From rock to Americana, open-mics spark following

Vicki Lutz had never performed in public, but she’s been playing guitar since she was 12. At 56, she decided to go for it. In the summer of 2012, she played at an open mic night.

“That dive on Route 1 with the Ferris wheel, Linwood’s — that’s where I made my debut,” the Gouldsboro resident said. “I would mess up every time, but that’s the beauty of an open mic. They’re not expecting you to be perfect”

Born in Richmond, Va., Lutz lived most of her life in Charlotte, N.C., and moved to Gouldsboro in 2009. She doesn’t work anymore, but music has become almost a new career for her — except she doesn’t get paid.

Within a year of her first foray on stage, she was playing at the monthly open mic in Cherryfield. In 2014, she sang during the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, and the next year she started performing at Schoodic Arts for All’s monthly session. Since last year, she has hosted an open mic at Steuben’s Henry D. Moore Library.

Like others in and around Hancock County, Lutz does a kind of open-mic circuit where rock, blues, folk and Americana can be heard during the week from Chummies in Ellsworth and the Franklin Veterans Club to Southwest Harbor’s Sips restaurant to the Cherryfield Academy Community Center.

For many, the culture of these open sessions underscores a musical talent in these parts of Maine. At Chummies, performers credit the bar for launching the career of some of area’s best musicians. Gabe Wood, who bought the bar four years ago, got his start playing gigs there.

“I think there’s a lot of people who sit at home and play,” he said. “We can give them a chance to come out once a week, speak to some like-minded people, cure the cabin fever, I guess … it’s about keeping the music alive.”

David Webster

Name: David Webster Joy

Hometown: Winter Harbor

Style of music: Blues-rock. Covers The Doors, The Allman Brothers. Also plays his own music.





Vicki Lutz

Name: Vicki Lutz

Hometown: Gouldsboro

Style of music: Prefers to call it “an eclectic blend.” Some Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt and Shawn Colvin. Channeled Janis Joplin once.




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Jack Dodson
Jack Dodson began working for The Ellsworth American in mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.

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