Raise your hand if, like me, you’ve spent the majority of evenings thus far in 2011 getting cozy on the couch under a blanket, watching TV, using all of your resolve to get up and get another glass of fizzy water. Possibly making a dent in the 3-pound bag of peppermint bark your aunt gave you for Christmas. Possibly replacing the fizzy water with wine, if it has been one of those days. Staring outside the window at the cold and the wind and the snow, with no desire whatsoever to leave the warmth of the living room.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s winter. Nobody wants to do anything once the sun goes down and the temperature drops into the teens or lower. Unless you ski, snowboard or participate in some other wintery outdoor activity, in which case this column is apparently not for you.
But don’t let your partial hibernation be an excuse to opt for the same old same old over some of the great music events happening in Maine in the next two months. In fact, braving the elements to enjoy some live music might be just the thing to melt the frozen tundra that is your social life. At least it’ll teach you that there’s more to life than spending an entire evening Netflixing “30 Rock” and “Mythbusters.” Yes, that was what I did last weekend. Don’t judge.
State Theatre, Portland (statetheatreportland.com)
Friday night, fans of heartfelt, smart, laid-back, country-influenced songwriting are in for a true treat, as a mighty double bill featuring Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt takes the stage at the State on Jan. 14. Later on in January, acclaimed vocalist and DJ Robyn, whose album “Body Talk” was one of the best of 2010, will perform with Diamond Rings on Jan. 29. Feb. 9 brings alternative bands Hinder and Saving Abel, and some amped-up rock ’n’ roll is on the bill for Feb. 20, with Buckcherry, All That Remains and Hellyeah set to perform.
The always-enjoyable Celtic rockers Flogging Molly will perform on Feb. 26. That’s followed by superstar DJ Girl Talk on Feb. 28, whose most recent album, “All Day,” was downloaded so many times when it was released back in November it crashed Twitter. Indie rock hero Bright Eyes brings in early spring at the State Theatre, with a concert on March 11.
Port City Music Hall, Portland (portcitymusichall.com)
Apparently Marcy Playground still exists (“Sex and Candy,” anyone?) and they are playing at Port City Music Hall on Jan. 21. A week later on Jan. 28, it’s the great white guitarist himself, Johnny Winter. Jan. 31 brings the mesmerizing alt-country chanteuse Neko Case, with the band Freakwater. Indie hip-hop favorite Lyrics Born will take the stage on Feb. 3.
A few weeks into February, fans of funk, soul and jam bands will delight in hearing that Robert Randolph and the Family Band will play on Feb. 19. Acoustic jam band legends Max Creek are set for Feb. 26, and then it’s a few more weeks until Irish rockers the Saw Doctors take the stage, on March 15.
One Longfellow Square, Portland (onelongfellowsquare.com)
This haven for folk music and singer-songwriters hosts a very special evening on Jan. 27, when Mount Desert Island native Audrey Ryan plays an acoustic set with New England jam favorites The Brew and Boston singer-songwriter Will Dailey. On March 3, living bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys will perform.
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland (theciviccenter.com)
Not a lot of music at the ol’ Civic Center, except on Jan. 29, when we all relive the year 2000 and welcome Korn, Disturbed and Sevendust into town.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield (stonemountainartscenter.com)
If you haven’t yet made it out to this beautiful venue nestled in the western Maine foothills of the White Mountains, you’re in for a treat. In the coming weeks, enjoy Canadian folk-rockers Great Big Sea on Feb. 17, followed by surf rock kings Los Straitjackets on Feb. 18. A double bill of clever, thought-provoking singer-songwriters is set for March 8 when both Loudon Wainwright III and Shawn Colvin perform, and on March 19 and 20 critically acclaimed progressive bluegrass group the Carolina Chocolate Drops will play.
Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley (sugarloaf.com)
Besides the regular array of Maine and New England bands that play various spaces at the ski resort, two of the bigger names set to take the stage at Sugarloaf include longtime country rockers Pure Prairie League on Jan. 15, and jam band favorites Rusted Root will play on Feb. 5.