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Much of the timeless music by The Rascals, the soulful 1960s hit makers behind era-defining hits such as “Groovin’,” “A Beautiful Morning” and “People Got to be Free,” was created out of a fear of being forgotten, according to singer, songwriter and keyboardist Felix Cavaliere. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer tells The Maine Edge that his autobiography, “Memoir of a Rascal,” out this week, is his bid toward setting the record straight about his life in The Rascals and beyond.

Cavaliere says he felt compelled to write his book after the dust had settled from a reunion with his old bandmates that left him with mixed feelings. In 40 years, the original lineup of The Rascals had gotten together only for a few special events before famous fan Steven Van Zandt convinced them to sign on for “Once Upon a Dream” in 2012. The theatrical concert event saw Cavaliere reunited with vocalist and percussionist Eddie Brigati, guitarist and vocalist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Danelli for a show that extended to Broadway followed by a national tour in 2013.

“When we held press conferences, I noticed we all had different answers to the same questions,” Cavaliere said with a laugh. “It threw me for a loop when everybody had a different story, even about how we got our name. I thought it would be a good idea to write something down because I could have sworn I was there.”

Maybe it’s my imagination but it appears that a number of albums being released these days refer in some way to the fact that we’re all way overdue for some good old-fashioned fun. With that spirit, let’s take a listen to some of this month’s most anticipated album releases.

Musician Nash Albert is more than a little scared for many of his friends these days. The Georgian-born rocker, who currently resides in Moscow, says he is devastated with the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Albert would much rather be celebrating the release of his sublime new album, “Yet,” but he’s preoccupied with the horror unfolding in his neighboring country.

“We condemn this invasion,” Albert wrote in an email update for this story. “It’s very, very sad that millions of people are hostages of someone’s crazy political ambitions.”

The last time Marillion uncorked a new album with 2016’s “F.E.A.R.” longtime frontman Steve Hogarth said he was feeling an undefined sense of foreboding regarding the future of the planet which was reflected in that record’s subject matter. “An irreversible political, financial, humanitarian and environmental storm,” was how he described it then before adding “I hope that I’m wrong.” It may not have been the feel-good hit of the year but “F.E.A.R.” was widely received as a top-tier offering from the veteran British prog-rockers.

Hogarth says he’s always had a strange ability to sense what is to come and that sense informed the subject matter for Marillion’s 20th studio album “An Hour Before It’s Dark” in spite of his early fears that nobody would want to listen. It’s nearly an hour of musical drama, action, suspense, horror, romance and gratitude loaded with twists, turns and grooves. Or as Hogarth put it during an interview with The Maine Edge: “It’s a little more kick-ass.”

The long wait is nearly over for fans of The Mallett Brothers Band cooling their heels until the 6-piece multi-genre group plays again. “Thanks for your patience,” Will Mallett said in a message for the band’s followers during an interview with The Maine Edge. “This has been one of the longest stretches we’ve gone without shows. We’re real fired up to get back onstage and to kick things off in Bangor this weekend.”

The band is scheduled to perform back-to-back shows at Bangor Arts Exchange on February 25 and 26, marking the group’s first live performances in nearly three months. The group’s Bangor shows will launch a tour that currently extends through June. The Mallett’s managed to play outdoor shows, drive-in shows and backyard parties during the pandemic, but this outing will mark the band’s first full tour in two years.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its list of nominees for the institution’s class of 2022 last week. First-time nominees among the 17 names include alt-rock icon Beck, 80s hitmakers Duran Duran, rapper and producer Eminem, country-pop legend Dolly Parton, pop superstar Lionel Richie, songstress Carly Simon and pioneering hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest.

Artists and bands become eligible for nomination 25 years following the release of their first commercial recording.

Second-time nominees include ‘80s hitmaker Pat Benatar, Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, ‘80s pop duo Eurythmic, and Dionne Warwick (the second-most charted female vocalist of the rock era).

Artists receiving a third nomination include English songstress Kate Bush, hard rockers Judas Priest, ‘70s glam-rockers the New York Dolls and quirky new-wave rockers Devo.

Hard rock band Rage Against The Machine received a fourth nomination while the Detroit-based proto-punk band MC5 appear on the ballot for a sixth time.

The list of 17 nominees will be whittled down to six or seven inductees that will be announced in May followed by a ceremony and concert this fall with a date and location to be announced.

Votes are cast by a body of more than 1,000 artists, including living inductees, industry members and music historians. Factors taken into account for induction include an artist’s influence, the length and depth of career, and innovation in style and technique.

A fan vote ballot can be cast from the rock hall website. Fans may vote for up to five nominees daily through April 29 at www.Vote.RockHall.com.

This week’s edition of Sound Bites includes the latest releases from four heritage acts with well over 200 years of combined artistry in their rear-view mirrors. Each offers a nod to the past while remaining otherwise affixed to the present.

The last time Jethro Tull released an LP consisting entirely of new material, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was duking it out with “Friends” and “Frasier” for top TV ratings. The legendary prog-rockers have just issued a remarkable return to form with “The Zealot Gene,” a record packed with ambiguously constructed contemporary themes mated with the time-honored acoustic/electric balance of classic Tull.

To put it another way, you’d need to return to the days of “Three’s Company” and “Happy Days” to find a new Jethro Tull album as consistently strong.

The Mallett Brothers Band recently released one of their best albums to date with “Gold Light” and if not for rising Covid numbers, they’d be out on the road now bringing their singular roots rock/Americana/country blend to fans from Sunday River to Richmond, Virginia.

The six-piece band decided to play it smart by postponing January dates, and some out of state dates in February. Some close-to-home February shows are still on, according to the official Mallett Brothers Band social media postings. Fans are encouraged to consult the band’s website: www.MallettBrothersBand.com for up to date information and ticket availability. The band addressed the schedule changes in a mid-January update, writing: “We are very sad to make this decision but we’re certain that we will be able to make this up in the near future when numbers improve and the road is less treacherous for us and our fans.”

New dates for the pair of shows scheduled for Bangor Arts Exchange on January 28 and January 29 will be announced as soon as possible. 

Will Mallett says the last thing the band wanted to do was to postpone or cancel shows but says the health of the fans and the band comes first.

“We could have gone ahead with the shows, but the reality is we could be halfway across the country, and if one of us tests positive, we’d have to scrap everything or quarantine,” Mallett said, adding “We hope to be back in the full swing of things in March, assuming that things look OK.”

It’s clear that the legacy of The Moody Blues means as much to bassist, songwriter and vocalist John Lodge as it does to the biggest fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band.

“I will always be a Moody Blue,” Lodge said during a phone interview with The Maine Edge while discussing his new record “The Royal Affair and After,” packed with charged live renditions of his Moody Blues hits plus tributes to each of his bandmates.

Captured live in Las Vegas in 2019 when Lodge and his 10,000 Light Years Band were part of The Royal Affair Tour with YES, Asia, Carl Palmer and Arthur Brown, with additional songs recorded at subsequent USA tour stops, “The Royal Affair and After” represents for Lodge what he calls “the soundtrack of my life for the last 50-odd years – it’s with me everywhere.”

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