Music (458)

It’s Go-Go’s time.

The last two years have been marked by a series of events that have more than rekindled affection for rock’s first and only chart-topping self-composed and performed female band. The 2020 documentary “The Go-Go’s” presented the group’s colorful story, from late ‘70s LA punk rockers to early ‘80s pop-star pin-ups to their initial breakup and beyond, in a remarkably candid film that became one of the highest rated rock-docs of recent years. That was followed by “Club Zero,” the first new music from The Go-Go’s in nearly 20 years, the publication of bassist Kathy Valentine’s revelatory memoir “All I Ever Wanted,” and finally, the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Coinciding with The Go-Go’s induction last weekend is the release of drummer Gina Schock’s revealing “Made in Hollywood” coffee table book of personal photos, memorabilia and Go-Go’s-related ephemera featuring contributions from each member of the band.

Schock was The Go-Go’s unofficial archivist, snapping photos backstage, onstage, at the after-parties, at home, at video shoots and in the studio. Her collection of private photos and essays reveals a side of The Go-Go’s fans weren’t privy to during the band’s refined ‘80s peak but it’s a collection that means the world to Schock today, as she told The Maine Edge during the following interview.

As a member of celebrated Boston-based folk-rock trio Lula Wiles, Farmington native Eleanor Buckland loves to defy expectations while tinkering with the edges and boundaries of convention. The group’s third LP “Shame and Sedition,” released last May, found the three friends who first made music together at a Maine fiddle camp pushing the envelope both lyrically and musically. Buckland amplifies that notion on her indie rock-steeped solo debut “You Don’t Have to Know,” a project she says led to a shedding of her own personal boundaries and an acceptance of who she is as a person.

“You Don’t Have to Know” is largely a collaboration between Buckland and Adam Iredale-Gray, the producer and guitarist behind the board for Lula Wiles’ 2016 self-titled debut. A prolific songwriter, Buckland says she’s been stockpiling songs that didn’t feel quite right for the group and credits her producer for sparking the idea of a solo album. Eight additional musicians assisted in bringing her intimate songs to life during sessions that unfolded in five different studios over a period of three years.

Buckland’s new songs cover a broad swath of emotions and observations that will likely resonate with many listeners in this uncertain age. She sings of damaged love, struggles with anxiety and feelings of helplessness, but also of finding hope and peace in solitude and of finally accepting that it’s OK not to have an answer for every little thing.

There’s a nip in the air but the fall music marketplace is starting to heat up with new titles on the way from Lana Del Ray, Duran Duran, Elton John, ABBA, Eric Clapton and Taylor Swift.

This week we take a closer listen to four new LPs that have appeared in recent weeks.

One of the best power pop albums of the year has just been released by a rock and roll MVP you’ve heard many times, although you might not have known it.

“Kasim 2021” is the fourth solo album from Kasim Sulton, longtime Todd Rundgren collaborator, bassist and singer for Utopia, and on projects for Hall & Oates, Scandal, Joan Jett, Blue Oyster Cult, and over 50 more. Sulton’s musicianship and vocals were an integral part of Meat Loaf’s 50 million-selling “Bat Out of Hell” and its chart-topping sequel.

“Kasim 2021” could be one of the most uplifting records you hear this year, with its buoyant melodies, positive message and musical hooks that lend it an instant likability. The strong song craftsmanship comes from Sulton and collaborator Phil Thornalley (The Cure, Natalie Imbruglia, Bryan Adams), whom the artist credits with giving him the kick he needed to start a solo record.

The heart of Texas guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan has never strayed far from the blues that first grabbed him as a teenager in the 1960s. He jumped in headfirst without a backup plan starting in Dallas before moving onto Austin where he cofounded The Fabulous Thunderbirds and helped initiate a national blues revival that endured through the 1980s. With his solo career, now in its fourth decade, Vaughan took charge on a series of acclaimed albums where his signature attack, tone, and less is more approach to soloing is as instantly identifiable as his lead vocals.

U.K. label The Last Music Company has distilled the best of Jimmie Vaughan’s recorded legacy into “The Jimmie Vaughan Story,” a 5-CD anthology filled with highlights from every era of his career, including collaborations with his late brother, Stevie Ray, and a who’s who in rock and blues. Included are a number of unreleased recordings from Vaughan’s personal archive, as well as a 240-page fully illustrated hardcover book containing his self-penned story.

