Searsmont Street Band reunion highly-anticipated for Summer Nights

Aug 08, 2019
From left are: Joe Allard, Stranger, Willy Kelly, Phil Divinsky, Bob Evans and Ando Anderson.

BELFAST — Forty years ago five young local musicians managed to get themselves hired to play at a street dance in Searsmont, Dave Lewis, Phil Divinsky, Jeff Densmore, Joe Allard and Ando Anderson had so much fun they decided to throw in together and the Searsmont Street Band was born. They worked hard (somewhat) and soon were playing in clubs from Portland to Bangor, and Islesboro to Sugarloaf. Their country rock blend featured the distinctive singing of Phil Divinsky, sweet lead and harmony vocals by all, and the alluring sound of Dave Lewis’s pedal steel.Though they played regular country gigs at the Ten Four Diner in Liberty they gravitated more toward rock and roll.

After a few years Dave Lewis and drummer Jeff Densmore left the group for greener pastures and were replaced by Willy Kelly on harmonica and guitar, and Bob Evans on drums. The new line up still featured great harmonies but Willy added a songwriting component and great chops as a lead singer and instrumentalist. Overall the band was geared more for a harder edged sound. Within a year they appeared on the Benjamin’s After Dark Album and enjoyed a steady stream of local gigs.

Rock and roll is great, but pretty soon life starts to call. A harmonious family scene trumps the coolest four-part vocalizing when the washer is dying. Not long after the album project the band disbanded a little at a time.

Over the years remnants of the Searsmont Street Band still appeared in different combinations and, in fact, all of the players still perform. At Belfast Summer Nights on Thursday, Aug. 15, the entire crew is playing for their 40th reunion gig from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Steamboat Landing Park.

The concert is free, but donations will be gladly accepted in the hat. Bring a chair or a blanket, a picnic and a friend. No dogs in the concert area please. Concerts are weather dependent, check Belfast Summer Nights Facebook page for updates. For more information, call 322-7123.

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