The ultimate pair of road-wise troubadours, The Contenders, will arrive in Boothbay Harbor this fall. On Saturday, Sept. 29, Jay Nash and Josh Day will bring their infectious rhythms and sublime two-part harmonies to the historic stage at the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor.
Nash and Day have been criss-crossing the U.S. and the globe together for nearly a decade, sleeping on couches and floors in between posh hotels. They enjoy getting out on the road and hearing people’s stories. “If we all come together, we can see the light,” is a line off their most current album, but these guys have done it. Nash and Day relish people coming together to sit, eat, drink, talk, laugh, brag, embellish, confess, ramble, share, and reveal themselves, and are looking forward to their first visit to the opera house stage.
The Contenders’ shows breathe with musicality and grit in the tradition of the duo’s heroes: The Band, Tom Petty, The Dead, Dylan. Thrumming and heady, with a steady heartbeat and a hint of honky-tonk, they speak of wanderers and highways, lovers and losers, good times and missed chances, swimming pools and movie stars, all with a ferocity born of hard work and honed skill. Nash and Day have been players and poets for the better part of two decades and they have been making music, telling tales, drinking whiskey,and having fun touring together since 2012.
Nash’s music is like the river that raised him — strong and deep, with a little bit of lullaby and a big current. Twenty years ago, he played loud in bars along the St. Lawrence River, in the reaches of New York so far-flung they’re almost Canadian. For the last decade, he’s journeyed the U.S. and Europe solo, selling over 60,000 records without ever putting ink on a conventional record deal. Now in the Green Mountains, the quiet cold of winter rarefies wit and musicianship into the kind of Americana that knows where it comes from.
Hailing from the sweet, sticky hill country of North Carolina, Day brings a percussive virtuosity that shapes the music and supports the vocals. With shining creativity and fine-boned craftsmanship, Day has that special something that resonates with audiences and always feels like a party. Be it playing bluegrass with the Kruger Brothers, touring with Sara Bareilles, or drumming for Jennifer Nettles, Day keeps it busy and honest, just what one would expect from a man who plays with so much heart.
Advance purchase tickets are available directly from the box office and are $20. Regular tickets are $25 and available at the door and online at boothbayoperahouse.com. The opera house box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 86 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. Doors open at 7 p.m.; the music begins at 7:30 p.m.