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Wednesday, 09 September 2020 12:38

Autumn arrivals in new music

Written by Mike Dow

The fall musical marketplace could get a little crowded by the looks of the industry’s schedule of current and forthcoming releases.

A bounty of new titles has appeared in recent days from proven players like The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz, Katy Perry, Bruce Hornsby and My Morning Jacket.

Archival releases are also in abundance this season with boxed sets out now from The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, and titles expected soon from Prince, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Wilco and Elvis Presley.

This week, I’ve selected four new and forthcoming titles that I feel are deserving of your attention.

When The Go-Gos, rock’s first female band to score a No. 1 Billboard album, burst on the scene with 1981’s “Beauty and the Beat,” they were an instant smash. Videos for “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat” coincided with the birth of MTV, and depicted a band of fun-loving BFF’s cruising around LA and hopping onstage to sing their catchy tunes.

The Go-Gos merged the retro sensibility of ‘60s and ‘70s pop with a new wave edge that produced an amalgam of music and image that became an irresistible combo for millions of fans in the 1980s.

Everything was great, until it wasn’t, and the full picture is just now coming into view, thanks to a new Showtime documentary (“The Go-Gos”) and “All I Ever Wanted,” the memoir of Go-Gos guitarist and songwriter Kathy Valentine.

In the following Maine Edge interview, Valentine, a native of Austin, Texas, discusses the heady early success of The Go-Gos, how and why the band imploded and how forgiveness and healing brought them together again.

Micky Dolenz of the beloved 1960s hit-making group The Monkees says he’d like to be on stage this summer with that band’s other surviving member, Mike Nesmith.

The duo had plotted a 2020 tour in support of the new live album “The Mike & Micky Show,” only to see those dates postponed to next spring due to the pandemic.

The rarely idle Dolenz says he and Nesmith had a blast during their first-ever outing as “The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show” last year, and claims the seeds for his shows with Nesmith were planted during The Monkees’ 1960s heyday.

“Even back in the old days, we joked about some day doing ‘The Mike & Micky Show,’” Dolenz told The Maine Edge. “Nez (shorthand for Nesmith) and I always had a special kind of camaraderie in music and comedy, and very similar tastes in both. We used to talk about one day doing a show together, and here we are.”

Wednesday, 12 August 2020 15:45

Heavy hitters lead the pack in new music

Written by Mike Dow

The music biz seems to be quietly whistling past the graveyard with fingers crossed this summer as it looks ahead with hope that 2021 will see a widespread return of live concerts. Dozens of acts have already issued new records which would have been tied to their respective tours, while some have decided to hold titles back to see how things shake out.

This week sees a number of high-profile figures in rock and country hit the launch button on new albums, two of which were recorded after the outset of the pandemic.

Chaucer is credited with coining the expression “familiarity breeds contempt,” which may be true, but what he did he know about pandemics? He only had to concern himself with the Black Plague.

Covid-19 has hobbled virtually all industry, but a wealth of new music in every genre has been released on schedule over the last four months. True confessions time, dear Maine Edge reader: I probably haven’t heard it.

Like you, I’ve spent a lot of time at home, but most of my music listening, like my TV viewing, has been limited to the comforting and the familiar. In other words, I’ve been listening to a lot of old stuff and becoming reacquainted with the nether regions of my music library at home.

One new music title that I can recommend with confidence, however, is one that I’ve heard almost daily since its release more than three months ago.

Phish – “Sigma Oasis” (JEMP Records; out now).

Since the release of “Here I Go,” the 2015 debut album by Joel Thetford, the Portland-based Texas native has become a leading voice in New England’s alt-country/Americana scene with his songs that are deeply personal yet widely relatable.

Thetford was in the midst of recording a fourth record with his band last fall when they were called upon to open a show for Sarah Shook and the Disarmers at one of Thetford’s favorite venues. The set they performed that night is now available in its entirety on “Joel Thetford Band: Live at Port City Music Hall,” and its release will benefit local musicians currently unable to perform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Half of the proceeds from the sale of Thetford’s live album will go to Creative Portland’s Artists Relief Fund, a charity organized by the city’s official nonprofit art agency. The fund will make available $500 stipends for local artists to help them make ends meet until they are able to perform again.

“It’s scary for a lot of people right now,” Thetford said during an interview with The Maine Edge. “Many of them are waking up today to no money and no food.”

