorship for 2023.

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