Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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The world of Beatles books is vast and deep. Virtually every aspect of that unprecedented globe-altering musical force has been dissected, analyzed, and disseminated in book form dating back to 1964. A fledgling fan searching for a compelling and accurate entry point could easily become bewildered simply by the sheer volume of options, while a seasoned Beatles bibliophile might feel as though every little thing has already been covered.

Music journalist John Borack has written a book that serves both camps well with “The Beatles 100: 100 Pivotal Moments in Beatles History” (Rare Bird Books) where he ranks and devotes a chapter to each of what he feels are the most consequential moments in their story.

Borack, a self-professed power-pop maniac, says his love of music started with The Beatles. His feature articles, columns and reviews have appeared in Goldmine, the music collector’s magazine, since 1986. When he isn’t consumed with writing about music, he’s playing it with a series of southern California bands, including The Armoires, The Pop Dudes, The Test Pressings, The Used Electrics, and a Beatles cover combo called Let It Be. He is the author of “Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Guide to Power Pop” and “John Lennon: Life is What Happens.”

Colin Hay, former lead singer and songwriter for 80s hit-makers Men at Work (“Who Can It Be Now?,” “Down Under”) says his 13th solo album, “I Just Don’t Know What to do With Myself” gives him a chance to pay tribute to the songs and songwriters he associates with crucial memories and eras in his life. The record features Hay rearranging 10 classic songs originally recorded by The Beatles, Jimmy Cliff, The Kinks, Glen Campbell, Blind Faith and others that provided the soundtrack to his life’s pivotal moments.

In the following interview, the Scottish-born Hay reveals that when he left the U.K. in his youth to embark on a new life in Australia, he recalls hearing The Kinks’ sublime 1967 pop ballad “Waterloo Sunset” as he walked the ship’s gangplank. He cites the song that helped him discover how tunes can have a life of their own outside of their best-known versions, and he looks back at how MTV helped take his band to the next level 40 years ago. He opened the interview by expressing his fondness for Maine.

These days, Mark Goodman is heard daily on SiriusXM satellite radio’s ‘80s on 8 channel, but 40 years ago this month, Goodman became one of the five original MTV VJs, the personalities that introduced music videos and interviewed the stars. Along with Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter and the late J.J. Jackson, Goodman provided a face for the upstart cable channel that became a pop culture phenomenon.

As Goodman explains in the following interview, he was supposed to be the first VJ viewers saw after MTV cleared the launch pad on August 1, 1981, but a behind-the-scenes glitch altered that plan. He discusses how the channel’s sudden success shocked everyone involved, and he recalls what he says was the worst night of his life, when his next-door neighbor – John Lennon – was killed.

While checking out some of the recent new releases from Maine music makers for this week’s cover story, I auditioned a unique project from an artist with the unusual moniker Ego Orb. I was initially drawn to the cover art which reminded me of the satirical illustrations John Lennon created to accompany the two books of wordplay he published in the mid-1960s.

“Oh Oh Ah Ah” is an album of offbeat electronic pop with surreal stream of consciousness lyrics that recall some of Monty Python’s more bizarre audio offerings. Come to find out, Ego Orb is the nom de plume for 18-year-old Glenburn resident Ian Buck. I was more than a little surprised to discover that his latest project was recorded entirely on his iPhone.

There’s great music being made virtually everywhere in Maine and I consider it a high privilege to be encouraged to tell you about some of the people responsible for its creation.

For this story, I reached out to five diverse music-makers to discuss their art. It’s been a stirring experience to first listen to their work and then hear the backstory on how some of it was crafted, to learn what inspires them, and to discover why they are motivated to make music.

We know David Duchovny best as Fox Mulder, the E.T.-obsessed FBI agent on nine seasons of “The X-Files,” and as the classic tortured writer Hank Moody on seven seasons of “Californication.” The actor, producer and director has also authored four books, including the novel “Truly Like Lightning,” released earlier this year.

In 2015, Duchovny entered the world of music by releasing the self-composed alt-rock/folk album “High or High Water.” He followed it in 2018 with “Every Third Thought” and is about to issue his third with “Gestureland,” due on August 20. The album’s second single, a ballad titled “Tessera,” was released last week.

During the following interview, which aired on BIG 104 FM, Duchovny reveals what the title of his new record means to him. He sheds light on how he decided to give music a go after teaching himself how to play guitar about 10 years ago. He discusses a few of his formative musical influences and explains why he likes to make his live shows feel like a party.

A fresh blast of good time rock and roll has been cascading from my speakers for the last week thanks to the band Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems. Listening to the Portland-based outfit’s new LP, “Still Dirty,” is the sonic equivalent of opening your windows for the first time after a long cold winter.

Rodgers says his new album’s party vibe kind of happened by accident, but he’s thrilled at how well it’s being received by listeners who hear it as a soundtrack to the party after the storm.

“Still Dirty” was released on Wicked Cool Records, the indie label operated by Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel on Sirius XM. The band members produced the album collectively.

Pianist Rodgers has been fronting The Dirty Gems, which includes drummer Craig Sala and guitarist Tom Hall, for more than a decade. Bassist Ryan Halliburton joined them about 5 years ago. Rodgers is a touring and recording veteran of a number of rock and power pop acts, including The Connection, The New Trocaderos, Bullet Proof Lovers and the Kurt Baker Band.

If you’re a Food Network viewer of any regularity, you’ve seen Jeff Mauro demonstrate his skills and humor in the kitchen and on “The Kitchen,” the cooking-themed talk show, now in its 28th season, co-hosted by Mauro with Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli. Winner of the seventh season of the competition series “Food Network Star,” Mauro got there with an eggplant parmesan sandwich, which led to three seasons of his own show, “Sandwich King.”

The Chicago-born Mauro, 42, is one of the most relatable of all Food Network personalities thanks to his keep-it-real personality and sense of humor, which occasionally extends to the self-deprecating variety. His new book, “Come on Over: 111 Fantastic Recipes for the Family that Cooks, Eats and Laughs Together” (Harper Collins) has a lot of that personality spread across each page. It’s an unconventional cookbook in that each recipe is accompanied by a story – some funny, some simply meaningful – that ties into the dish at hand. The recipes and anecdotes are complimented by some truly impressive photography and easy to follow step by step directions.

This week’s new music roundup includes several artists we haven’t heard from in a while and an impressive debut from an artist whose music we’ll be hearing for years to come.

I’m constantly impressed with the quantity and quality of music being created by Maine-based artists. We have an extraordinary lineup of talent in this state and it’s a privilege to be encouraged to tell you about their activities in these pages. This week, we give a listen to recently released EPs from three very different homegrown artists.

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