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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.

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.

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