Maine gets a double treat this weekend when the nationally renowned Sean Chambers Band plays two gigs. The first, for those who prefer big-concert sounds, is Saturday night at the Lincoln Homecoming Festival. The second, for those who prefer a more intimate experience, is Sunday night at the 4points BBQ and Blues House in Winterport — which has been making some waves lately, landing the likes of blues notables Chris Duarte and Little Ed and the Blues Imperials.
With the Sean Chambers Band is its drummer, Lincoln native Paul Broderick, who originally joined a small blues band called Guilty, along with his friend from Lincoln, guitarist Jeff Hooke, in 1991. Broderick drummed on a Bulgarian tour, playing crowds as big as 40,000.
“That was my first introduction to the blues, as far as playing it,” Broderick recalled. “I knew right then, ‘This is what I want to do.’”
But his first push was Southern rock, in Florida, at a time when he quickly realized that genre wasn’t strong with new acts. He knew he had to do something else.
“Metallica was breaking ‘The Black Album,’” he said. “Nirvana was huge. The last thing anyone wanted to hear was Southern rock.”
But Broderick knew the blues. And in 1993, after barely a month in Florida, he was in a small club where Sean Chambers was playing. Right then, Broderick knew he wanted to play in Chambers’ band. “There was an edge to his playing,” he recalled. “It’s that aggressive, in-your-face style of guitar. And there’s something in his voice that fits what we do. It just seems right.”
He eventually made it into the band. It’s great for Broderick, who essentially playing for an idol who he fully expects to become a superstar.
“Sean is special, and I hope that his day is coming,” Broderick said. “He definitely deserves it. I’m flattered to be in his band.”
If you’re not a blues fan, once you listen to “Ten Til Midnight,” “Strong Temptation,” and “Full Moon on Main Street,” you probably will be. And if you are a blues fan, you’ll likely want more of Chambers’ original flavor. Chambers, who “Guitarist” magazine recently named one of the top 50 blues guitarists of the last century — at #47, between legendary blind guitarist Jeff Healy and country-blues sensation Bonnie Raitt — loved visiting Lincoln last year.
“Paul told us it would be a great time and everybody would welcome us with open arms,” he said. “We had a really good show and had a really good tour.”
Last year, the SCB ended its tour in Lincoln; this year, it begins it there, with Winterport the next day. And Chambers is eager to return.
“This is probably going to be one of the highlights of our tour,” he said.
It’s quite a pair of shows — the first with a large crowd on an outdoor stage; the second at a more intimate indoor setting.
“Sometimes, those smaller, more intimate shows can be more fun, and the sound can be better,” Chambers said. “Sometimes, in a small club like that, the energy’s real good.”
For Broderick, his adrenaline really gets pumping performing for big crowds. But there’s also something about the smaller, more intimate settings like clubs and bars.
“When you’re on a [big stage], it’s unreal when you just hit your kick drum. It’s just like a thud in your chest. It’s an awesome feeling,” Broderick said. “It can be much more nerve-wracking playing for a small crowd,” Broderick said. “Playing for a big crowd is very easy.”
John Ramirez, owner of 4points BBQ and Blues House in Winterport, is ready for SCB’s appearance. But bringing big names there is nothing new; in its 18 months, 4points has regularly packed the outdoor venue with patrons eager for Southern-style barbecue — smoked beef from Texas and pork from Indiana and Iowa, flown in via W.A. Bean and butchered within 48 hours of being cooked in Winterport. Add classy blues acts rocking the outdoor stage, and visitors are ready for a great time.
“4points is a fun venue because it is so small, and a lot of big name artists enjoy doing small venues like this,” Ramirez said. “Every ticket is a front-row ticket.”
Everyone in the outdoor arena is within 20 feet of the stage. But the venue can hold just 100 people, so if you want that experience, get to www.4pointsbbq.com for tickets, or take your chances at the door. The stage and tables are covered; the tables hold about 70, but other patrons set up lawn chairs right on the patio.
“That’s how we do it back in the South,” Ramirez said.
Whether in Lincoln or in Winterport, folks can expect to hear some of the tunes off the SCB’s latest album, “Live at the Long Island Blues Warehouse,” and its previous studio album, “Ten Til Midnight.” The band will have CDs available. The band consists of Chambers, Broderick, Gary Keith, and Richard Price.
Catch the Sean Chambers Band at the Lincoln Homecoming Festival on Saturday, July 21 from 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., right before the fireworks. Or to get up close and personal, and to sample great barbecue fare, see them at the 4points BBQ and Blues House in Winterport on Sunday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m.
“Were absolutely looking forward to it,” Chambers said. “It’s going to be a really good time.”
To learn more, visit www.SeanChambers.com.