Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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“American Greed,” CNBC’s longest-running primetime original series, has returned for a 14th season with new episodes airing Mondays at 10 p.m. Narrated by Golden Globe-winning actor Stacy Keach (“Mike Hammer”), the documentary series explores the dark side of the American dream, where power, corruption, and the seduction of big money draws big-time criminals, and how their dreams of unimaginable wealth become nightmares when their shady schemes are exposed.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Keach, who admits to being scammed himself, says the success of “American Greed” can be traced to the fact that every viewer recognizes their own potential for being swindled.

Gifted singer, songwriter and musician Keeton Coffman knows a thing or two about confronting adversity. The heartland rocker from Spring, Texas, located north of Houston, is set to issue his second full-length album, “Hard Times,” on June 18, featuring a stunning batch of songs he wrote as he found his way out of what he called the darkest period of his life.

Coffman launched a solo career after his popular Houston area band of seven years, The 71s, called it a day in 2012. A number of singles and the debut album “Killer Eyes” followed and created some powerful momentum for the artist until he was sidelined for about 18 months by a debilitating bout of depression.

Coffman had been diagnosed with bipolar II and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a high school student where he was a decorated athlete. When an injury at age 20 ended his dream of national championship status, he fully embraced music.

While speaking with Coffman about the episode which resulted in the clutch of original songs he wrote during that bipolar spell, it’s clear that he isn’t about to be defined by a chemical imbalance. The only reason we discussed it is because he probably wouldn’t have this particular batch of masterfully crafted songs had he not completed that dark journey.

In the following interview with The Maine Edge, Coffman revealed truths about the characters he sings of on “Hard Times.” He speaks of his influences, his songwriting technique and his earliest musical memories. Determined to keep it real, he also admits to a painful truth about his own character which he keeps in check by confronting it.

What’s more important, the journey or the destination?

For musician and songwriter Chad Walls of the Portland-based band An Overnight Low, both play a huge role when it comes to creating music. The group plans to release a fourth LP, “Connolly, Part Two,” on June 11, continuing their mission of creating music inspired by Walls’ various adventures abroad, in this case, Dublin, Ireland. The musically varied full-length LP is the sequel to a four-track EP issued last year.

An Overnight Low’s albums aren’t intended to be musical travelogues in the pure sense. There are no lyrics about helpful travel hacks or which airport offers the best pizza. The band’s records are collections of Walls’ impressions of the people he met and the locations he visited first as a student, and now as a seasoned traveler and observer. The group’s albums are titled after one of the four train stations he frequented most.

It feels good to say that Crowded House is back with an album containing some of leader Neil Finn’s strongest material in years. The band’s seventh LP, “Dreamers Are Waiting,” their first since 2010, features a new Finn-family oriented lineup and an inspired and memorable batch of songs that invite repeated listening.

Imagine that you are approached by someone you recognize from your apartment complex but you don’t really know. In a heavy Russian accent, he asks to leave a duffel bag in your possession while he tends to out-of-town business. He opens the bag to reveal not drugs or guns, but multiple books of stamps he says are very rare and could be worth up to $2 million. Then he disappears and doesn’t return. What would you do?

When Will Cassayd-Smith confided in a friend that this scenario had just happened to him, that friend mentioned it to a different friend, documentary filmmaker Joe Saunders (“Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound”). Sensing this could be a huge story, Saunders immediately began rolling film and following Cassayd-Smith as he began searching for the man who called himself “Roman” to discover the true origin of the mysterious multimillion-dollar stamp collection.

After more than five years of filming, the critically acclaimed documentary-noir “The Penny Black,” is out this week on digital platforms and on-demand.

In a joint interview with The Maine Edge, Will Cassayd-Smith and Joe Saunders trace some of the twists and turns of this bizarre thriller of a story.

Time marches on and with it comes a growing number of still active rockers hitting the milestone age of 80, an almost unthinkable prospect back when they created the soundtrack of the 1960s and 1970s.

Blues, country, and jazz artists pointed the way, along with the first rock and roll stars from the 1950s, proving it was possible to perform well during your golden years and still maintain your dignity.

B.B. King performed through the end of his life at age 89. 84-year-old blues legend Buddy Guy is set to launch a tour this July and why not? I caught one of his last shows before the pandemic put a temporary halt to concerts and it was a truly inspired show.

Jazz sax great Irv Williams lived to be 100 and he maintained a regular weekly gig at a jazz club near his Minneapolis home almost to the end. So did the late guitar legend Les Paul who played weekly club dates in New York City up to age 94.

Chuck Berry played “Johnny B. Goode” for the last time just a few days shy of his 88th birthday. Jerry Lee Lewis, “The Killer,” is still performing at age 85. Willie Nelson is scheduled to launch his next “Outlaw” music festival tour this August at age 88.

Is 80 the new 70? Will 90 become the new 80? It doesn’t matter as long as you can still do it, want to do it - and this might be the most important part - people want you to do it.

These rockers have already knocked on the door of 80 or will be there soon, and they’re still getting it done by performing, recording or both.

This week’s edition of Sound Bites includes new albums from well-known artists, some of whom are releasing their first new music in years.

I spent an hour last week locked in a dog kennel with one of the dogs waiting to be adopted from Bangor Humane Society. It was part of a fundraiser conducted by Jordan’s Way, an animal rescue charity established by Kris Rotonda, an animal lover you may have seen on the Hallmark Channel. He’s a high energy guy with a lot of muscles and a ton of creative ideas when it comes to generating funds for shelters.

Utilizing the Facebook Live streaming app, Rotonda canvassed the building for four hours, issuing challenges, thanking donors, and showing off the many dogs and cats awaiting adoption for his legion of Jordan’s Way followers around the world, including a high concentration of viewers from the greater Bangor area.

Rotonda established Jordan’s Way after he lost his best friend, a dog named Jordan that passed away nearly three years ago after a battle with cancer.

Jordan was three when Rotonda first took her home. Up to that moment, she had lived her entire life in a shelter, and as many pet owners are fond of proclaiming, the jury is still out on who rescued whom. Rontonda said the bond he and his family had with Jordan was profound and he vowed to honor her life by helping as many needy shelters as possible.

Tiffany is back and she says she’s ready to rock – and cook, but more about that later. The singer, who enjoyed back-to-back number one singles from her 1987 self-titled 4-Million selling debut LP, will release the new single “Hey Baby” on May 28, backed with an updated version of her first hit, a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” originally recorded by Tommy James and the Shondells.

The new songs are a taste of Tiffany’s new edgier sound that she calls “rockin’ and retro, with a punk-grounded flair.” Her new album “Shadows” will out this fall and will coincide with a tour of the same name set to launch on June 5.

During the following interview, which aired on BIG 104 FM, Tiffany discusses the new album and tour, and how she plans to fuse her two great passions, music and cooking.

The reigning champion of air guitar in the United States says he is stoked to defend his title at this year’s national championship set for June. ‘Smiley Rod,’ a Nashville-based artist manager, says his surprise win in 2020 was no fluke and that he’s prepared to virtually shred winningly once again to bring home another U.S. win. After that, he says, he’ll take the world title.

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