Kerri Powers Monique Neijtmen photo

Just a little over a month ago, I got an email from John Interlandi, a manager new to me, with the announcement that one of his clients would be performing at One Longfellow Square on Thursday, Aug. 4. Along with that information he also gave me a link to a song from said client’s latest album, “Starseeds,” and an invitation to chat with her, Kerri Powers. All it took was one listen to her cover of my favorite Blind Faith song — “Can’t Find My Way Home” — to convince me that I had to take him up on his offer because Powers’ voice, impressive guitar work, and emotional potency was just very compelling. So he checked with her, got a time that was perfect for the two of us and gave me a number to call.

Q: Your manager alerted me that you were heading to Portland’s One Longfellow Square along with a link to your Blind Faith cover, after hearing that I knew that I had to interview you, hence this call.
Powers: Oh, thank you so much, that’s nice.

Q: Well, I call them as I hear them — I’ve been doing this since 1969.
Powers: Wow! So you get it, you’re into the real pocket of what matter’s musically. I know I’ll sound biased but I was born right about that time and I feel like the whole creative music renaissance is kind of over because that’s where the real stuff was back then.

Q: And I firmly believe that you’re keeping it alive in spirit as well as action. Your guitar work and the bluesy quality to your music, not to mention your voice which brought back memories of Melanie and, at times, Sheryl Crow, make up the whole package that caught and held my attention: hook, line and sinker.
Powers: Aw, thank you so much. It’s always nice to hear that too, Lucky, because, as you probably know, this isn’t an easy industry, and I’m also a visual artist. I guess you could say that I’m more reclusive, I’m not real good with self-promotion and all that jazz, so it’s just nice that you find a good group of folks that really appreciate your art and the way that you put it out there.

Q: Well, the proof is in the listening, to butcher an old saying. Now, I should ask if you’ve ever performed at One Longfellow Square before.
Powers: I was there right before COVID; in fact, it was one of the last dates that we had before it hit. It was in February of 2019 and I loved it there, I opened for Livingston Taylor and it was lovely, I loved the venue, but I don’t know if I’m going to draw very well because that’s not really a market that I’ve frequented, you know, in Maine. But they seem to have a pretty loyal crowd that shows up.

Q: Yes, I believe that is the case, plus, those who went to see Livingston there will certainly remember your performance. Have you had any non-gigging times in our fair state?
Powers: We love Maine, I spent a lot of time, when I was a young girl, on Bailey Island at the Driftwood Inn with my family, so it brings back a lot of nostalgia, which is a good thing.

Advertisement

Q: Now I understand, from your website, that a new album is in the works?
Powers: Yeah, it’s actually in the can, I finished that back about a year-and-a-half ago, and what’s happening now is that I’m working with Robert Plant’s drummer from the Band Of Joy album, Marco Giovino, and he’s back here on the East Coast. Marco and I do a lot of duo work together, I’ll be solo in Portland but he and I work together quite often, so he’s produced this record and I’ve got quite a cast of characters from Nashville, thanks to Marco, that have played on it. Marco did a beautiful job on it.

Q: Is it similar to “Starseeds”?
Powers: Well, I consider it like more of an R&B-sounding, bluesy, kind of soulful vibe, really tamped down. And I’m just excited about the songs, too, because I wrote them during COVID, and so much went on, you know?

Q: Yeah, I do. Now back to your show on the 4th of August, you said you will be solo, right?
Powers: Yeah, I’m going to be solo and I work with two different guitars, and there’s one that I’m real proud of: it’s a 1939 Gibson L-7, it was primarily built for jazz but I souped it up like a hot rod and I play blues on it through a really cool Magnatone amp. So it’s going to be a pretty diverse show; I mean, I bring a couple guitars and I play a stomp box and a tambourine on my foot, so it’s not like I’m just going to sit there and strum, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just kind of like to mix things up a bit. Primarily I consider myself a songwriter so it’s kind of a nice way to put the art out there, you know, getting in front of a new crowd of folks. And I do consider Portland new to me, really; I mean, I’ve only played there once before.

Q: Well, having been there back in 2019 and knowing the venue and its lay-out is a benefit, I guess. My final question to you is my traditional closer: Is there anything, Kerri that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Powers: Thank you so much, first of all, for your time and, yeah, if you just want to mention that we do have a new album coming out in early 2023, that’s the targeted plan, and the title of the album will be “Love Is Why,” produced by Marco Giovino, and I am looking forward to getting back up there, as well. (And if any reader is interested in seeing her visual art work, go to terripowersart.com — as a former art teacher, I found it as colorful, bold and exciting as her music!)

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 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: