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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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Wednesday, 25 November 2020 13:02

New music from veteran artists

There are a few benefits that come with doing a daily morning radio show that almost make up for the lack of sleep and/or anything resembling a social life. For starters, the coffee is pretty good, your mailbox is periodically populated with free CDs and books, and your studio phone can become a conduit to speak with the folks who make the music.

I do a morning show with a classic hits format that airs on BIG 104 FM (104.3/104.7/107.7 FM), and have taken a number of calls in recent weeks from veteran musicians excited to share news of their latest projects.

When your brother-in-law is a Beatle, and your husband is a member of Fleetwood Mac, your life becomes fascinating by association, but for former fashion model Jenny Boyd, she wanted a life of meaning and purpose.

In her fast paced, extraordinarily well written memoir, “Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse,” (Urbane Publications Ltd.) Jenny, the sister of Pattie Boyd (married to George Harrison and later, Eric Clapton) writes of her 1960s awakening, when she discovered meditation and traveled to India with The Beatles to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Twice married to drummer Mick Fleetwood (the two remain close), Boyd says she lost herself in Fleetwood Mac’s bubble and nearly died while on vacation in Hawaii during an episode that altered the course of her life and set her on the path to help others achieve the peace she had found.

Like her sister Pattie, who inspired classic songs including George Harrison’s “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight,” Jenny inspired Donovan to write his song that provided her book with its title. They were not an item, she says, but he was clearly smitten with this “It” girl.

“If we could find one more wire recording of Robert Johnson, it would be fantastic. If you find something that reveals just a little more of these incredible unique artists, that’s the thing you get excited about.” - John McDermott, producer and catalog manager for Experience Hendrix

The full story behind what might be the strangest chapter of Jimi Hendrix’s all-too-brief career is about to come to light when Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix releases the documentary film “Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix in Maui” on November 20, accompanied by the album “Live in Maui,” released on two CDs and three LPs. The doc traces the origins of Hendrix’s involvement in a counterculture movie shot on the Hawaiian island, and the surprise concert he was coaxed into performing there on the side of a volcano as an attempt to rescue the ill-fated film.

In just 48 months, from his September 1966 arrival in London to his untimely September 1970 death in the same city, Jimi Hendrix managed to turn popular music on its head with the game-changing albums “Are You Experienced” (1967), “Axis: Bold as Love” (1967) and the double LP “Electric Ladyland” (1968). Each release marked a step forward in songwriting, musicianship and production, while a 1970 live album of new material, “Band of Gypsys” showcased a move toward searing funk and rhythm and blues and has been cited as a seminal influence by a range of artists including Prince, Slash, George Clinton, Nile Rodgers and Trey Anastasio.

Hendrix’s guitar mastery inspired both envy and fear in his contemporaries, while his reputation as an outrageous and dynamic live performer made him one of the top concert draws of his time. Offstage, the trailblazing musician was said to be a sweet and self-effacing figure with an eternally curious mind, wicked sense of humor and a deep obsession with music.

November’s new music release schedule is traditionally populated with big names and this crazy year proves no exception, despite the fact that fewer new titles are being released this fall. About 100 new titles of note saw release in November 2019, according to PauseandPlay.com, a leading online source for music release dates. Roughly 60 new, non-archival titles are listed for release this month, a number no doubt impacted by the pandemic.

Albert and Joe Bouchard, best known as co-founding members of the enduring classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult (“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Godzilla”), have each released a new solo album on a jointly-owned label.

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 12:15

A conversation with Martin Barre

Guitar legend Martin Barre is set to mark the 50th anniversary of his decision to join the lineup of Jethro Tull with a double disc set showcasing two sides of the music he helped create as a member of that iconic progressive rock band.

On November 6, Barre will release “MLB: 50 years of Jethro Tull,” featuring Martin and his band performing live in-studio acoustic and electric performances of Jethro Tull classics and deep cuts, along with four bonus tracks recorded live last year.

Barre joined Jethro Tull in 1969 as the group prepared to record their second album, “Stand Up,” a top 20 LP in the US and a chart topper for the group in their native United Kingdom.

Cited for his fluent, melodic lead guitar style, Barre’s chops graced 20 Tull studio albums and were always a guaranteed highlight during the band’s powerful and theatrical live shows.

Barre formed his own band when Jethro Tull ceased touring in 2012. He saw most of his 2020 tour schedule quickly evaporate due to Covid-19, and says he’s practically bursting at the seams to get back onstage with his band. The group’s next series of shows, tentatively set to begin in March 2021, will be a celebration of Jethro Tull’s biggest seller. Barre and his band will perform the 1971 album “Aqualung” in its entirety, along with a set of Jethro Tull classics and fan favorites.

