an artistically blurred photo of Kittery artist Guy Capacelatro III standing in a brownish room
A blurred photo of Kittery artist Guy Capacelatro III. (Photo by Chris Coté)
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“I do a lot of writing,” Guy Capecelatro III says. “I’m kind of a freak.” 

I have caught him a little winded, in the middle of taking the trash out at his Kittery home, where he has been writing and recording music for a very long time now, as the head of the Burst + Bloom label with Dylan Metrano and his own Two Ton Santa label and for whomever will listen. 

“I’m not a person who does any sort of marketing or business,” he tells me straight off. “I just really love recording and collaborating.”

Kittery artist Guy Capacelatro III sits outside on a rock near a rushing stream, looking at the camera
Kittery artist Guy Capecelatro III has released upwards of 50 albums of solo material or work with a band. (Photo by Chris Coté)

He is apologizing, really, for having posted “All These Broken Bones,” an album of 10 of his songs being sung by various talented singers, some three years after he made it. It was created as part of the RPM Challenge he, himself, founded in Portsmouth in 2006, where people are encouraged to record an entire album in the month of February and upload it for everyone to listen (and perhaps win an award). He thinks this one is from 2019. That was the year the pandemic started, right? 

It’s probably from 2020. But there’s another album on Bandcamp called “Racing Through Nature” that’s 35 minutes of field recordings of his mother that says it was created for RPM 2020, too. And then there’s this other one called “Coupling” that says the same thing and features Guy and his friends doing songs about couples. It doesn’t matter, really. “I was just realizing that I had all these albums I hadn’t done anything with that will eventually turn to dust or get lost,” he reasons, “so figured I would release some of those.” 

Already, you can put your ears on at least 50 full-length releases that are mostly Guy, without trying too hard.

Like anyone who releases this much music — Travis Cyr is doing something very similar, at Maine’s other pole up in New Sweden — there are strengths and weaknesses, larks and serious attempts. But “Take Me With You,” from this brand-new (to us, anyway) “Broken Bones” release hits like a ton of bricks. It is genuinely troubling that there was a chance this never would have made it into the public sphere. 

The vocalist is MorganEve Swain, who was one half of Brown Bird with her late-husband David Lamb and now explores the grief of his 2014 passing from leukemia with the Huntress and Holder of Hands. And she is singing Capecelatro’s words that speak to the passing of his wife Pam, lost to cancer in 2016. There isn’t a measurement system for capturing the depth of feeling the song delivers. 

Swain is doubled and trebled, intimate and right next to your ear with a timbre that speaks to something primal and aching. The acoustic guitar strum, taken directly from the demo Capecelatro used to suggest the song, offers beats of silence. “I was swimming in the ocean in the dark last week,” Swain sings, like she can’t quite believe it, “You know some nights I can’t really sleep/ Thought I heard a sound somewhere far away/ Was that you saying, ‘Hey’?”

And there is the briefest of pauses after that question where your heart just might crumble into dust. Frequent Capecelatro collaborator Chris Decato, who supplies all of alt-country-inflected instrumentation for the record, fills this particular void with an electric guitar like a live wire flopping slowly back and forth on the ground, then builds in a full drum kit like an old man getting up off the couch. 

Swain apologizes for being the kind to bury ashes out back of the house — “I couldn’t help myself” — and then puts us in the living room as her love flutters away too soon. 

“Love, take me with you.” Maybe you don’t want to know how that feels. 

Not every song here is a Sufjan Stevens tearjerker, but every one of the guests takes the time to sit inside Capecelatro’s emotions, to consider their weight. Justin Carloni’s “Elizabeth Colorado” shows off his fine voice alongside sweet pedal steel and the breath of a drum kit: “I know you hate a cold bed just like me.” Dan Blakeslee’s outsized rock-and-roll personality is a beautiful contrast to Capecelatro’s search for meaning: “I’m dissolving/ I’m a ghost.” 

Emily Hope Price is probably farthest outside the center, as Decato surrounds her with pulsing chords and she breathes a chorus of voices that seem to surround you in the headphones, before a rattling tambourine introduces a full-band ramp-up. 

Capecelatro remembers he was recording another project with Eric Schwann while Emily recorded parts downstairs: “I was totally blown away,” he says. “It didn’t resemble the initial impetus at all. Which I loved. It’s always thrilling to hear people bring their own voice and respect to you, I guess.” 

It also takes an immense generosity of spirit to inspire musicians in this way, so they are comfortable wearing your skin. Just imagine what else is on Capecelatro’s hard drive. 

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at [email protected].

Two Weeks, Five Songs

HX KTTN – “I” | Recorded live on WMPG, this is the full HX KTTN experience, capturing a moment in time for posterity, equal parts organic and digital, going for broke. 

King Kyote – “The Wild” | Kyote has just received a haircut and now records a live version of this track at Portland’s Blackdoor Barber for a newly released video, just his soulful vocals and a hollow-body electric. 

John Hughes Radio – “Outsail the Sea” | On the title track to their third full-length release, JHR have refined their contemporary new wave take, frontman Sean Slaughter easy in his Simon Le Bon saunter. 

Lisa/Liza – “Held Together” | A first track off the upcoming “Breaking and Mending,” the fingerstyle guitar sparkles like the dust in morning sunlight and each vocalization is a journey. 

Phoniks – “Dreams” | Just the first of 19 instrumental tracks from perhaps Portland’s quietest major production talent. Everything this guy puts together is just so smooth. 

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