On July 17, Gardiner’s Waterfront Park will be the site of a 5:30 p.m. concert featuring the sextet known as Amy & The Engine, which was formed in 2013-14. It is made up of six musicians: Tyler Perry (not the actor) — vocals, guitar; Ben Kling — mandolin, keyboards; Vinny Silva — lead guitar; Manuel Ruiz — drums; Blain Crawford — bass; and is fronted by Amy Allen. Now, if that name seems familiar, it should: Allen, a South Portlander, has three solo EPs under her belt and has garnered two awards from the Portland Phoenix (“Best New Act” and “Best Female Vocalist”) … she is also a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and it was there that she was reached for a telephone interview recently.

Q: I went to your website and really enjoyed hearing your new song “I Got You” … is that the direction you’re heading with your new band?

Allen: Yeah, that was our first attempt of a single — we’re going into the studio in a couple of weeks to record the second and third singles — but that was our first one and we recorded it in my friend’s bedroom. The three of us recorded it.

Q: On the website there are six names listed, but the band photo has four of you in it.

Allen: Yes, we are in the process of updating the pictures because there really is six of us. The new picture is on our Facebook page.

Q: I’ve not heard your solo EPs so I can’t really compare the new single with what you’ve done musically in the past. How would you compare then and now?

Allen: I think that now is a more fully realized version of what I’ve worked for — and what I am always working towards. I’m drawing from influences from The Beatles to classic rock and a lot of indie influences, as well. I came from a bluegrass background when I was playing in Maine so there’s a lot of folk and bluegrass influences. We have a mandolin player, as well.

Q: Your tour schedule is quite full for this month and next?

Allen: Yes, we’re going to be super busy but we’re excited. We have a lot of stuff coming up, but it’s all good stuff.

Q: As far as your performances go with The Engine, do you cover some of your older material from your solo days?

Allen: Yeah, we do a couple of my old material right now. One that is currently in our set is called “Old Cloud” which I wrote a little while back that I used to play solo but now I’m playing with the band, which is nice.

Q: What I liked about the single was that it was fresh, up-beat, catchy and loaded with vocal harmonies: a certain weakness of mine, I must confess.

Allen: Well, thank you. We love harmonizing together — that’s our favorite part of the whole arranging process, after we write a song finding the different harmonies and different ways we can make the song come across. That’s also a favorite part of ours.

Q: Do any of the other four members sing?

Allen: Well, we just started getting together our trio with the drummer, Manuel — he plays percussion in the trio — so he’s going to start singing, as well; but as of right now it’s just Tyler and I doing the vocals.

Q: When you perform, will it be the trio or will it be all six members?

Allen: Most of the gigs that are listed on the website are full band — all of the festivals are full-band, as well — pretty much the trio we do for smaller venues and smaller, more acoustic settings.

Q: Does Amy & The Engine seem to be what you’ve been looking for as far as the sound and style goes?

Allen: Definitely! Yeah, Tyler and I — when we first heard each other’s songs in class in September — kind of instantly gravitated towards each other because I came from a little bit more of a pop background and he came a little bit more from a folk background. We balance each other out really nicely and it was just so natural. The two of us felt like we had always been needing the other counterpart — it was really nice for us. The band has just taken form around us so nicely — it’s a really eclectic group and we have a lot of fun making music together.

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

Allen: I think, at least for the Maine audiences, it’s really important for people to know — if they are familiar with the music I made prior as Amy Allen — is that I basically started this new band with my friends from Berklee. We’re kind of an indie/folk/pop band, I’d say, with a focus mainly on songwriting—we’re just really excited about sharing our music with everyone … it’s still me and I’m still playing everything that I was but I’m evolving and growing as an artist and this is just the realization of what I’ve been working towards forever. It’s new and improved and pushing the boundaries a little bit! (www.amyandtheengine.com)

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 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.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.