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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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You may have seen actor and musician Johnny Flynn as Dylan in the Netflix series “Lovesick” or as the young Albert Einstein in the 2016 National Geographic miniseries “Genius.” Or maybe you have heard his music in the score of the British series “Detectorists.” But you’ve never seen or heard Flynn like his portrayal as David Bowie in the new biopic “Stardust,” directed by Gabriel Range, and he says that’s part of the reason why he accepted the role.

Flynn says he’s been a David Bowie fan since he was a teenager, and that he was ready for a challenge when he read the first script for “Stardust” before ultimately turning it down. After a retooled script appeared, and Range was brought aboard to direct it, Flynn realized the role would not only give his mettle the test he desired, but that it would be an opportunity to reveal an often overlooked aspect of Bowie’s rise to fame.

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Paul Carrack is one of popular music’s most valuable players, and a man with hits as a band member, a frontman, and as a solo artist. Carrack wrote and sang “How Long” with his mid-70s band Ace. As a member of Squeeze, he sang their biggest American hit, “Tempted.” When Mike Rutherford of Genesis put together his side project Mike + the Mechanics, Carrack sang lead on hits “Silent Running” and “The Living Years.” He’s been a member of Roxy Music, and a session man for The Smiths, John Hiatt, The Pretenders and others. Carrack has been a recording and touring musician for artists as diverse as Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, with whom he’s toured and recorded since 2013.

Carrack has released 17 solo albums, including his most recent, “These Days” released in 2018. With his six-piece band, he keeps up a fairly busy touring schedule but like everyone else, it all came to a stop in March of this year. Carrack says he sought ways to keep connecting with an audience, and while recording a quick video to post online may have been fun, it couldn’t compare with being on a stage with his band.

In September, Carrack and his band, accompanied by a 12-camera crew, took to the stage of ornate Victoria Hall in Leeds, England, to perform their first full concert together in 6 months. It may have felt a bit strange to perform to an otherwise empty room but the concert, he says, was a truly special experience. The resulting two-hour concert is a beautifully filmed affair with a pristine audio mix full of hits from throughout Carrack’s career. It first streamed to fans in October and again last weekend during a partnership with live steaming platform Mandolin.

Carrack phoned from his home near London to discuss that concert experience in an interview that aired on BIG 104 FM. Highlights from that interview follow.

Looking for something to put you in a Christmas mood now that December is here? One of these new Christmas albums might make your holiday jingle all the way or else have you saying ‘Ho ho no!”                                      

2020 has been full of events that tend to get a person thinking about home. Maine-based singer and songwriter Joel Thetford says he’s been thinking a lot about his current and former homes this year.

The musician, known for his Americana and alt-country roots music has been on a prolific songwriting jag lately, and says home is very much on his mind as he releases his fifth album “Jacksboro Highway,” named for the storied stretch of road from which he hails.

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.

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