‘Westbrook Idol’ finalists make new music

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WESTBROOK – Two contestants in last year’s ‘Westbrook Idol’ competition may not have taken home the grand prize, but they may have found something better in a new musical partnership.

Ever since they appeared in the local talent competition, Ingrid Ayer-Richardson, a Westbrook resident who works at Unum in Portland, has brought Patrick Colgan, a carpenter who works in the city, into her band. Richardson and Colgan were two of eight finalists in the competition, which was modeled after the popular “American Idol” television show.

Richardson, who minored in music at Keene State College, also sings with co-musician Susan Matthews in a duo called Pretty Girls Sing Soprano. She said this week that while she was rehearsing for the competition’s first round last fall, she heard Colgan playing.

“I heard him and thought he was doing great stuff,” she said.

At the time, Richardson said, she and Matthews had lined up a gig playing a three-hour set at The Dogfish Café in April of this year, but they only had enough songs to play for two hours. Richardson asked Colgan if he wanted to join in for the gig, and a partnership was born.

Since that appearance, the group has done about eight gigs, and they are still going strong. They plan to play together this week at the Biddeford Farmers Market, and will play next week at a “Westbrook Idol” reunion concert in Riverbank Park, with another free concert lined up in the park a week after that. This fall, Richardson said, the group will be playing more gigs in Portland.

Richardson, during one of the final rounds of the competition, wowed the crowd with her rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

“I don’t think there’s anything you couldn’t sing,” judge Maria Dorn said of Richardson’s performance.

Colgan played an acoustic version of Prince’s “Purple Rain,” which earned praise from Eva Matteson, host of the Coast 93.1 Early Show, who also served as a judge in the competition.

“I don’t think we’ve ever heard ‘Purple Rain’ done that way before,” Matteson said.

At first glance, Colgan and Richardson’s styles might not appear compatible. Colgan enjoys “busting a move” at wedding receptions, but says he listens to music more than he sings it. His influences range from Jimi Hendrix to Gene Autry to Dr. Octagon.

Richardson, meanwhile, describes her band’s music as a mixture of folk and bluegrass, “with a splash of rock,” but just as people singing in different keys can harmonize, Richardson said, the band somehow makes it work. Colgan’s addition, she said, brings an unexpected twist to what the band offers.

“That’s what’s fun about it I think,” she said.

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