Shawn James (Acoustic)

Shawn James’ blend of blues, folk & soul music is full of contrasts–dark and light, anger and joy, earthy and airborne–while remaining gritty and real.

Since releasing his first album in the fall of 2012, his music has reached millions of people. His songs have been featured on CBS, HBO, The Discovery Channel and most recently in Sony Playstation’s trailer for their upcoming blockbuster game “The Last of Us 2”.

Shawn James brings extreme passion to his music. You feel it in the imaginative, highly nuanced songwriting and see it in the powerful live shows where there’s never the slightest hesitation and nothing is held back. And, most importantly, you can hear it resonate in Shawn’s most powerful instrument: the unique, soulful voice that sounds like it is literally being torn out of his heart…and it is something you won’t soon forget.

+ December 2016 – “Through the Valley” – #1 Viral Track on Spotify Global

+ “Through the Valley” – Sony PlaySation trailer for the game The Last of Us Part II

+ Music featured on CBS, HBO, Discovery Channel and Sony.

+ Over 190,000 listeners on Spotify per Month.

+ “American Hearts” Youtube video – Over 3.5 Million views – most all other videos average 80K to 200K views.

All of Shawn’s recordings, solo and with his band can be found on Bandcamp.

Video: Thief and the moon

Video: Pendulum Swing


Video: Through the valley

Video: The Devil is Running Mate

Shawn James website

IMAGE: Painting by Daire Lynch Art


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2018 finds Lou without obligations to his bands and ready to bring acoustic guitars and his extensive back-catalogue on the road for a series of intimate solo performances. Requests will be taken, stories will be told and Lou will be in the best setting to share the emotionally direct, melodic songs he’s known for.

Lou Barlow began writing songs in 1981 inspired by bands like Minor Threat (from of the explosive ‘first wave’ hardcore movement) but also by the AM radio of his childhood. The earnest soft rock of John Denver and the fiery self-dissection of Black Flag made an equal impression on him. The first official results of these pendulum swings were released as contributions to the 1984 Deep Wound 7”( the ultra-fast noise band he founded with J Mascis) and lo-fi, acoustic song fragments submitted to a local college radio show. By 1986 he was home recording his first acoustic LP  “Weed Forestin’” and touring his ear-splitting post-hardcore collaboration with J,  Dinosaur Jr.  He left Dinosaur Jr. in 1989 and his work morphed into the band Sebadoh. This merged his schizophrenic musical urges throughout the 1990’s. As Sebadoh rose to national prominence and helped define the emerging Indie Rock genre, the band streamlined. Ever restless, Lou channeled his acoustic leanings into the side-project Sentridoh and began the Folk Implosion. That collaboration with John Davis would yield several experimental garage/trip-hop infused LP’s and a bona-fide top 40 hit in 1995 with “Natural One”.

In 2005 Lou finally released a proper, under his own name, solo LP: “EMOH”. The LP was an acoustic-based, singer-songwriter , studio-recorded effort that began a run of 4 similar collections culminating with 2016’s “Apocalypse Fetish” EP. Concurrently he rejoined Dinosaur Jr and contributed songs to their successful 4 LP (and counting) reunion era.

Children’s Theater 5-Week Workshop

Join professional actor and educator Courtney Wood for our first children’s theater workshop. We’ll be workshopping a fractured fairytale, Rapunzel. Engine is partnering with City Theater which has graciously offered their Annex space for the workshop. The workshop will culminate in a dress rehearsal and performance.

Ages: 8+

Workshop days: Mondays and Wednesdays, for five weeks from January 22 through February 28 (no class during February vacation)

Time: 5:00-6:30pm

Workshop location: City Theater annex, 205 Main Street

Dress rehearsal will be March 1 at 6:30pm at Engine.

Final production will be on March 2 at 6:30pm at Engine.

Cost: $160 per student (sliding scale policy applies, plus payment plans available)

About the instructor: Actor and theater educator Courtney Wood has extensive teaching experience, having worked with the Missoula Children’s Theater, Community Theater of Greensboro, Berkshire Theater Group, Winfield Children’s House Montessori, and for Falmouth Elementary and Middle School. Visit her site to learn more.

About the Play: Rapunzel

Rene Shwartzbuckle is cuckoo for a turnip-like vegetable called rapunzel. When she spots a mouth-watering patch of the plant in Witch Izwitch’s garden, she sends her husband Walt out to ’borrow’ some. Witch Izwitch is certainly not amused! With her diabolical henchmen, the Glumpwarts, she terrorizes Walt into promising her his firstborn child in exchange for his freedom. We then jump ahead many years to Rapunzel (now you know where the name comes from!) Shwartzbuckle’s 18th birthday. The witch and the Glumpwarts show up as promised and whisk poor, innocent Rapunzel away to a tower in the forest. From here, a boisterously entertaining rescue attempt begins! (The technical aspects of ’hair climbing’ are handled quite simply.) Can Prince Llewellyn persevere over the powers of evil? Filled with plenty of action and fresh, hysterical characters (such as the sages Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme!), this show gives a new twist to an old story and a gentle message about the nature of beauty.

REFUND POLICY: If you cancel before January 15 5pm, we’ll refund 50% of your deposit. After that time, until the session starts, you’ll receive 25% refund. Installment plans can be worked out with Engine staff.

