It’s so great being able to cover Slates’ shows once again and what better way to restart that coverage than with a chat with Emilia Dahlin, who will be there on Monday night, Nov. 14. Dahlin has performed over 500 shows nationwide and won quite a few national songwriting contests. She currently lives in Portland and it was at her home that she and I got up-to-date on what’s been happening in her life lately. We began by talking about the renewed Monday Night Concert Series at that popular Hallowell eatery.

Q: You’re the second performance at Slates’ new location.

Dahlin: Right, this will be my first time at the new venue.

Q: You’ve played at the old site before, correct?

Dahlin: Yup, years ago.

Q: And that’s probably when I first interviewed you, I think you were touring for “God Machine” at that time. Speaking of CDs, do you have a new release that you’re supporting this time around?

Dahlin: Well, what I’m working on right now is a new album — a live album — and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. This past summer I did a live recording from Deertrees Theatre, which is in Harrison, Maine. I love it there. It was with the quartet and I’m in the process of mixing and mastering it right now.

Q: Did that show feature any new material you hadn’t recorded before?

Dahlin: Yup.

Q: Usually live albums just have songs that appeared on other albums.

Dahlin: Which is probably the smart way of doing it!

Q: Oh and why is that?

Dahlin: Well, I was the most vulnerable, that’s why. But I’m not a huge fan of being in the studio. It’s not a magical place for me and playing Deertrees is. So that was my hope — not only do something new because I’m way past due of having new music recorded, even though I’ve been writing I haven’t been producing new work — but do it in a place where I felt more comfortable.

Q: When you come to Slates will it be as a solo artist or will you have the rest of the quartet?

Dahlin: It’s going to be solo.

Q: Do you prefer that format more than the quartet?

Dahlin: I don’t. Part of this is that I’ve not been able to rope in my bassist, but I do look forward to it. I think it’s important. I think it’s such a different way of performing, so I think it’s going to be great. I think there’s kind of no measure to what happens when you play music with other people, but the thing about a solo performance is that there is more of an exchange between the audience rather than band members.

Q: And you don’t have to worry about a set list or anything like that. You can spontaneously go where your muse and the audience reaction takes you.

Dahlin: Exactly, yup. And I know that Slates has fostered such a great culture of listening and being a nice container for that.

Q: Do you do a lot of shows nowadays?

Dahlin: I haven’t been doing a lot of shows and part of it is really intentional. I became a mother two-and-a-half years ago. I kept up on performing and I took him on tour with me, and then felt like I didn’t want to play until I had new music to play. So part of that has been a really conscious choice around not performing until I had new stuff that I feel good about and that I’m excited about. And I’ve also been really focusing on teaching. I’ve been teaching songwriting in the Portland schools.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to fans about your return to Slates?

Dahlin: I just think that people can expect new stuff that they probably have not heard before. I think I’m going to be pulling out some tunes that nobody’s ever heard before.

Lucky Clark has spent 47 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.