It’s always neat when one of our own makes an musical impact on the national front while helping out here at home in Maine. Such is the case with this week’s artist singer/songwriter Lyle Divinsky, who goes by the nickname “The Sasquatch of Soul”.  He was referred to me by the Bluz Junky who supplied his email address so I could pursue a telephone interview. Divinsky, who was in California at that moment, expressed interest in a chat and gave me his phone number.  When I called a few days later, he was in the middle of another call and asked if I’d be able to get back to him a couple of hours later, which, for a shelter-in-place guy, was no problem at all.

Q: How are you doing, man?
Divinsky: I’m doing alright. Hey, thanks again for being flexible, I apologize for that.

Q: Well, as the old saying goes, “We’re talking now, that’s all that counts!”
Divinsky: Yeah, exactly. You see, a buddy of mine and I started a nonprofit in Maine called Frontline Foods (it’s the Maine chapter) and basically what we’re doing is we’re raising money and putting it into the hands of the restaurants and providing free food from those restaurants for frontline healthcare workers. We had a last minute call with the Chamber of Commerce to try to get things moving.

Q: So, you’re back in Maine now?
Divinsky: No, I’m actually still in California right now but my buddy, Chris, is in Maine. We care a lot about the community back there and so we’re just trying to make sure that they get taken care of and that the restaurants that we know and love stay open, and the people who are the real heroes right now working on the frontlines are getting some meals and getting rewarded for what they’re doing.

Q: What part of Maine do you call home?
Divinsky: Portland.

Q: Now, I’m embarrassed to admit this but I’ve never heard of you before this …
Divinsky: That’s alright, man, it’s alright.

Q: … But I have gone to your website and I’ve gone through you Youtube videos and I’ve got to say, you have one helluva voice, man!
Divinsky: Oh, thanks a lot.  I appreciate that.

Q: Well, the reason I’m calling is about the online streaming that you’ve done and what you have planned for the future along that same line. Can you talk a little about that?
Divinsky: Yeah, sure. So, I’ve been living here in Tahoe for about seven months (I was living in Denver beforehand where Motet, the band that I tour with is based out of). But I moved out here to move in with my girlfriend and it kind of works out, in a certain sense. You see, we’re all really starved not only for human interaction and face-to-face community, but we’re also starved for live music.  We’re starved for the ability to go out and be with one another and experience live art and something we can all share together — to be a part of together. So one thing I’ve been trying to established doing these live streams is not only create an opportunity for some semblance of a live music experience, but also create an interactive, comfortable community through the shows. I joke around and call it the “Fireside Facebook Stream” because we always have a fire going in the background, and the biggest thing to me is to make it interactive. I take requests from people throughout the week and if I fill one of those requests, I’ll write down the name of who it was that requested it and make sure that I mention them during the show, just trying to make it something that we can all be a part of, to make sure that we’re all still taking care of each other, being seen by each other, and feeling a part of something because with this whole social distancing. It’s tough for a lot of people who rely on social interaction. It’s not a full substitute, but it’s something that can get us by, you know what I mean?

Q: I do. Are you familiar with the “Quarantine Karaoke” on Facebook?
Divinsky: Yeah, I’ve checked it out.

Q: Well, that was started by Joe Meyer, a guy from Brewer, Maine, and he has over 450,000 subscribers from all over the world, literally.
Divinsky: How amazing is that? I love that!

Q: I know, right?! Now, one of your videos I watched, on your website, I believe, was “Supernova” from a live concert at Red Rocks. You write your own material, do you not?
Divinsky: Yes, sir, I had a solo career before I joined in the Motet and I still do it every now and again. When I first moved down to New York, I got a job at a coffee shop for three days and on the subway ride back home, I had my guitar with me and I just opened up the case and started playing on the platform. I made double the money I made at the coffee shop those three days. So I went above ground, quit the coffee shop job and spent the next five years playing in the subways.

Q: Just goes to show that busking is the way to go, don’t it!
Divinski: Amen! I mean, it’s a very lucky situation in New York where you can busk and have a different audience every seven minutes. It’s a great opportunity to practice songs several times to get them right without boring your audience.

Q: That’s a darn good point, man. Now is there a specific time slot for your streaming shows that I can alert my readers about so they can watch along?
Divinsky: Yeah, it’s every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern and it’s on my Facebook page.

Q: Will these be just solo performances?
Divinsky: Yes, actually my girlfriend, Jennifer Hollingsworth, joined me on this last one. She’s always had a little bit of stage fright, but she joined me, and we did “Angel from Montgomery” for Mr. Prine and I’ll tell you what, man, she nearly put me out of a job because she stole the show (chuckle), so I might get a couple of features from her! (lyledivinsky.com)

Lucky Clark has spent over 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.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.