The Maine music scene is a richly varied tapestry of sounds and styles … one of the most colorful strands in this weave belongs to singer-songwriter Anni Clark. This talented guitarist/singer has entertained audiences around the country for many years now and on Monday, June 25, she’ll return to Slates in Hallowell. To that end a call was made to her home where she talked about her life.

Q: How are things going?

Clark: Things are great down here in Old Orchard Beach. In fact, I’m sitting out here in the sun … it’s wonderful!

Q: Yeah, it’s nice up here, too. On to the matter at hand, if I might — what will you bring to Slates this time around?

Clark: Well, I was trying to figure out how long it’s been since I played there and I’m thinking that the last time I was there was with Robbie Coffin and Scottie Elliott real soon after I had released “Big Water,” so my guess would be that it must have been some time in 2003. So, it’s going to be like nine years, and since that time I’ve released my live CD and Slates had that fire. I haven’t been there as a performer or a patron since they reinvented themselves. I’m looking forward to coming back at almost a decade older and they’re like squeaky-clean and new. I’m really excited about bringing those two back together again.

Q: How about the musical end of things for that show?

Clark: I’ve got a bunch of new tunes under my belt. I haven’t released anything new since the 2005 live CD that I recorded up in your neck of the woods at Deertrees, but I’ve been writing. I mean, I’ve got probably at least a couple of albums worth of material. Since I’ve started teaching school, though, the drive to get into the studio and put a coherent project together has kind of been put on that back burner — but I continue to write and put those new tunes into my play list.

Q: Do those songs get featured placement in your set lists?

Clark: Well, I rarely have a set list when I go to a gig and I’m solo, lucky, which is really fun. I have an idea, because I have my favorites and there are certain songs that I think people kind of expect me to play like “Bill Shepherd’s Van” — I almost always have to play that song. “Pilot Light” is another one. I mean, I love that song and it comes in so handy for myself and other people because daily people have little life struggles and that’s my song about turning on that inner light and remembering that it’s there even though it flickers sometimes. I play that one often. But I’ve written a bunch of new songs that I definitely want to bring up there.

Q: You said you were coming to Hallowell as a solo act this time, right?

Clark: I am … and I can say that I’ve never had a bad experience up at Slates. They have such a beautiful, intimate space there and Brad Truman does a great job with the sound and the people that go there enjoy the space and really respect the artists that they bring in to play. It is just the perfect setup for a wonderful sharing of music. It gives you license to play what you feel, but also to bounce off what the audience is feeling and that’s what I like to do.

Q: It makes for a more spontaneous show — a better concert situation, at least that’s what I think.

Clark: Me, too — my favorite nights are the ones where the audience is as much a part of the show as I am. It’s that reciprocation of thoughts and feelings and ideas, and every once in a while they might even throw in a harmony or something. It’s really great when that happens.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Clark: You might want to let them know that this is the last concert in the Monday Night series at Slates until October, so I’m kind of like the grand finale of the season. If they haven’t been there this season, this show is a good reason to get out there, because the next opportunity won’t happen until October.

Lucky Clark has spent over four decades 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.


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