The Beat Goes On

Marie, The Band: Folk music with a twist

Duo is informed by tradition, never constrained
September 14, 2022 at 5:05 a.m.
Guitarist Rosie O’Neil and fiddler Colleen Freeman of Marie, The Band bring twists and turns to their original folk songs that make it clear they are doing their own thing. The band will celebrate its first album, “Where I Want To Be," at a Friday, Sept. 16 show at the The Shakedown.
Guitarist Rosie O’Neil and fiddler Colleen Freeman of Marie, The Band bring twists and turns to their original folk songs that make it clear they are doing their own thing. The band will celebrate its first album, “Where I Want To Be," at a Friday, Sept. 16 show at the The Shakedown. (Photo courtesy of Marie, The Band)

By JESSE STANTON
CDN Contributor

The Bellingham-based folk duo Marie, The Band released its first album, “Where I Want To Be,” last month. It’s a seven-song collection that travels through a surprisingly wide range of sounds, considering the limited instrumentation.

The two members of the group are Rosie O’Neil on guitar and Colleen Freeman on fiddle, with both of them trading off lead and harmony vocals. They’ve been playing together on and off since meeting at the Bellingham Folk Festival in 2018, but their first gig came just before the pandemic hit, slowing their progression. 

The instrumentation and melodies might make you think of more traditional folk, but when you pay a little more attention to the offbeat lyrics and surprising arrangements, you quickly realize this is not a group only informed by tradition. The tightness of the harmonies is particularly impressive given all the little twists in the vocal melodies. The lyrics mostly revolve around topics like nature, friendship and food, giving the album a strong feeling of comfort and warmth.

Marie, The Band also switches things up by having O’Neil move to fiddle for the double-fiddle instrumentals “Succeed & Repeat” and “Moth In the Flannel.” Again, the melodies and use of drone strings on these might make you think of traditional Appalachian music, but there are twists and turns that make it clear they are doing their own thing. “Bellingham Honey,” on the other hand, leaves out the instruments entirely for some gorgeous a cappella accompanied by hand claps and snaps.

Although the recording is just the two of them, for some live shows they’ve also been working with upright bass and drums. If you want to hear them for yourself, check out “Where I Want To Be” on Bandcamp, or head down to the Shakedown on Friday, Sept. 16.

Update: Live music is back at Stones Throw on a regular basis. The Fairhaven brewery had several nights of music a week before the pandemic. Now it's relaunching with regular Wednesday night shows, in addition to its occasional block parties. 

Details weren’t available by deadline but there is typically a lot of live music at Bellingham SeaFeast, which is happening this Saturday at Squalicum Harbor. If you were one of those people who learned a bunch of sea shanties during the pandemic, this just might be your chance to show them off. 

Finally, we have a new venue on the horizon. The Foundation Lounge on Cornwall Avenue has big plans to start hosting music, and they have a nice stage already, with an open mic happening every Wednesday. More details on this next week!

Live music calendar  

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Bar Cicotti: 6 p.m., Kevin Woods & Roger Yamashita (jazz)
Big Stick BBQ: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
Boundary Beer Garden: 6 p.m., Gallowglass (Celtic)
Boundary Taproom: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
Firehouse: 6:30 p.m. George Garzone with Jerry Steinhilber Trio (jazz)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
Juxt: 8:30 p.m., Invitational Open Mic
Rockfish: 6 p.m., Norris and Nicely (blues)
Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Sam Eliasen
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., B.o.B., CHVRNS, Lonely Together

Thursday, Sept. 15

Blue Room: 6 p.m., Open Mic/Jam
Boundary: 5 p.m., The Devillies (Irish folk); 8 p.m., The Wandering Seas, North Country Highway
Farmstrong: 6:30 p.m., Chris Eger Band (blues/rock)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Jay Irwin and the GP Sunsets (folk/rock)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Kal Marks, Bennycamps & The Bastards, The Hobby (rock)
Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., TBA

Friday, Sept. 16

Aslan: 8 p.m., Swing Connection
Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
Blue Room: 9 p.m., North Sound Soul, Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers (soul/R&B)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Dead Lee
Boundary: 6 p.m., TBD
Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Duffy Bishop Band (blues)
Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Olson Brothers Band (country)
Fireside: 7 p.m., Two D’vas and a Dude
Guemes Island General Store: 6:30 p.m., Tapwater
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Paige Woods and the High Fives (folk/rock)
Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Careen, Very Serious, Bullets or Balloons (rock)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Smooth Kiwi, Salt Pine, Marie, The Band
Skylark’s: 5 p.m., Raveis Kole (folk)
Vault: 7 p.m., Mary Ellen Lykins & Craig Adams (blues)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Triathalon, guests

Saturday, Sept. 17

Beach at Birch Bay: 4 p.m., Chris Eger Band
Blue Room: 9 p.m., Mount Saturn, Dryland, Myonia (metal)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Marcia Kester
Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Cozmic Sauce (R&B/funk)
Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Christy McWilson Experience (roots rock)
Fireside: 3:30 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
Gateway1890: 7:30 p.m., Odd Mood Jam Band
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Leo Morningstar (singer-songwriter)
Main Street: 8:30 p.m., Groove Doctors (classic rock)
Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Rise Up (Broadway hits)
Paws for A Beer: 5 p.m., Michael Dayvid
Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Stevie and the Blue Flames (blues)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Angelus Apatrida, Nervochaos, Hidden Intent (metal)
Skylark’s: 5 p.m., CraigO’s Planet Groove (psychedelic rock)
Station 49: 4 p.m., Penny Stinkers (classic rock)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Moontricks, Willdabeast, Nagini (electronic)

Sunday, Sept. 18

Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Kulshan Sunnyland: 5 p.m., The Devillies (Irish folk)
Kulshan Trackside: 5 p.m., The Walrus (classic rock)
Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Atlantics (classic rock)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Carrier Wave, Viral Tyrant, Swamp Lantern (metal)
Station 49: 3 p.m., Side Hustle (classic rock)

Monday, Sept. 19

FireHouse: 3:30 p.m., Raveis Kole
Kulshan Sunnyland: 6 p.m., Rob Hutchings (folk/rock)

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
Beach at Birch Bay: 6:30 p.m., Open Mic
Blue Room: 9 p.m., Desperate Electric, Bob Fossil, Bennycamps (rock)
Boundary: 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
Shakedown: 8 p.m., Plastic Picnic, Magenta Wave (indie rock)


Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, runs Wednesdays. Email: jsbhammusic@gmail.com or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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