NORWAY — A small musical group from Norway decided to go on the road again, this time heading clear across country for two weeks to play some gigs before returning to Maine to open for the headliner at a local festival next week.
Twenty-five-year-old Jordan Kaulback embarked on his longest journey to date with his sister, Amanda Kaulback, and girlfriend, Evelyn Till, who sing backup vocals, and road manager and friend, Lee Arsenault, on July 30. Their first stop was in Oxford, Ohio, where the group donned Daddy O’s restaurant T-shirts to represent Oxford Hills on Monday. Kaulback had planned to open the concert with the line, “From Oxford, Maine, to Oxford, Ohio.”
Before heading cross country, Kaulback and Arsenault discussed the upcoming trip and Kaulback’s budding music career. For the past four years, he’s been able to make a living by solely playing tunes. Before that, he worked at the Village Tie Up in Harrison and became friends with Arsenault after meeting him after a gig at Tucker’s Pub in Norway a couple of years back.
“Whenever I heard him play, I always complimented him,” Arsenault said. “Jordan is a one-man show. He sings very well, he plays the guitar really well then he adds these recordings.”
“I have people who sing and perform with me. I do … looping and singing and songwriting acoustic music,” Kaulback added. “I do a lot of covers from the Grateful Dead … to Johnny Cash.”
His biggest musical influences are solo acts, Keller Williams and Zach Deputy, who excel in live looping shows.
“They’re really good,” Kaulback said. “Zach is so down to earth, too. I love how he comes out and always talks to everybody.”
This weekend the group will take the stage at the Trinity River Jamboree Festival in Junction City, Calif., nestled in the Redwood Forest. This is the biggest show to date and Kaulback hopes the crowd will really get down with his music.
“When I went to (Gathering of the) Vibes, I was moving back and forth with 20,000 people in the crowd,” he said. “I love it when a big crowd dances.”
The plan was to play a gig in Denver, but it was cancelled because the show was tonight, Thursday, Aug. 6, the day before the California musical festival starts, and 20 hours away to boot. But the trip isn’t pure business. The group decided to make a few stops along the way, including seeing Niagara Falls in New York and Mount Shasta in California.
“Yellowstone Forest is waiting for us,” Arsenault said with a smile.
On top of CDs and T-shirts — with the latter designed by Kaulback’s brother and printed locally — the group brought many items made in Norway, all of which have been stamped, “Made in Norway, Maine.” They also brought a couple hundred white pine cones, which are native to this state, to share with people who purchase merchandise.
“We want to bring as much Maine as we can and represent our home state,” Arsenault said.
The road manager shed a little light onto Kaulback’s musical origins, noting that at age 13, he began singing to wild animals.
“That was the start, I guess. I was singing to a pack of deer and wanted to pursue it for a career. It was wicked neat,” Kaulback said, adding he come from a musically-inclined family.
The group needs to be back in Maine by Saturday, Aug. 15, so they can open up for Max Creek at the Green Love Festival in Starks.
“It will be nice to do a quick trip and come back,” Arsenault said. “(Kaulback’s) got a following that comes from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York.”
Kaulback’s been playing at the festival for the past seven years. Also in Maine, you can hear him jam out Old Mille Tavern in Harrison, Sunday River in Newry, Mainely Brews in Waterville, Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, AJ’s Everything in Stoneham and at venues in Old Orchard Beach and Portland, along with Great North Music and Arts Fest in Norridgewock.
So what’s next for Kaulback?
“I’m working on the full band thing but it’s hard. My brother was supposed to be part of it but he works seven days a week fulltime in the summer,” Kaulback said. “My buddy from high school, I have been trying to get him to play with me since my senior year.”
To listen to his music, visit www.kaulbackmusic.com/.