A couple of popular performers in the Central Maine area have teamed up once more to produce some pleasing vocal harmonies as Katie Daggett and Ed DesJardins are set to appear in Hallowell this coming Monday night, March 18, at Slates Restaurant. Having recently chatted with Daggett concerning the Last Waltz shows, and seeing I hadn’t interviewed DesJardins for a few years, I decided to see if a conversation could be carried out.

On March 5, I reached the talented singer/songwriter/pianist/guitarist on his cell phone — but where was he?

DesJardins: I’m down on the Kennebec River in my car writing a song. The sun’s coming through the window; it’s nice and warm. It’s all pretty out here, and there’s a couple of eagles soaring around. I got the morning off, so I’m thinking it’s not so bad.

Q: I’m done with winter myself, but on to the reason for this call: You’re coming to Slates with Katie Daggett. How long has this musical partnership been going on?
DesJardins: Katie and I started playing not too long after I moved up here in 2004. We kind of plugged along at it — it hadn’t solidified or anything, but we could hear a sound in the voices and knew that it would be something that would sound really good if we worked at it. So, we did and it didn’t take long. And gosh, we played for about six years and did lots of gigs — those last few years we were doing 60-plus shows together.

Q: What happened then?
DesJardins: In 2010, I made an artistic decision to go and explore and try a bunch of other things. I played with a ton of other people and had some nice times and wrote a lot of songs, released another record. And then just last year, we kind of ran into each other and decided that we should revisit that. We did, and it was like putting on your favorite old leather jacket. We were like, “Why did we ever stop — we sound so good.” So, we’ve been having a ball revisiting the old stuff, and she’s been catching up on all of my material that I’ve been writing over the years and adding her part to it … and we have a plan in the works.

Q: Oh, and that is?
DesJardins: We’re planning to do a very simple acoustic record together. Literally, the two of us sitting down — or standing, whatever — playing and singing with acoustic guitars; that’s it. No overdubs, no third harmonies added or any other parts, just what you heard at the gig is what’s on the recording. I’ve never had that. I’ve always done pretty full-blown productions, and she has, too. So, we started writing songs toward that sound, and we’ve got some real nice ones coming. We’ll be playing those at Slates on the 18th.

Q: Any idea when you might release this new album that’s in the works?
DesJardins: I don’t know; I’ve got to write some more. I’ve come up with half a dozen so far, and we need another four or so. I preferably want all new stuff. Then there’s the recording process, and the nice thing about doing that was that it’s so simple. I mean, if you’re having a good afternoon, realistically you could record the whole thing in one day or two days.

Q: Have you ever thought about doing it live?
DesJardins: I have but not in a concert setting so much as there are certain rooms you play in that inspire you to sing better because of the sound of the rooms. It would be a modest set-up: we’d only need a couple of mics, an interface and a laptop … That would be really fun, and we’ve got time. There’s no big pressure; it’s just a plan that we have, and it’s something that we’ve wanted to do back when we were playing together back in the day. It didn’t look like it was going to happen, but it does now.

Q: Did you ever do anything with Katie that was recorded?
DesJardins: Not as a duo. I mean, she sang on a couple of songs on my first album, and I played and sang a little bit with her on her solo release that she did, but just parts. It wasn’t like we ever recorded anything as a duo, like, “This is our duo, and these are our songs, and here it is.” So it’s time to do that now: come together. She’s down in Portland, and I’m up here near Augusta. But logistically, it’s not super-easy to hang out all the time. We both have lives and other things going on, but we’ve been making the time to sit down and get the stuff going. It’s become a priority.

Q: If there’s magic there, then just run with it for crying out loud.
DesJardins: Absolutely, yeah. It’s hard to find that; it really is. So you do, like you say, run with it.

Q: Now, do you write songs together or do you do individual songs and then add your own stuff to whoever wrote it?
DesJardins: Well, again, speaking to the logistics of being able to just sit and have time to do that, we tend not to write them in the same room together. I’ve just been writing, because a lot of songs have been coming to me. The writer’s block is a lot less than it used to be; I don’t know why, it just is. So, lately I’ll be writing something and record it into the iPhone and send it to her. Then she’ll pick away at it, if she likes the song, on her own. And then, when we get to a gig, we’ll just play it. We did that back in the day. Anyway, it would be great to sit down in a room and write together, but it tends to be a singular process at this point.

Q: Yeah, I guess that’s understandable.
DesJardins: But, having said that, it’s like when you’re writing with a specific sound in mind. If I write songs for this duo, I hear her voice on the other side of it. I can kind of figure out what she might do on guitar and try to write toward that. It’s really pleasing when you do get together and the stuff that you had in your head will be what she does, or she’ll do something even better. It’s great when it completes the puzzle. It’s a fun way to do it.

Q: Is there anything, Ed, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article about the special show coming up at Slates?
DesJardins: Just how delighted and psyched we are to be playing music together again. And we just want all the people that loved it back then to come around to hear the old stuff. And check out what we’re doing moving forward and be a part of that history, too.

 

Ed does not have a website so he suggested folks should go to Katie’s at katiedaggett.com.

 

Lucky Clark has spent 50 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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