Winter Wonderland 2018

Engine is soliciting work for the Biddeford City Hall Gallery for the 2018 Winter Wonderland show during the upcoming WinterFest February 2-4. Work should reflect the theme of the season.

  • You may submit two works.
  • Drop off framed or ready-to-hang work at the City Manager’s office in City Hall before 4pm on January 30.
  • Opening will be Friday February 2 from 5-7pm.
  • Work must be framed WITH a hanging wire or hook already installed.
  • Frames don’t have to be expensive but sturdy enough to hang from a cable.
  • All ages and levels of ability will be accepted.
  • City Hall reserves the right to refuse any work with inappropriate subject matter.
  • Works cannot be for sale but artist contact information can be provided.
  • Artworks must be labeled on the back with contact information.

Questions? Call Engine 207-370-9130 or email us at


BOUGHT & SOLD: Voices of Human Trafficking

Biddeford–Join Engine and Just a Moment Gallery on Friday, January 12 from 5-7pm for a reception for Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking featuring works by Kay Chernush, a photographer and the founder of ArtWorks for Freedom, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. The exhibition runs from January 12 through February 17, 2018 and will be split between two exhibition spaces, Engine located at 128 Main Street and Just A Moment Gallery at 40 Main Street in the Pepperell Mill Center.

6pm: A short talk will be given by the artist, Kay Chernush, founder of ArtWorks for Freedom, and Louise Merriman, board member of Hope Rising, Maine’s First Residential Treatment Program for survivors of human trafficking, in the Engine gallery space.

ArtWorks for Freedom uses the power of art to raise awareness about modern day slavery and human trafficking. Working locally and globally and engaging art in all its forms, ArtWorks for Freedom is  transforming public perceptions, educating individuals, communities and policy makers, and inspiring action to put an end to modern day slavery.

The idea for the show is credited to a Biddeford resident, Louise Merriman, a volunteer with Hope Rising, Maine’s first residential treatment program & safe house for survivors of human trafficking. While numbers of trafficked individuals in Maine aren’t as high as other parts of the country, Engine Director Tammy Ackerman was dismayed to learn that many of the local victims are at-risk young girls in high school who are befriended by young men. Ackerman started researching artists who might be creating work around this topic and discovered ArtWorks for Freedom in Washington, D.C. A conversation with Kay Chernush ensued and Chernush offered to send her own work to Engine for display in January, which is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, as proclaimed by President Obama in 2010.

“Art has a storytelling power that can capture the complexities of social issues like human trafficking, It has power to change how we see things  and thus allows us to go deeper in our understanding of why modern slavery takes place and how we can stop it,” says Chernush.

Bought & Sold isn’t Engine’s first exhibition dealing with social issues. The Reflect Project by Trent Bell, in 2013, featured photographs of several Maine State Prison inmates with their letters written to their pre-incarcerated selves superimposed on their portraits. Ackerman says, “This space is not meant simply for the viewing of beautiful art but to stimulate conversations around topics, sometimes difficult topics.”

ENGINE, located in the heart of Biddeford, Maine, is a non-profit arts organization. Engine’s mission is to make arts-driven programming, cultural development, and sustainable creative entrepreneurialism an explicit community value and civic priority in Biddeford. ENGINE is the home to the Maine Fablab makerspace in addition to running at contemporary gallery space at 128 Main street.

KAY CHERNUSH is an award-winning photographer with more than 30 years experience in commercial and fine art photography.  Based in the Washington, DC area, her assignments have taken her all over the world for major magazines, Fortune 500 corporations, and both nonprofit and governmental agencies. Her fine art work includes an exploration of prejudice and empathy, “The Us & The They,” and a series of self-portraits entitled “Self-Examination,” a meditation in words and images of her experience with breast cancer.

Chernush earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and was the recipient of a Fulbright grant to India. Prior to becoming a professional photographer, she worked for the New Yorker Magazine, the New York Times Paris bureau, the Peace Corps and the US Agency for International Development.  It was while on an assignment for the Peace Corps in West Africa that she fell in love with photography. Self-taught, she considers her career an on-going process of learning how to see.  

In 2005 an assignment for the U.S. State Department brought her face to face with the evils of human trafficking and modern slavery. Challenged and appalled by this gross human rights atrocity, Kay began working with individual survivors and anti-trafficking organizations in cities around the world. The innovative approach she developed uses collaged and constructed imagery to dignify trafficked persons and reframe how their stories are portrayed.

Her large-scale abstract images of modern slavery have been exhibited in outdoor and indoor installations throughout the Netherlands, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Mumbai, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Madison, Racine, Beloit, Easton, MD and Washington DC. Her work has also been exhibited at the United Nations in New York and Vienna, the World Bank, and at Michigan State University and New York University.

ARTWORKS FOR FREEDOM was founded by Kay Chernush in July 2011 as a non-profit organization that uses the power of art in the fight against modern day slavery. Through diverse forms of artistic expression and in partnership with artists, human rights and civic organizations and the private sector, ArtWorks for Freedom seeks to build awareness, amplify the voices of survivors, and inspire anti-trafficking activism against this worldwide crime against humanity.

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