Fan of the decade-old renaissance of American roots music — kicked off, many attest, by the soundtrack of the Cohen Brothers movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” — will find Saturday, Sept. 10 a full day, thanks to the second annual Harvest Hootenanny during the day at the Camden Snow Bowl; and the Maine Grassroots Media Conference’s evening concert at Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts.

One group will be playing both events — Roosevelt Dime, a five-piece from Brooklyn, N.Y., that blends elements of acoustic jug-band blues, classic Motown soul and modern alt-country to create an original sound described as King’s County “steamboat soul.” Band members, including Lincolnville native Eben Pariser, mix banjo, bass, drums/percussion, trumpet/cornet and woodwinds into a seamless mixture of musical genres has already caught the eye of many fans and publications, including The New York Times.

Pariser, the band’s lead singer, landed in Brooklyn shortly after graduating from Oberlin College in 2004. He and bandmates began as an electric blues and country music outfit called Crooked Roots and had some good success, but Pariser was looking ahead to something a little different.

“I’d written some horn parts. The horn guys who joined us for a recording were just coming back to New York and we kept working together,” he said the last day of August.

In 2009, the reconfigured band, now Roosevelt Dime, started playing acoustic, outdoor sets all around New York. It was an exercise that helped them hone both their choice of music and instruments and their performing.

“We had to be interesting enough to catch people’s attention and good enough to hold it. And we had to be able to move quickly, because sometimes it would rain or the cops would come and tell us to go,” Pariser said.

The instruments easy to pick up and go included a really simplified drum kit and a bucket bass, Pariser’s instrument. These lend themselves to a certain genre of country roots songs that began to form part of the band’s cover repertoire, as well as influence its growing list of original tunes. All were subjected to the street-playing test.

“New Yorkers are a tough audience. But we were getting everybody dancing, from grandmas and kids from the ‘hood to bikers and little girls,” he said.

The band’s new CD, “Steamboat Soul,” features all original songs and has an emphasis on electric instruments, but the beauty of how Roosevelt Dime has developed is that the band can play in virtually any setting, from a totally unplugged gig to a fully lit and amplified venue. They play concerts and clubs and weddings and parties and are in such demand that almost all the band members are full-time musicians now. The holdout is Pariser, who is a research technician at a behavioral neurology. It’s a job with very flexible hours, however, and not completely divorced from the musical field as he is studying birdsong.

Pariser said Roosevelt Dime’s two Maine performances will be different sets: the Harvest Hootenanny will get what he called their 60-minute showcase; while the Unity College Centre concert will have more folk music and originals. He hopes his parents — Community School founders Dora Lievow of Camden and Emanuel Pariser of Waterville — will be able to attend because he won’t have time to socialize much this quick trip.

“But we love to come to Maine, and we’ll play anywhere! We have a big van, the SS Rosie, gassed up and ready to go,” he said, adding that it is very easy to contact and book the band via its newsletter at

“If we see we have 100 or so people signed up in a location, we are sure to visit often … so if you want to bring us back regularly, just sign up for our newsletter,” he said.

A new “Live @ The Filter Bubble” pre-release EP can be heard and downloaded on the band’s website, It was professionally recorded in front of a live audience of die-hard fans in the apartment Pariser shares with his brother Eli, author of the critically acclaimed book “The Filter Bubble” and Political Action’s executive director.

Roosevelt Dime will be the day’s final band on the Harvest Hootenanny stage, otherwise known as the Snow Bowl deck, and will share the Unity College Centre boards with O Deer, an alternative folk group that uses a mixture of dusty pump organs, stringed instruments, vocal arrangements and brass. O Deer’s four members co-run the Open Mic at Tender Hearth in Brooksville and finds inspiration from the last minute, any-instrument-will-work, sing-along collaborations that commonly occur at those events.

The all-ages Unity concert is set for 7:30 p.m.; admission is by a donation of $5 to $10. Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts is in the village at 42 Depot St. The concert caps the first day of Maine’s first ever Grassroots Media Conference, hosted by Unity College and WERU-FM Community Radio. The conference will offer roughly 20 workshop sessions, film screenings and performance including presentations by Rob Shetterly, artist of the portrait series Americans Who Tell the Truth; Jay Davis, president of the board for the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting; Shenna Bellows, director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union; Ben Fowlie, founder of the Camden International Film Festival; and members of the Beehive Design Collective, a Machias-based arts group focused on social justice. For more information, visit

Harvest Hootenanny

The second annual Harvest Hootenanny will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Camden Snow Bowl, 20 Barnestown Road. In addition to lots of live music, there will be a barbecue and pie judging; children’s activities including a bounce house, games and balloon sculptures; food vendors; chairlift rides; and the mountain bike trails will be open. Admission is $10, free younger than 12, and proceeds benefit essential programming and activities of Five Town Communities That Care. For more information, visit

The day of hour-long sets will begin with popular children’s entertainer Judy Pancoast at 11 a.m. Evergreen will play at noon, perennial performers at Belfast’s New Year’s by the Bay who have been blazing the American roots music trailer for 20 years. At 1 p.m., the Midcoast’s own Breezemere Bottom Boys will play bluegrass, spurred on by raconteur/band member Rosey Gerry. More local music is in store at 2 p.m., when Three Button Deluxe brings swing to the fore. The jump jive group’s musicians hail from Belfast to South Thomaston. On at 3 p.m. is Maine’s own bluegrass purveyor the Katahdin Valley Boys, who include fiddler Kip Yattaw from St. George. Roosevelt Dime caps the musical lineup from 4 to 5 p.m. before heading to Unity.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to