Recorded on November 17, 2019, “Joel Thetford Band: Live at Port City Music Hall” documents the band’s complete set with new versions of songs from Thetford’s previous albums, plus an opening cover of “If You Don’t Mind,” a song by Alec Gross that Thetford says he has long wanted to perform with his band.

Jeff Beam had big plans for the month of April. The Portland-based musician, referred to by Rolling Stone magazine as a “psychedelic trailblazer,” had an important new record ready to drop mid-month, (his first on vinyl) accompanied by a tour of the U.S. and Canada and an extensive PR campaign to help spread the word. For obvious reasons the tour has been scuttled, but Beam’s record arrived on schedule last week, and it landed in a much different world than its creator envisioned.

Jeff Beam was interviewed for this story on March 11, shortly before life changed for all of us. Since that day, Beam says he’s left his house only two or three times. In a press release accompanying his new record, Beam says “It is unquestionably the best batch of songs I’ve ever released…It’s about transmuting negativity in positivity, being on the outside looking in, death, despair and desperation, but also truly seeing the light through the fear and chaos. I really believe it’s an album for the times we’re living through.”

Southern rock legends The Outlaws have just released “Dixie Highway,” the band’s first album of new material since 2012, and the good news for fans is that it’s a corker.

Led by co-founding members Henry Paul on guitar and vocals and Monte Yoho on drums, the band has conjured 11 new tracks that Paul says were crafted the way they’ve always done it: together as a band of brothers.

“Dixie Highway” was released through SPV/Steamhammer on CD, double-LP, digital download, and digital stream.

For nearly five decades, The Outlaws have been one of southern rock’s few standard bearers. Their triple-guitar attack, combined with intricately arranged three part vocal harmonies, and an ability to write and record enduring songs that have spanned generations, has secured the band’s position in the pantheon of greats that includes peers The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Charlie Daniels Band.

PORTLAND - Holler folk trio The Ghost of Paul Revere have announced the lineup for the 2020 edition of their annual Ghostland festival, scheduled to take place on Labor Day weekend, September 4 and 5, in two Portland venues.

Ghostland was founded in 2014 as a way for The Ghost of Paul Revere to share and celebrate the natural beauty of Maine and the spirit of Portland with fans from around the country.

The weekend is scheduled to open with a unique concert at Port City Music Hall on Friday, September 4, where the band will play one traditional set of songs pulled from their own catalog, along with a second set of carefully selected cover songs.

Tickets for the Port City Music Hall show are only available with the purchase of a two-day GA or VIP pass to Ghostland, and are available from the band’s website.

Saturday will see the band share the stage at Thompson’s Point with four other bands

The Ghost of Paul Revere – Griffin Sherry (guitar), Max Davis (banjo) and Sean McCarthy (bass) will be joined by alternative folk rockers Deer Tick, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, Maine’s indie Americana-rockers The Mallett Brothers Band, Mipso, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Portland-based Bell Systems, featuring Spencer Albee and Geneviève Beaudoin. The duo describes their music as “thoughtfully irreverent pop music.”

Ghostland festival-goers may purchase a Saturday single-day ticket for $41 in advance, or $46 the day of show, or a two-day GA pass for $86 or a VIP pass for $121, which will include a meet and greet with the members of The Ghost of Paul Revere, and access to an exclusive viewing area at Thompson’s Point, with access to a private bar. VIP pass-holders will also receive a signed poster and other items.

One dollar from the sale of every ticket will be donated to the sTAY Strong Foundation, founded last year in memory of Taylor Steeves, a close friend to the members of The Ghost of Paul Revere. The foundation provides assistance to those affected by genetic forms of lung cancer. More information about the foundation can be found at www.staystrongfoundation.org .

The Ghost of Paul Revere formed in 2011 and made their national television debut in 2018 on Conan O’Brien’s TBS show. Last year, the band’s song “Ballad of the 20th Maine” became Maine’s official state ballad. The band’s latest release is “Field Notes, Vol. 2,” released last August, and they say they are preparing to release new music this year.

For Ghostland tickets and more information about the event, visit www.TheGhostofPaulRevere.com.

The purity of singer Emilia Dahlin’s voice, combined with the poetry of her lyricism, draws you in to fully appreciate everything happening around them on her sextet’s new CD, titled “…Green Things to Grow,” the Portland-based musician’s first release in more than a decade. The ambitious project was recorded live during a one-night only community event held on Portland’s Fore River in October 2018.

Dahlin and her sextet plan to celebrate the release of the album with two live performances on Saturday, January 18, at Portland’s Space Gallery.

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