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 12:14

Comedian Jesus Trejo is a standup son

Comedian Jesus Trejo says he spent more than two years fine-tuning material for his first hour-long standup special, “Stay at Home Son,” which debuted earlier this year on Showtime, and is now available on demand.

A native of Long Beach, California, Trejo, 33, is a veteran of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “Adam DeVine’s House Party” on Comedy Central, Nuvo TV’s “Stand-up and Deliver” and the TBS sitcom “Sullivan & Son.” He was voted one of Variety Magazine’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch in 2017.”

Family looms large in Trejo’s life, and that includes his time onstage. Much of the material he wrote for “Stay at Home Son” deals with family issues, incidents and observations relating to his parents, a rich source for his comedy as you will discover during the following interview.

A first-generation Mexican-American, Trejo is an only child, and has devoted much of the last few years to caring for his aging parents. Trejo’s journey of juggling standup with caregiving has been chronicled in “Care to Laugh,” a documentary from AARP Studios. The film scored the Best Feature award at the Chicago Film Festival in addition to the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, both in 2018. It is also available on demand.

In the summer of 1981, The Outlaws brought their triple guitar attack and three-part harmonies to Lorelei, Germany for an outdoor concert filmed for the music television program Rockpalast, the country’s most enduring rock music program.

Fronted by guitar-slingers Freddie Salem, Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones, accompanied by the rhythm section of drummer David Dix and bassist Rick Cua, The Outlaws performed a one-hour set that has just seen official release on DVD, CD and digital on-demand.

Each of the early Outlaws classic hits are represented in live versions, including “There Goes Another Love Song,” “Hurry Sundown,” “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” and a 20-minute set-closing “Green Grass and High Tides.”

Guitarist Freddie Salem, a member of The Outlaws from 1977 to 1983, checked in with The Maine Edge to share his memories of that show and to talk a little Outlaws history. Salem penned the liner notes for the new CD and DVD.

The Mavericks are a band that have always followed their hearts, and that credence has earned them both Grammy Awards and CMAs, but it’s also led frontman Raúl Malo to ask “Do you want to be an artist or do you want to be famous?”

Three decades after issuing their self-titled debut, The Mavericks have managed to check off a bucket list item this year by releasing “En Español,” the group’s first Spanish language/Latin music album.

The record’s five original songs accompany seven Latin tunes – a mix of standards and rarities that Malo says have always been close to his heart. On “En Español,” The Mavericks literally reconnect with their roots on a record the band has wanted to record since reforming in 2011 after seven years apart.

Cuban songs reside comfortably next to songs from Mexico, Columbia and Argentina and blend seamlessly with the new tunes penned or co-written by Malo.

Guest vocalist Lissette Diaz of Cuban band The Sweet Lizzy Project performs with the band on “En Español” and co-wrote some of the new material with Malo.

Malo’s bandmates in The Mavericks include drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez, and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden.

A bounty of previously unheard gems from some of the biggest names in music are seeing the light of day this fall in a variety of archival box set career retrospectives, rarities collections and expanded reissues.

In this unprecedented year without concerts, many artists are looking for ways to continue connecting with fans. A box set covering their career, or an expanded version of a classic album, can be mightily satisfying for the music lover seeking more than just the greatest hits.

35 years after Bob Dylan’s “Biograph” box triggered an industry trend toward multi-disc artist retrospectives, the box set continues to be a sought-after collectible for the music fan who prefers a tangible listening experience in the digital age.

Of course, the audio content included in most box sets is also available in digital form, usually at a considerable savings compared to the price of the physical set. For example the super deluxe version of Prince’s “Sign of the Times” will set you back about $160 as a CD/DVD box. The digital version retails for less than half that.

The website www.Pauseandplay.com has been a leading worldwide source for new music release dates and related information since 1997, offering weekly release schedules for vinyl, CD, digital downloads and reissues, including box sets.

Pauseandplay.com founder and webmaster Gerry Galipault says he believes the Covid-19 pandemic, and its effect on the concert industry, may lead to more record labels, artists and bands giving a closer look at what unreleased goodies could be collecting dust in their archives.

“I would hope so,” Galipault responded during an interview conducted via email. “Look at the success of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours.’ Some random guy makes a TikTok video of himself longboarding while drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice and lip-syncing to ‘Dreams.’ It goes viral, and even Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood do videos in response, then ‘Rumours’ climbs back onto the chart and goes top 10 for the first time in 43 years. That shows the power of a classic song and a classic album.”

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