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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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After 33 years, the fiddle supergroup collective known as Childsplay is preparing to set out on a final series of holiday shows beginning in mid-November. Guided by acclaimed fiddler and luthier Bob Childs, the group’s final Maine performance is scheduled for Saturday, November 16, at the State Theatre in Portland.

“The Maine audiences are really the best audiences that we have played for,” Childs said during an interview from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “They are so enthusiastic. I think that’s because there is such a great fiddling and step-dancing tradition in Maine. It runs deep there. The response from a Maine audience is always exhilarating for the band and we’re thrilled to be playing there. We’ll have a solid Maine contingent in the band.”

Childsplay includes more than two dozen leading virtuosos in traditional and contemporary fiddle music and has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe with traditional fiddle music, including Irish, French-Canadian, Cape Breton, Appalachian, Scandinavia, as well as jazz, swing and classical.

Ben Bailey is back for a new season of “Cash Cab” – the long-running TV game show set on the streets of New York City. Along with a new batch of shows, “Cash Cab” has a new TV home in Bravo, a new cab for Bailey, new trivia questions with higher stakes, and a wild new batch of contestants; shocked to actually be sitting inside a cab with the host they’ve seen so many times on television.

“Many people still don’t know that the show is back, and their reaction and surprise is genuinely contagious and awesome once I hit the lights and music,” Bailey said during an interview.

Take me to your candy! Kids of all ages can look forward to plenty of Halloween-related fun, candy, games, prizes and pumpkins at UCP of Maine’s 17th annual “Pumpkins in the Park” event, scheduled for Sunday, October 20, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Anah Shriners building, 1404 Broadway in Bangor.

Each year, UCP of Maine selects a different theme for the popular October event. According to Andrew Lohman, the non-profit organization’s marketing and communications manager - and the chair for “Pumpkins in the Park” - this year’s “Out of This World” edition will feature an outer space theme. Attendees can expect to see plenty of extraterrestrial-related costumes with similarly-themed patches, each sponsored by a different area business or organization.

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 14:19

Remembering Ginger Baker

He loved his dogs, his horses, and his drums – not necessarily in that order. Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker, the gifted, beloved, feared and fiery-haired mercurial drummer for rock supergroups Cream and Blind Faith died Sunday at age 80 following a brief hospitalization.

Along with Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Keith Moon and John Bonham, Baker became one of the most influential and emulated drummers in rock history, his custom double bass drum providing more than ammo to compete with his two virtuosic band mates.

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 14:18

What’s new (and coming soon) in music

Fall might be my favorite time of year. Not so much for the pumpkin spice that seems omnipresent at the moment, but for the newly arrived music titles, and those on the way, to warm your frosty ears.

Optimism and positive vibes come crackling down the phone line when you’re speaking with prolific keyboard wiz Marco Benevento – and it’s infectious.

In a few days, Benevento will return to the road with his band for an intensive tour set to encompass nearly 50 shows, including a date in Portland (one of Benevento’s favored locations) on October 17 at Port City Music Hall. The show is planned as an album release celebration for Benevento’s new melody and groove-driven LP “Let It Slide.”

Benevento has long been recognized as a bold voyager in the rock-jazz-jam world. Whether he’s playing with his own band, with drummer Joe Russo in the Benevento/Russo Duo, or in Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Benevento effortlessly creates wondrous extended passages on the fly, but on “Let It Slide,” he further embraces a pop sensibility, and the idea of brevity over longevity – something he’s hinted at on previous records.

BUCKSPORT - When I met filmmaker Keith Travers at Bangor Humane Society’s 26th edition of Paws on Parade last Saturday, he shared with me news about a new documentary he has created called “A True Love Story,” about Old Dogs New Digs, a Maine-based volunteer organization dedicated to senior dog rescues.

The 30-minute film will be screened on Sunday, October 6, at 11 a.m., at the Alamo Theatre, 85 Main St. in Bucksport. Tickets will be priced at $10 with all proceeds going to Old Dogs New Digs.

Last week’s feature cover story in The Maine Edge focused on the upcoming all-star 50th anniversary tribute to The Beatles’ “White Album,” scheduled for Monday, October 7, at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono.

The “It Was 50 Years Ago Today” tour began nearly two weeks ago and includes musicians Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, Christopher Cross, former Chicago bassist and singer Jason Scheff, and Badfinger’s Joey Molland,performing songs from the “White Album” in addition to their own hits in a night of music that is drawing rave reviews from both concertgoers and critics.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing four of the show’s five superstar musicians (Dolenz, Scheff, Molland and Rundgren) for the story. When I discovered I could incorporate only a fraction of the wonderful interview material they provided due to space, I was faced with a bit of a conundrum. Thanks to Maine Edge super genius assignment editor Allen Adams, I can now share with you more highlights from those interviews.

The interviews with Micky Dolenz, Joey Molland and Jason Scheff were conducted via telephone. Because Rundgren was in Hawaii at the time (a six-hour time difference), he responded to my questions via email.

Whether in person or on the phone, “Sopranos” icon Vincent Pastore is the real deal. Best known as the unforgettable character Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero on the HBO series “The Sopranos,” Pastore is a veteran of more than 100 films, including hits “Goodfellas” and “The Hurricane.”

Pastore can be seen now as Larry in the Hulu series “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” based on the true story of influential hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan.

Pastore is not an intentional scene-stealer but he does have a knack for owning the screen every time he appears. During the following interview, he provides context to the significance of his role in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” a group he knew well as a former nightclub owner on Staten Island. He confesses his deep love for the state of Maine, shares some insightful tips for aspiring actors and explains why “The Sopranos” will never die.

I purposefully did not prepare questions for Pastore in advance of this interview. Because he is so comfortable and unfailingly real during every interview I’ve seen or read with him, I let him guide the direction of the discussion.

Prolific actor, director and screenwriter Frank Whaley (“The Doors,” “Field of Dreams,” “Like Sunday, Like Rain”) is thrilled with the glowing reviews and impressive box office receipts for his latest movie, “Hustlers,” described by Maine Edge movie reviewer (and Tomatometer-approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes) Allen Adams as “a story about people who, instead of playing the hand that they were dealt, choose to change the rules to which they are expected to adhere” in his review, published in the Edge on September 18.

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