Music (447)

BANGOR - For the first time in years, Bangor’s Fourth of July celebration on the waterfront is set to include live music on the biggest stage in the area during “Chords for Cure XXV,” a free three-part concert that is scheduled to feature the first performance from The Stone Doctors in more than two years. That group, along with Dakota and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, is planning to provide a celebratory and diverse evening of music at the newly renovated Maine Savings Amphitheater on the Bangor Waterfront.

“Chords for Cure XXV” is sponsored by Kiwanis International with generous support from Bangor Savings Bank and Waterfront Concerts.

The Stone Doctors is a band of medical professionals that specializes in the music of The Rolling Stones. The group performs only for charity and has so far raised approximately $450,000 to benefit children fighting cancer since the band formed in Montreal in the summer of 2001, according to guitarist Ian Dickey.

Dickey, formerly of Bangor, is an orthopedic surgeon in research and development for the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, asst. Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado system, and a project director for Newman Guitars.

I’m sure he would scoff at the notion, but guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is a legend – and not only in the music world.

The musician whose angular phrasing and fluid lead lines elevated classic material for Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers is also one of the trusted people relied upon by the U.S. Dept. of Defense to keep us safe.

Fifty years after the release of Steely Dan’s first album “Can’t Buy a Thrill,” “Skunk” has finally released his solo debut.

“Speed of Heat” offers a mix of original songs, carefully selected covers and special guests who were each directed to deliver a performance outside of their comfort zones. Stepping up to the plate to deliver big time were country singer Clint Black, blues guitarist Johnny Lang and Baxter’s former Doobies bandmate Michael McDonald.

Highlights include a rocking reappraisal of Steely Dan’s “My Old School” with “Skunk” himself delivering a lead vocal that received Steven Tyler’s stamp of approval. Black rocks out on “Bad Move” and Lang gets funky on the soulful “I Can Do Without.”

During an interview with The Maine Edge that will air Saturday morning on BIG 104 FM, Baxter gave the backstory on how “Speed of Heat” has literally been decades in the making.

Summer’s here and the time is right for a new installment of Sound Bites. The new release section is overflowing with the latest offerings from artists on tour this summer. Here are a few fresh warm weather titles that I’ve been digging into this week.

Few bands remain intact after 40 years but the front man for The Fixx says his group’s bond is better than a marriage. The Fixx’s lineup today: Cy Curnin (vocals), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), Dan K. Brown (bass guitar) and Adam Woods (drums) is the same band that delivered the double platinum selling “Reach the Beach” in 1983 containing the hits “One Thing Leads to Another” and “Saved by Zero.”

The 12th studio album by The Fixx, “Every Five Seconds,” was released in early June at the dawn of a four-month U.S. tour.

During an interview with The Maine Edge that also aired on BIG 104 FM, Cy Curnin said his band’s first new album in a decade was an opportunity to freshen the set-list and a chance to show fans what they’ve been cooking up over the last few years.

In his words: “…We decided it was time to change the bath water a bit and get back in the studio.”

The alluring Fixx sound is evident throughout the album’s 10 tracks that are personal, topical and consistently melodic.

Once there was a way to get back home and I think some of us may have found the path on Paul McCartney’s “Got Back” tour. The legend’s first road trek since 2019 is scheduled to include a second show at Fenway Park in Boston as this issue hits the stands.

My attendance at the Orlando show on May 28 was an out-of-the-blue gift from my former morning show partners on “The Mike and Mike Show.”

Mike Elliott and his wife, Kat Walls, live in Orlando where they produce the fabulously successful podcast “The Box of Oddities.”

The news came through a Saturday morning phone call in late February.

“Hey, guess who’s coming to Orlando in May and guess who’s going to be there to see him?” they teased.

We talked about how it had been almost exactly 20 years since we’d seen Paul together in Boston and we dreamed about the songs we hoped to hear him perform in Orlando.

When reality upstages the dream you know you’re at a McCartney show.

One of the most recognizable voices in rock and roll has just released an album that fans of the band with whom he’s most closely associated should seek out immediately.

Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles says his seventh solo record “Day by Day” is an eclectic collection of songs that came together organically. He had the songs, the studio, some A-list friends happy to pitch in, and he had the time to write and record during the lockdown and subsequent quiet spell that allowed this record to gel.

Schmit says he recorded the 12 songs on “Day by Day” at his home studio, “Mooselodge,” with the Santa Monica mountains as a backdrop.

