Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ed Desjardins is no stranger to Slates in Hallowell. He has performed there frequently over the years, even celebrating the release of his debut CD, “Innerspace,” there back in 2010, I believe. On Feb. 8, he’ll come back to that venerable venue for a special show. He and I discussed it in a recent telephone interview from his home in Readfield.

Q: Well, you have got something happening at Slates coming up, do you not?

Desjardins: We do, yeah, on Feb. 8. It’s the Monday Night Concert Series, which I’ve done several times in different incarnations, but this is with Jenny Van West. She’s a really wonderful songwriter from Portland who I met a few years ago. We discovered that we had a mutual affinity for each other’s style. She picked up my first CD, “Innerspace,” and really loved it. It kind of inspired her, and she started working on her own (album), which I produced for her. It’s called “Something Real,” which came out late last year. And we teamed up. We’ll be co-billing at Slates. I’ll be doing newer music that I’ve been writing the last few months, and she’ll be doing stuff off “Something Real,” but she writes like crazy so she’s got a bunch of other stuff outside of the record that we’ll be doing.

Q: I’m not familiar with her, I must confess.

Desjardins: Well, she’s wonderful, and has a Patty Griffin kind of voice. I liken it to Patty Griffin when I hear it. I’m hesitant to use the (term) “country lilt.” It is in there, but I wouldn’t classify her as a country artist by any stretch. It’s been a pleasure to work with her, and I’m really looking forward to doing the show.

Q: Will this possibly lead to the two of you putting out an album together?


Desjardins: I wouldn’t ever rule that out. It’s been a fairly normal thing to throw ideas at each other, especially the last few months. I’ve been writing a lot after a dry spell of a couple of years. I was busy working on everybody else’s stuff and learning their stuff and making records with them. I put all of my own stuff on the back burner, but to answer your question, we have actually co-written one song together and it’s on her record, so, yeah, I think it could definitely happen in the future. It probably will.

Q: When it comes to the show at Slates, will you each do a set? Will you accompany each other? How will that work out that night?

Desjardins: We’re going to accompany each other. It’s something that we’ve been working on, getting harmonies down. She’s been very diligent about learning guitar parts to support what I’m doing, and I did that for her on her whole record. That’s kind of what I do for her and others is just play behind them. It’s definitely a co-bill, but we’re absolutely playing together. It’s a duo performance is what it is, doing each other’s stuff.

Q: And two guitars, right?

Desjardins: Well, she’ll be playing acoustic guitar, and I’m going to be playing electric guitar and piano that night because most of the stuff I’ve been writing for myself has been piano-based.

Q: I had forgotten that the piano was an aspect of yours, as well.


Desjardins: Yeah, it was the first thing I ever played when I was a kid, around six years old. It all started then. The guitar didn’t come along until I was like 15.

Q: So you do most of your composing on piano?

Desjardins: No, not necessarily. Most of “Innerspace” was written on guitar. I think I’m a better piano player, a lot more proficient. I see the instrument a lot more clearly than I do the guitar. I’m more fluid on it, so lately I’ve been writing on that instead. Songs come out different when you’re writing on piano versus guitar. It has a whole other vibe to it.

Q: You said you’re working on some new material. When do you think you’ll release your second album?

Desjardins: I’m shooting at the spring. Hopefully April or May. That would be a realistic goal judging by where I’m at right now. I think I can get it done by then.

Q: Will this be Jenny’s first time up in the central Maine area?


Desjardins: Oh, no, we’ve been playing together for a couple of years now, and I’ve taken her everywhere I’ve had regular gigs. She always goes over great. It’s her first time at Slates though, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s my home base, and she’s looking forward to it as well.

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

Desjardins: Pass on? Well, I mean, other than just getting the word out about the show, I think they owe it to themselves to hear her because she’s really that good, she really is. She’s come so far in a couple of years it’s quite amazing to me. I think it’s worth it to check it out.

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.

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