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rock my soul

Big Easy Roots & Gospel Fest in Eliot

The Regatta Room
28 Levesque Drive
Eliot, ME 03903
United States

ProjectMusicWorks, a Seacoast-based arts and cultural nonprofit dedicated to uplifting those in need through music, will celebrate its 18th anniversary at its annual Big Easy Roots & Gospel Fest on Sunday, May 1, 2022. A reception with free hors d’oeuvre and cash bar will begin at 3 pm, followed at 4 pm by a concert featuring The Soggy Po’ Boys and Rock My Soul. A silent auction and raffles will run throughout the afternoon, and CDs and merchandise will be available for sale.

The event will take place at the beautiful Regatta Room at 28 Levesque Drive (the Eliot Commons) in Eliot, Maine. Proceeds will benefit ProjectMusicWorks and its mission of performing free outreach concerts at hospice centers, homeless shelters, nursing homes, rehab programs, correctional facilities, and other facilities that support those in need.

Due to the performers’ popularity and limited number of tickets, advance purchase is strongly recommended. Advance discount tickets for the event are $25 each for a table of 10, $30 for general admission, and $35 for VIP reserved seats. Tickets may be purchased online directly from Brown Paper Tickets at https:/bigeasy.bpt.me. Tickets purchased at the door on the day of the event will be $35.  For more information, visit www.projectmusicworks.org or call 207-450-8016.

The Soggy Po’ Boys, a seven-piece, New Orleans-flavored band led by seacoast musicians Stu Dias on guitar/vocals and Mike Effenberger on piano, have made a name for themselves as one of the hottest and most talented acts in the region. As their web site states, “Part of the beauty of New Orleans music is that it’s celebrated and appreciated wherever it goes, from the street to the theater. The Po’ Boys are doing their part to spread the greatest music on earth around their home in New England and when touring, throughout the rest of the country. The Soggy Po’ Boys serve their jazz messy, mixing brass-fueled mayhem with spirituals, Meters-style old-school funk, and the Caribbean side of the New Orleans tradition.”

The group specializes in standards, spirituals, and swing tunes along the lines of traditional Dixieland and “Second Line” sound. In addition to Dias and Effenberger, The Soggy Po’ Boys is made up of Eric Klaxton and Nick Mainella on saxophone, Zach Lange on trumpet, Brett Gallo on drums, and Scott Kiefner on bass.

Rock My Soul, a secular, 20-member, roots-based choir and band well known for its “raise the rafters” style, has garnered an ever-growing following and performed for packed houses throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. The group has received critical acclaim and has been featured on WMUR-TV’s NH Chronicle, WSCH TV’s 207, and MBPN. One of its songs was featured in a PBS documentary entitled Freedom Songs: Music of the Civil Rights Movement. The group will debut brand-new songs of the season as well as a couple of well-known surprises. “Roots music has such a deep and lasting influence on us all,” says Dawn Boyer, Artistic Director. “For instance, many of us sing songs like ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ and have no idea it was written and sung about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. And how many of us know that rock ‘n roll was actually started by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a gospel singer who crossed over onto the Top 40 charts? She was a highly skilled guitarist as well, and Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley were all influenced by her. There’s a lot of rich history in American roots music, and all rock ‘n roll, blues, hip hop, jazz, and other popular music is based on gospel. We like to show that close connection.”

Since April 2004, ProjectMusicWorks has provided professional, live music to those in need, as well as brought roots and gospel music to the public at large. “We continue to be touched and awed by how deeply music reaches people and transforms lives,” says Liz Mayer, incoming board president. “It’s been an enriching and profound experience to help others through music, and although many nonprofits struggle and die in today’s climate, ProjectMusicWorks has succeeded because we’ve always stayed clear on our mission while growing and evolving. Although we are a small organization, we’ve managed to attract many talented and dedicated volunteers and professionals. It is humbling and worthwhile work, and we are grateful to our supporters, who keep us going.”

ProjectMusicWorks is dedicated to raising awareness of and educating audiences about American roots music and its positive impact on our history and culture. Through performance, outreach, and education, ProjectMusicWorks seeks to lift hearts, open minds, and bring people closer together to understand the meaning of peace, equality, respect, unity, and justice.