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Wednesday, 25 November 2020 13:02

New music from veteran artists

Written by Mike Dow

There are a few benefits that come with doing a daily morning radio show that almost make up for the lack of sleep and/or anything resembling a social life. For starters, the coffee is pretty good, your mailbox is periodically populated with free CDs and books, and your studio phone can become a conduit to speak with the folks who make the music.

I do a morning show with a classic hits format that airs on BIG 104 FM (104.3/104.7/107.7 FM), and have taken a number of calls in recent weeks from veteran musicians excited to share news of their latest projects.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 11:49

AC/DC leads the charge for November’s new music

Written by Mike Dow

November’s new music release schedule is traditionally populated with big names and this crazy year proves no exception, despite the fact that fewer new titles are being released this fall. About 100 new titles of note saw release in November 2019, according to PauseandPlay.com, a leading online source for music release dates. Roughly 60 new, non-archival titles are listed for release this month, a number no doubt impacted by the pandemic.

Albert and Joe Bouchard, best known as co-founding members of the enduring classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult (“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Godzilla”), have each released a new solo album on a jointly-owned label.

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 12:15

A conversation with Martin Barre

Written by Mike Dow

Guitar legend Martin Barre is set to mark the 50th anniversary of his decision to join the lineup of Jethro Tull with a double disc set showcasing two sides of the music he helped create as a member of that iconic progressive rock band.

On November 6, Barre will release “MLB: 50 years of Jethro Tull,” featuring Martin and his band performing live in-studio acoustic and electric performances of Jethro Tull classics and deep cuts, along with four bonus tracks recorded live last year.

Barre joined Jethro Tull in 1969 as the group prepared to record their second album, “Stand Up,” a top 20 LP in the US and a chart topper for the group in their native United Kingdom.

Cited for his fluent, melodic lead guitar style, Barre’s chops graced 20 Tull studio albums and were always a guaranteed highlight during the band’s powerful and theatrical live shows.

Barre formed his own band when Jethro Tull ceased touring in 2012. He saw most of his 2020 tour schedule quickly evaporate due to Covid-19, and says he’s practically bursting at the seams to get back onstage with his band. The group’s next series of shows, tentatively set to begin in March 2021, will be a celebration of Jethro Tull’s biggest seller. Barre and his band will perform the 1971 album “Aqualung” in its entirety, along with a set of Jethro Tull classics and fan favorites.

The Mavericks are a band that have always followed their hearts, and that credence has earned them both Grammy Awards and CMAs, but it’s also led frontman Raúl Malo to ask “Do you want to be an artist or do you want to be famous?”

Three decades after issuing their self-titled debut, The Mavericks have managed to check off a bucket list item this year by releasing “En Español,” the group’s first Spanish language/Latin music album.

The record’s five original songs accompany seven Latin tunes – a mix of standards and rarities that Malo says have always been close to his heart. On “En Español,” The Mavericks literally reconnect with their roots on a record the band has wanted to record since reforming in 2011 after seven years apart.

Cuban songs reside comfortably next to songs from Mexico, Columbia and Argentina and blend seamlessly with the new tunes penned or co-written by Malo.

Guest vocalist Lissette Diaz of Cuban band The Sweet Lizzy Project performs with the band on “En Español” and co-wrote some of the new material with Malo.

Malo’s bandmates in The Mavericks include drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez, and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden.

When guitar great Eddie Van Halen died last week, after the musician’s two-decade cancer battle, the world lost a tireless ‘mad genius,’ according to photographer and filmmaker Andrew Bennett, who lived with the guitarist in 2006 and 2007.

Bennett’s self-published coffee table book of photographs and text chronicling many of his adventures in and out of the studio with Van Halen, “Eruption in the Canyon: 212 Days and Nights with the Genius of Eddie Van Halen,” was released earlier this year.

The interview with Bennett for this story aired on BIG 104 FM in April of this year.

One of the people responsible for helping launch Van Halen’s career says he is crushed that we will never again see a Van Halen live concert, following the death, at 65, of the band’s legendary guitarist, Eddie Van Halen.

In March 1978, 22-year-old Detroit-born Fred Meyers began a new position for Warner Bros. Records promoting the label’s artists to rock radio after four years of toughing it out as a lowly record company warehouse guy.

“They gave me the job,” he says, “because they were tired of seeing me interview for it.”

Meyers says it was a life-altering dream job, especially when he considers his very first assignment of promoting the now-classic debut album from Van Halen.

When I spoke with Meyers the day after the death of Eddie Van Halen, he was nearly in tears as he spoke about the virtuosic guitarist known for his outrageous and groundbreaking fiery fretwork, and remembered by Meyers as a shy and sensitive figure who often skipped aftershow parties to practice guitar in his hotel room.

The playing field for new music titles has become pretty crowded this fall as many artists elected to postpone albums that were expected in the spring and summer. Here’s a sampling of what’s out, what’s coming, what’s hot and what’s not in new music.

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.

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