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Tuesday, 08 October 2019 14:19

Remembering Ginger Baker

Written by Mike Dow

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

Written by Mike Dow

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.

Tuesday, 01 October 2019 16:05

More ‘White Album’ talk from CCA-bound superstars

Written by Mike Dow

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.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 09:01

Rick Wakeman of YES on his ‘Grumpy Old Rock Star tour

Written by Mike Dow

Legendary keyboardist, composer, comedian, TV and radio host, and author Rick Wakeman has never done anything half-baked.

His five tenures with the band Yes helped elevate the progressive rock torchbearers into the pantheon of greats beginning with the album “Fragile” in 1971. Wakeman’s contributions to the music of other artists has had a similar impact, including David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and “Hunky Dory” LP, and songs by Cat Stevens, T-Rex, Elton John, Lou Reed and Al Stewart.

The solo career of Rick Wakeman is deep with scores of titles and liberally peppered with high-water marks, including concept albums about the wives of Henry VIII, King Arthur and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” that sold in the millions on both sides of the Atlantic. He’s still doing it today with his piano-based theme albums – all of which vaulted into the U.K. top 10 upon release, with his just-completed “Christmas Portraits” due to follow suit in late November.

Wakeman is set to bring his first solo trek of America in 13 years to New England this week when his “Grumpy Old Rock Star” tour arrives at Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire, on Sunday, September 22, to be followed by a show at Boston’s The Wilbur on Monday, September 23. Before heading to the west coast, Wakeman will include a show at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut on October 13.

Joel Thetford Band and special guest Caroline Cotter to play BAE ballroom Sept. 21

BANGOR - Two distinctly original voices in Americana, alt-country and folk will perform Saturday, September 21, in the ballroom of Bangor Arts Exchange at 193 Exchange St. in Bangor. The Joel Thetford Band with special guest Caroline Cotter will take the stage at 8:00 p.m. as part of the New Nashville North Concert Series.

Fifty years after their debut on Columbia Records, the current incarnation of NRBQ (the original uncategorizable band) has prepared an astonishingly tasty live album compiled from two recent radio performances.

On Sept. 6, Omnivore Recordings will release “Turn On, Tune In” – a 21-song collection comprised of a 2015 live session for Sirius/XM’s The Loft and a 2017 concert from WFMU-FM’s Monty Hall performance space in Jersey City, New Jersey.

As tipped in these pages last spring, The Beatles plan to issue a variety of remixed and remastered editions of “Abbey Road” this fall to mark the 50th anniversary of the album many fans consider the group’s magnum opus.

It’s comforting and reassuring when a longtime favored artist or band releases a new work that stands with the very best material you’ve heard them create. A perfect example is “Face the Sun” – the just-released eighth studio album from Willie Wisely.

“Face the Sun” is quintessential Wisely - a contemporary power-pop classic that reunites him with producer John “Strawberry” Fields, the man behind the glass for the singer songwriter’s 1997 classic “Turbosherbert.”

I expect a Wisely album to be good, whether it’s a solo record, an album from his Willie Wisely Trio or one of his side projects like Secret Friend and The Lover The Keeper. The man seems incapable of writing a bad song which automatically fuels expectations for fans. One of the surprises surrounding “Face the Sun” is that the lion’s share of its songs were castoffs from previous projects.

“This is like a greatest-hits record full of songs that have never been released,” Wisely said with a laugh during a phone interview.

PORTLAND - Thousands of Guster fans will converge on Maine this weekend for the band’s third annual destination “On The Ocean Weekend” event, scheduled to include a broad palette of music, food, special activities and public service.

For Guster guitarist and Portland resident Adam Gardner, it’s another opportunity to connect the band’s fans with the community he calls home.

Melodic metal band Weapons of Anew are set to perform their first Maine show on August 3 at Aura in Portland, as openers for Creed’s Scott Stapp and Texas rockers Messer.

Weapons of Anew released their debut album “The Collision of Love and Hate” in the fall of 2017, and have already recorded most of its follow-up, due for release early in 2020, according to lead singer Ray West.

Weapons of Anew is comprised of West (also a member of the band Spread Eagle), former Axiom/HavocHate guitarist Freddy Ordine, bassist Stefan “Reno” Catrupi, Chris Manfre on drums and guitarist Kris Norris on guitar.

In the following interview with The Maine Edge, West credits each band member’s broad range of musical influence for Weapons of Anew’s unique sound, and he reveals how the band’s second album will differ from the group’s debut.

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