It’s always nice reconnecting with an artist over the years, and my recent chat with Maine singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Lynn Deeves was especially enlightening because she and I hadn’t spoken for almost eight years. I heard that she was going to be closing out this season of Slates Monday Night Concert Series on Monday and it seemed like a good time to find out what’s been happening with this talented performer.
Deeves: I’ve been having many adventures, some musical and some non.

Q: So, what’s been happening in the musical end of things?
Deeves: I’m still doing a little bit of writing, and I’m performing quite a bit — mostly in the summertime. Sometimes I play solo; other times I play with a guitarist Robbie Coffin. Occasionally there’ll be something where I’ll hire a whole band, but that’s pretty rare. So, usually it’s solo, duo, sometimes trio, and very occasionally full band.

Q: I think the last time we talked you were performing with two other women singer/songwriters?
Deeves: Yeah, Trina Hamlin and Colleen Sexton — that’s the trio that’s coming up for shows this month, including Slates.

Q: Oh, so the Hallowell gig is going to be the three of you. I thought it was going to be a solo show when I first heard about it.
Deeves: No, it’s the trio, and we’re doing the Frontier Theater in Brunswick on the 21st, St. Lawrence Center for the Arts in Portland on the 22nd and then Slates on Monday the 24th.

Q: Now, do I remember correctly that you three have performed there in Hallowell before?
Deeves: We have; it’s one of our pretty regular stops.

Q: When did the trio get together?
Deeves: I think it was pushing 20 years ago when we met, and they came back to Maine every year for like 10 or 12 years. Then Trina moved to Chicago, so we didn’t even see each other for five years. Then, when she moved back to New York, she sent me a text one day saying, “I’m back!” That was only like a couple of years ago, and it was at a time where I personally, and in thinking about the world on a greater level, needed something like community, positivity, unifying kind of things to happen. So, the three of us were like, “Oh yeah, we’re doing it!”

Q: Have you ladies ever released an album together or even a live CD of one of your shows?
Deeves: You know, we have recordings from the Slates’ shows because the sound man just records the shows, but we’ve never mixed them down or sold them or anything.

Q: It might be interesting to do that sometime — it would be awfully interesting to hear, that’s for darn sure.
Deeves: (Chuckle) Yeah, it’s quite a joyful noise, as we like to call it. And it’s totally like a mutual admiration society. Sometimes when we’re playing together, I look over and go, “I can’t believe I’m onstage with these guys; they’re so amazing!” And we all just kind of feel that way about each other. People that come to the show tell us that we’re having such fun that it’s palpable, and that makes it more intimate and fun for the audience.

Q: Am I right in recalling that your shows are like songwriters in the round, where you each chose a song and the other two contribute musical and vocal back-up?
Deeves: Yeah, that’s the way it goes. We might do a round of songs based on a theme, or we might do a round of covers. So, from playing together over the course of years, on and off, and once a year, we’ve come to know a lot of each other’s material. So yeah, there’s a lot of really soulful, three-part harmonies — like gospel choir kind of stuff — that’s effortless. We just do it. And then the other thing is that Trina plays a bunch of instruments, and I play a bunch of instruments. I can’t usually play them all when I play solo so it’s a treat for me to get to stretch out and play a bunch of different instruments when I’m playing in this format. And the same for Trina; she’ll chime in on keyboards or percussion or guitar.

Q: Does this trio have a name?
DEEVES: You know, we just go by our three names. We never really named it. Sometimes we just say, “Join us in making a joyful noise with Trina Hamlin, Lynn Deeves and Colleen Sexton.” When we first met, we all were involved in an independent songwriter’s forum — no record labels were involved, so it was like a network kind of forum. So, for a bunch of years, I’d just invite two or three people that were in this organization — it was called “Indie Grrl” — up to Maine to play with them. I did that for four or five years. Then I invited these guys, and once we played together that was like, “I don’t ever need to invite anybody else!” The chemistry was just a good fit. So, the segue there was initially, when we first started playing, it was like an “Indie Grrl Showcase.”

Q: Is there anything, Lynn, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Deeves: Just three-part harmonies and laughter — if people are wanting some of that feeling of connectedness and community — that’s what will be happening at that Slates’ show … it’ll be like our family reunion — our annual family reunion.

 

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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