Guests include Lindsey Buckingham, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Benmont Tench, Jim Keltner, John McFee, Matt Jardine and Chris Farmer.

My big takeaway from “Day by Day” is that it sounds like a classic record. The songs, the performances and the production are uniformly superb.

It would appear that The Eagles are content to live on as a live entity only which is a shame when they have a gifted songwriter like Schmit in the band. For my money, “Day by Day” is a much better album than the band’s last effort, “Long Road Out of Eden,” from 2007.

I interviewed Timothy B. Schmit for this story and for my morning radio show on BIG 104 FM.

Fresh off an April tour with Bonnie Raitt, legendary band NRBQ has announced two June concerts in Maine that will undoubtedly go down as unique and unpredictable evenings for audience and band alike.

Operating without a prepared list of songs but drawing from a body of work made up of many hundreds of possibilities dating back to the 1960s, the group says they’ll give the audience what they need, first at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit on Sunday, June 5, then at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath on Friday, June 10.

Led by co-founder Terry Adams, NRBQ has existed in some form since 1965; their 23 studio albums, including the recently released “Dragnet,” represent an extraordinary framework of original genre-jumping riches encompassing rock and roll, rockabilly, country, swing, jazz, blues, pop, boogie-woogie and any combination thereof.

The current iteration of the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet has been intact since 2015 and includes Adams, guitarist Scott Ligon, bassist Casey McDonough and drummer John Perrin.

Ligon has been playing with Terry Adams since 2007, first as a member of Adams’s “Rock and Roll Quartet.” When the bandleader felt that his musicians were worthy of carrying on the NRBQ legacy, he reinstated the band name that had been idle since a 2004 cancer scare had necessitated a break for successful treatment.

“I wanted Terry to be in a situation where he feels comfortable playing any song he’s ever written and I knew that going in,” Ligon told The Maine Edge during an interview. “But sometimes I do get surprised by what he calls for onstage. It could be something we haven’t played for five years.”

Robin Trower has always been a singular guitarist easily identifiable through his tone and choice of notes. He’s not alone in that domain when you consider the work of players like Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler and Jimi Hendrix to cite a few obvious examples, but the list isn’t extensive.

Trower’s instantly recognizable guitar is all over his new record, “No More Worlds to Conquer,” which the musician says was nearly complete at the outset of the pandemic. During the lockdown period, Trower says he put the record back on the lift for some fine-tuning that he believes ended up making for a better album.

Music fans first came to know Robin Trower as a member of Procol Harum, a band he joined shortly after the release of their signature hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” After five albums with Procol Harum, Trower launched a band under his own name.

His 1974 album “Bridge of Sighs” with its haunting title track proved to be his career breakthrough, and while it remains his commercial apex, Trower’s consistent output since, including his work on “No More Worlds to Conquer,” is indication that he’s an even better guitarist today.

“No More Worlds to Conquer” features Trower on guitar and bass, with longtime live collaborators Richard Watts on vocals and Chris Taggart on drums.

The human element plays a key role in the music of Dominic Lavoie. His seventh full-length LP, “Flux” is an alluring and remarkably varied set of original songs full of human moments created by Lavoie over a five-month period while toiling away in his “Shabby Load” recording studio in Portland.

Lavoie’s music encompasses multiple genres but is rooted in the real sounds that have always inspired him. The songs on “Flux” encompass psychedelia, pop, rock and folk, and play out like a dream that you don’t want to end. It’s a galaxy away from technical perfection and a better record for it. These songs, and songs within songs, are full of cool sounds and textures captured the old-fashioned way with analog tape.

Technology’s quantum leap in the digital age has made it possible for musicians to create sonically flawless music without limits but “Flux” doesn’t fit that approach. Lavoie probably could have recorded these songs faster and cheaper using Pro Tools or an equivalent digital audio workstation, but what he might have saved in time and expense would have been lost in feeling.

“It’s not a perfect science,” Lavoie says of his preferred recording method. “It still has little glitches, but I think those glitches add to the flavor of the whole thing.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has announced its 2022 class, representing what the organization’s president and CEO says is one of the most diverse groups of inductees they’ve ever seen.

The Hall’s Class of 2022 is represented by 11 artists and producers and three non-performing industry professionals who will each be ushered into the hall during ceremonies scheduled for this fall in Los Angeles.

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