It’s always a neat thing to introduce new groups to my readership and it’s even better when the bands in question happen to be as talented as this week’s act. Twisted Pine is now touring in support of its current CD — their self-titled Signature Sound album. Twisted Pine is made up of Dan Bui (mandolin/vocals), Kathleen Parks (fiddle/lead vocals), Chris Sartori (bass/vocals) and Rachel Sumner (guitar/lead vocals), who I called to learn about her group’s upcoming show at One Longfellow Square in Portland.

Q: I understand you folks are coming to Maine for a performance.

Sumner: Yeah, we’re so excited.

Q: Is this going to be your first time up here?

Sumner: No, we played at the Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival that happens over there, but this is our first time in Portland.

Q: I’ve been listening to your new album and have really enjoyed your sound, style and incredible musicianship. Is this your first album?

Sumner: Yeah, this is our first full-length album.

Q: When I originally promoted this column, I labeled Twisted Pine as a bluegrass group. But, after really sitting down and diving into that CD I hastily changed the description to “string band,” because I heard bluegrass, true, but also there were traces of jazz, folk, jam and pop. All told, a very colorful blending of genres. There was also a strong influence of Darol Anger present throughout.

Sumner: I’m really glad you enjoyed it. And you definitely nailed it with Darol Anger. Kathleen studied with him a lot at Berklee, and you can hear him all over her playing. And I’m always looking to find his earlier records — he’s definitely influenced all of us.

Q: Where are you guys based?

Sumner: We’re all based out of the Greater Boston area.

Q: Is this album of yours a fair representation of what folks can expect at the One Longfellow Square concert?

Sumner: Definitely. I think it’s the best representation of the variety of styles that we kind of are into. And we’ve got some new material that we’ve been working up that we’ll probably be busting (that) out in Maine. It all connects with what the first album is. It’s a development on that. So, yeah, if people listen to that then they’ll know what we’re about.

Q: And to me, that’s the hallmark of a great band — be willing to take chances, try new things and continue to grow and develop musically.

Sumner: Well, for us that’s necessary to just keep us interested in the project. I mean, we all come from different backgrounds, and we’re all over the place in the music that we like. So, if we were just stagnant and kept to like a formula, then we would get bored with it. And I think that would translate to our live show as well. I think part of the reason why every show is so energetic is because we just have a sheer love of playing with each other and we all kind of surprise each other all the time, keeping each other on our toes, and I think that also translates musically like in genre and writing, as well.

Q: And that’s right — all the stuff that you do are your own compositions, correct?

Sumner: Yeah, we have some covers that we do but we’ve put our own little twists on them —pardon the pun.

Q: Like what? I’m really curious about this cover thing.

Sumner: We do some Beatles’ covers, some Scissor Sisters, and we’ve been working on a Joni (Mitchell) cover. So the songs aren’t safe. None of other people’s songs are safe (laughter). We do our own thing to them and we have fun with it.

Q: What you do, Rachel, is so hard to describe but it’s a joy to listen to.

Sumner: Thank you, I’m so glad you like it. We’re all really, really happy with the album and we all feel really proud of it, like you said, it really does paint an accurate picture of where we are right now.

Q: When did it come out?

Sumner: July 14, 2017, so it’s only a couple of months old.

Q: Yeah, so I suppose it’s too soon to talk about what’s coming out next, right?

Sumner: Well, actually we’re going back into the studio in December in Maine.

Q: Oh, wow! Where in Maine?

Sumner: I’m not sure where, it starts with a “B,” I think, maybe Bangor? But it’s where Lake Street Dive recorded “Bad Self Portraits,” Josh Ritter records up there, Lonely Hearts String Band recorded up there — lots of incredible folks, there’s good mojo up there.

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

Sumner: Just that we’re so excited for our first time in Portland, it’s been a place that we’ve been really longing to play, and we’re excited to meet everybody. Have you ever heard of Front Country? They’re amazing.

Q: I can’t say I have. Why?

Sumner: It’s a co-bill with them, and so we’re really excited to play with them. They’re dear pals and we really love their albums. We’ll all be spreading that love and we’re so excited to see everybody.

Lucky Clark has spent 48 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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