Guitarist Denny Breau returns to Wayside Theatre Sept. 29
DEXTER — Guitarist Denny Breau performs at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Wayside Theatre. Breau’s rhythmically flawless and dazzlingly clear guitar style allows him to mix folk, Delta blues, country and jazz with ease.
Breau first played at the Wayside Theatre in 2014 and is gladly returning. “It’s such an intimate audience and I love connecting with them in a personal way,” he said. Breau also loves the freedom to go wherever the joy and spirit of the moment lead him, “I get to be me.”
Guitarists in the audience often suspect that they have been left in the dust and regularly tell Breau that they might as well hang up their guitars! As Breau greets concert-goers and shakes hands following his performances, guitar players invariably ask how he performs certain techniques and Breau, who has a passion for teaching, is happy to show them. This is especially true when demonstrating the guitar style of Chet Atkins, who was a family friend and major influence. Shows usually include a “smartly executed Chet Atkins medley by Breau who truly does the late Atkins proud,” according to a review in Dirty Linen magazine.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Breau was born to music. His parents, Hal Lone Pine and Betty Cody, were popular country performers and RCA recording artists beginning in the 1940s. His older brother, the late Lenny Breau, is considered a jazz guitar giant. A recent Dirty Linen review of Breau’s solo CD of “neighborly song portraits of weathered souls” said that “listening to Denny nimbly bend his acoustic steel strings … one can hear a jazz player’s elegant fluidity.”
Breau started playing guitar when he was 9 and was performing professionally by his early teens. During more than 30 years as a full-time musician, he has performed with many well-known artists and picked alongside outstanding guitarists including Bryan Sutton, Harvey Reid, J.P. Cormier, Pat Donohue, Dan Crary and Steve Kaufman. He has long been in demand as a studio musician and has done jingles and soundtracks for radio and television as well as recorded and produced albums for other artists.
Breau was a member of roots music trio Turkey Hollow with Tom Rowe and his son Dave starting in 1998. Since Tom Rowe’s death in early 2004, Breau and Dave Rowe ave continued to perform as Turkey Hollow on a limited basis. Breau was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004, the youngest inductee in the history of the organization.
In addition to an active solo career, Breau gives private guitar lessons and teaches music clinics. He also fronts the Denny Breau Trio. Both in solo and trio performances, musical boundaries disappear as Breau takes his music to wherever the joy and spirit of the moment lead him.
Breau is a triple threat: a consummate picker, evocative songwriter, and a singer with a “voice that is warm and inviting but completely unpretentious — much like the singer himself,” according to Lucky Clark. Mainers have long considered Denny a “must –see,” but they are happy to share a favorite son with those “from away.”
Baked goodies and refreshments sold at intermission and there is a door prize and a 50/50. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., no reservations. The show is sponsored in part by Bangor Savings Bank, Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union and Skowhegan Savings Bank. For more information, please call Joe Kennedy at 277-3733 or Dave Pearson at 924-5035 or on Facebook “Wayside Grange and Theatre.” The little theatre is at 851 North Dexter Road (Route 23).