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Henry Jamison to play One Longfellow Square

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Henry Jamison to play One Longfellow Square (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Burlington, Vermont based singer-songwriter Henry Jamison’s first headlining tour will bring the acclaimed music-maker to Portland’s One Longfellow Square, on Tuesday, May 28, in support of his latest album “Gloria Duplex.”

Jamison’s music has been streamed more than 100 million times, including “Florence Nightingale” - the track Jamison cites as his favorite from his latest record. He recently shared a new live video of the song on his social media pages.

Prior to a Maine performance last year, I interviewed Jamison about his new music and the tour he was about to embark on.

The Maine Edge: “Gloria Duplex” is being called a deconstruction of masculinity. Was that a conscious topic going into this project or did the theme reveal itself to you over time?

Jamison: At first it was subconscious but by the end I realized I had a strong enough theme, so I maybe started writing more consciously about it. I didn’t approach these songs in a highly conceptual way, it was more like “These stories are occurring to me right now.” I approached each one more like they were tiny movies.

The Maine Edge: Your songs reward the listener for paying attention, which can be difficult for some artists in a live setting where concertgoers are prone to talking or spending time on their phones. Have you found that your audiences are mostly attentive at your shows?

Jamison: Yes, but I don’t think it’s anything special about me. I think that has more to do with the bands I’ve been opening for and just playing in small rooms for nice people. At about 97% of the shows, the audience has been completely attentive and responsive. It’s pretty miraculous. It feels like people are really there with me.

The Maine Edge: Do you write when you feel inspired or can you do it (anytime) like a craftsman?

Jamison: I’m trying to become more of a craftsman. Sometimes I’m envious of people who work in particular genres. I have some friends who are much more solidly planted in Americana. It feels like you can learn particular songwriting tricks that help you construct songs like a lattice system. I think I’m a bit outside of that.

The more pressure I put on myself, the less I’m able to do it. I think that’s true in many areas of my life. It needs to happen intuitively. I might hear some wind chimes or a siren or something and that will sort of kick off a melody.

The Maine Edge: How has your life changed over the last year?

Jamison: It’s changed hugely. I’m gone all the time. It seems like I have two modes. In one mode, I’m home and in sort of recovery and then I’m going back out. When that happens, it’s pretty alarming even to me.

I wake up on the day that I’m leaving for tour and I’m snapped into a different mode. I have all the adrenalin and energy I need to just go for a month. It’s a very exciting feeling but also kind of scary in a way. I think of myself as valuing quiet, solitude and peace. As I travel from city to city, the world just feels like an absolutely wild place.

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