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Folk musician Ed Trickett to perform rare Maine concert in Camden

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Folk musician Ed Trickett to perform rare Maine concert in Camden (photo courtesy of Ed Trickett)

CAMDEN - Fans of traditional and contemporary folk music have a must-see concert on their calendars this week. 

Ed Trickett, a member of Bok, Muir & Trickett, the revered folk trio that includes fellow musicians Gordon Bok and Ann Mayo Muir, has scheduled a rare Maine appearance for Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Camden. The show is set to take place at the Camden Public Library as part of the library’s “Coffehouse Series.”

“Maine is a very special place to me,” Trickett said during a phone interview, conducted as the musician was in South Carolina and winding his way up the East Coast as part of an 11-date tour, the most extensive he has undertaken this millennium.

Trickett began performing with Camden native Gordon Bok and fellow musician and singer Ann Mayo Muir in 1969. The trio toured together for 27 years, releasing eight studio albums, two compilations and one live record between 1975 and 1998.

The trio officially disbanded in 2000, though they remain good friends, still visiting with one another and making music privately when possible.

Trickett said that his audience at the Camden Public Library concert can expect to hear him cover a lot of terrain during the performance.

“There will be sea songs, some southwestern songs and songs from the cowboy poets,” he said. “The concerts that I do are kind of like the ones I used to do with Gordon and Ann. I’ll be playing the hammered dulcimer as well as guitar. I talk about the context of the songs and I sometimes sing parodies.”

During some concerts, Trickett has performed a parody of Gordon Bok’s folk classic “Turning Toward The Morning,” written by Garrison Keillor, host of NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” on which Trickett has made numerous appearances over the years.

The hammered dulcimer is a percussion-stringed instrument played with spoon-shaped mallet hammers. Considered a traditional instrument in many parts of the world, its use in folk music has only come back to prominence in the United States in the late 20th century, thanks in no small part to Trickett.

“Singing with the hammered dulcimer is a little like rubbing your stomach and patting your head while singing,” Trickett said with a laugh.

In contrast to his life as a celebrated folk music artist, Trickett is also a professor of psychology. Currently a visiting professor and Dean’s Scholar in Miami, Florida, he says he is “easing into retirement.”

Trickett and his family were living in Chicago four years ago when Trickett’s wife accepted a position as a professor at the University of Miami.

“Our son was a senior in high school at that time,” Trickett explained. “I stayed in Chicago with him until he graduated and then followed my wife to Miami.”

Trickett says he is excited to return to Maine this week. The state’s rugged beauty - and the characters that inhabit it - have frequently been a source of inspiration in the songs that he sings.

“Maine has some extraordinary qualities, including an unusually high number of talented musicians,” he said. “In the Camden area alone, there are a lot of wonderful folk musicians. Some are homegrown and some moved there from the Washington D.C. area.”

During our conversation, Trickett alluded to the fact that attendees of his Camden concert may be in for a surprise, although final details of that had not been confirmed at the time of my interview with him.

“I have a friend in Colorado who sang ‘I don’t think I’m getting older, I’m getting more so,’” Trickett said. “What people have to look forward to at my concert in Camden is ‘more so.’ More traditional songs, more hammer dulcimer and more traditional-sounding songs written by people who are still alive.”

(Admission for Ed Trickett’s concert at Camden Public Library’s “Picker Room,” on Thursday, November 9 at 7 p.m. will be $10 at the door.) 

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