AUGUSTA — When they take the stage at the inaugural celebration Friday night, brother and sister Zak and Lena Kendall, New Sharon natives who front the indie folk band GoldenOak, will have at least one friendly face in the crowd — Gov. Janet Mills.

“Her late husband, Stan, was actually the coach of my tennis team and I have memories of some of my first performances ever playing at a local restaurant where they used to come out to the show and see me play, just me and my guitar,” said Zak, 23. “We’re so, I don’t know if proud is the word to use, but just honored that she is going to be in charge of our state. The fact that we know her on a personal level, it’s very surreal.”

The inaugural planning committee’s directive when they contacted the band a month ago: Make it a dance party.

They plan to deliver.

The Kendalls started the band in 2014 after growing up in a musical family. Mike Knowles, from the Machias area, on the electric upright bass and Jackson Cromwell, who grew up near Wiscasset, on drums round out GoldenOak.

“Our grandfather plays in a bluegrass band, so he kind of passed the tradition of music to us,” said Zak. “We have an aunt that’s a music teacher, our mom plays and sings.”

In high school, he and Lena, now 26, played in different groups with natural sibling rivalry going on, he said.

“As we grew up and came into respecting each other more and then understanding each other more — understanding ourselves more — we definitely grew together and realized our talents, our passions are so closely aligned that we should be doing this with each other rather than a bunch of other people,” he said.

In 2016, GoldenOak released its first full-length album, “Pleasant St.” They followed it with “Foxgloves,” named EP of the Year by the Portland Music Awards in 2017.

Last year, with Zak out of college and Lena leaving a teaching job, they jumped into becoming musicians full-time.

“This is our day job,” he said. In 2018, “we played about 70 shows and we’re shooting to play close to 120 (this) year.”

They book and manage themselves. Tours have taken them up to Canada and down to Virginia in the band’s Honda Odyssey minivan.

“Music requires an entrepreneurial spirit, in a way,” Zak said. “It is a flash of reality — the day-to-day stuff, paying our liability insurance, we incorporated this year, it’s a lot of learning on your feet. We’re young and we like the challenge.”

Their sound, he said, is indie soul folk with sibling harmonies. “We very much are co-leads of the group, we share the stage front and center.”

Zak now lives in Belfast, the rest of the band in Portland. GoldenOak will be one of 10 acts at the Augusta Civic Center for Mills’ inaugural celebration.

“It’s going to definitely be a new sort of crowd for us,” said Zak. “I think the vibe of the party is excitement. Janet being the first woman governor here in the state is really revolutionary and exciting.”

GoldenOak’s next performance before hitting the road for a nine-show tour down to Washington, D.C. and back is Jan. 11 at the Frontier in Brunswick.

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