Emerging folk artist plays area

June 23, 2007

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Celebrating the release of his latest disc, "The Flame You Follow," Jason Spooner will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs.

Hailing from Portland, Maine, the singer-songwriter/guitarist has amassed a loyal fanbase on the Eastern Seaboard with dogged touring and high-profile engagements.

His lilting brand of folk-pop recalls similiar efforts by Jack Johnson, Neil Young, Paul Simon and J.J. Cale, and his new disc gives many more opportunities for such comparisons.

"Spaceship" and the title track are but two gems on a an album that's a near-perfect distillation of words and voice, melody and arrangement.

In 2005, Spooner was invited to to perform at the Emerging Artist Showcase at the 2005 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, and the following year he traveled the East Coast as part of the Falcoln Ridge "Most Wanted" Tour.

He was also a finalist at the prestigious 2004 John Lennon Songwriting Competition and among "New Folk" honorees at the 2006 Kerrville Folk Festival.

Closer to home, he was 2005's Songwriter Of the Year at New Hampshire's Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival.

He has opened for dozens of nationally known folk acts including Tom Rush, John Gorka, Chris Smither and Lucy Kaplansky.

Among his biggest fans, veteran tunesmith Christine Lavin once said about Spooner: "This is someone important".

Last summer, Spooner and band upstaged the Rowan Brothers when they opened for the latter at Lake George's Shepard Park.

As a bonus, the trio delivered a killer cover of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You," where stand-up bassist Andy Rice and drummer Reed Chambers perfectly captured the deceptively lax Stones backbeat laced with traces of disco.

The two have remained members of Spooner's band.

Rice is a ubiquitous presence on the Portland music scene, backing singers and musicians of all styles, be it folk, rock, blues, classical, jazz, funk or hip-hop.

Chambers' stints in Los Angeles and Nashville prepared him well for Spooner's musical melange.

The trio's knack for cover tunes continues on the new album with a radical reworking of the Talking Head's "Slippery People."

Tickets for Spooner's performance are $10. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Caffe at 583-0022.

"The Flame You Follow" and his debut "Lost Houses" are available through the artist's Web site, www.jasonspooner.com.