When two-time Grammy-nominated musician Tim Reynolds received a call from a Maine record label about possibly issuing a benefit single, he didn’t hesitate to offer up a tune to aid folks in his adopted hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. According to Will Bradford, co-founder of Portland-based CommunityZ RecordZ, proceeds from Reynolds’ song will help underprivileged people in the town where the Dave Matthews Band was formed.

The label has released Reynolds’ song “Guardian Angels,” a percolating acoustic instrumental featuring drums and percussion by Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce, Maceo Parker), available exclusively for the time being at

The multi-instrumentalist and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band saw this opportunity as a chance to make a difference for non-profit group PHAR (Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents). The association advocates for and with public housing residents, according to their website.

Throughout the Covid pandemic, small venues specializing in live music have been hit especially hard. Many of these venues are where up and coming artists first find an audience, but tragically too many of them around the country are holding on by a shoestring if they haven’t already been shuttered. The nonprofit philanthropic organization Live Music Society has announced a third round of grants to be awarded this fall to small music venues (maximum capacity of 300) across the U.S. to help them hold on and hopefully regain their footing.

Since it came into existence in 2020, Live Music Society (LMS) has been committed to preventing the demise of the small music venue sector by issuing a series of grants. $1.2 Million has been distributed to date to 36 grantees according to LMS Executive Director, Cat Henry, who says the impact of losing small music venues would have a knock-on effect to the industry as a whole.

Rocker Steven Van Zandt has led a rich and multi-faceted career over the last five decades. The longtime guitarist and singer for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band tells The Maine Edge his life has been so broad and varied in scope that when he sat down to write his new memoir “Unrequited Infatuations” (Hachette Books), he was surprised to discover more than a few things about himself.

How do you deliver a story about a kid obsessed with rock and roll, first as a fan and observer, and then as an active participant in some of its greatest moments? It had to include his life as an anti-apartheid activist, starting in the mid-1980s, and his surprise turn as an actor, beginning with his role as the tough, funny and cool-headed Silvio Dante on 78 episodes of “The Sopranos.”

Van Zandt struck upon the obvious solution when he told his publisher that he would write the book in his voice. If you’ve heard his colorful rock-noir delivery on the radio, you know the voice. The story he tells in that voice is spellbinding, and throughout the book’s voluminous twists and turns, Van Zandt lays it out in often revelatory detail.

It’s almost impossible to predict the next move by progressive rock legend Rick Wakeman. The keyboardist, songwriter, radio and TV host, producer, author and actor has become almost as well known in his native U.K. for his comedic exploits, and that trademark wit was at full throttle during an interview with The Maine Edge. 

Wakeman’s virtuosic keyboard skills graced classic albums by the band YES, along with iconic songs by David Bowie, Elton John, Cat Stevens, T. Rex, and Al Stewart, among others. His solo output is astonishing in breadth and volume, comprising dozens of entries. Wakeman’s gold-selling concept albums include “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” and “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.”

His sold-out 2019 “The Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour,” a mix of solo piano performance and humorous stories, provided a spellbinding evening for anyone lucky enough to score a ticket. Wakeman says he’s keen to return to America next month to take that concept to the next level with the “Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour,” telling The Maine Edge, “I’m calling it that because it was postponed four times. By the time you see me next month, it will be called “The Unbelievably Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour.”

That tour is scheduled to begin October 13 in Natick, MA, followed by dates in Derry, NH, Northampton, MA, New London, CT, and Fall River, MA. You can find the complete schedule at

When the band Tesla took the stage in Roanoke, Virginia, last week, it was a moment that guitarist and founding member Frank Hannon says he won’t forget. August was supposed to be go-time for Tesla’s “Let’s Get Real!” tour when Covid struck each member of the band, setting the trek back more than a month. Now healthy, and with an attitude of gratitude, Hannon says Tesla is recharged and ready to rock.

Hannon, along with bassist and band co-founder Brian Wheat, lead singer Jeff Keith, drummer Troy Luccketta and guitarist Dave Rude, plan to do just that on September 23 when the “Let’s Get Real” tour arrives at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts, with southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Four decades after the earliest incarnation of Tesla first got together in Sacramento, California, Hannon says he’s most proud that Tesla’s songs that have withstood the test of time. “To see people respond to our songs 35 years later, because the music makes them feel good, that is a feat,” Hannon said, adding “Songwriting is the most important part of what we do.”

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