Music (394)

As tipped in these pages last spring, The Beatles plan to issue a variety of remixed and remastered editions of “Abbey Road” this fall to mark the 50th anniversary of the album many fans consider the group’s magnum opus.

It’s comforting and reassuring when a longtime favored artist or band releases a new work that stands with the very best material you’ve heard them create. A perfect example is “Face the Sun” – the just-released eighth studio album from Willie Wisely.

“Face the Sun” is quintessential Wisely - a contemporary power-pop classic that reunites him with producer John “Strawberry” Fields, the man behind the glass for the singer songwriter’s 1997 classic “Turbosherbert.”

I expect a Wisely album to be good, whether it’s a solo record, an album from his Willie Wisely Trio or one of his side projects like Secret Friend and The Lover The Keeper. The man seems incapable of writing a bad song which automatically fuels expectations for fans. One of the surprises surrounding “Face the Sun” is that the lion’s share of its songs were castoffs from previous projects.

“This is like a greatest-hits record full of songs that have never been released,” Wisely said with a laugh during a phone interview.

PORTLAND - Thousands of Guster fans will converge on Maine this weekend for the band’s third annual destination “On The Ocean Weekend” event, scheduled to include a broad palette of music, food, special activities and public service.

For Guster guitarist and Portland resident Adam Gardner, it’s another opportunity to connect the band’s fans with the community he calls home.

Melodic metal band Weapons of Anew are set to perform their first Maine show on August 3 at Aura in Portland, as openers for Creed’s Scott Stapp and Texas rockers Messer.

Weapons of Anew released their debut album “The Collision of Love and Hate” in the fall of 2017, and have already recorded most of its follow-up, due for release early in 2020, according to lead singer Ray West.

Weapons of Anew is comprised of West (also a member of the band Spread Eagle), former Axiom/HavocHate guitarist Freddy Ordine, bassist Stefan “Reno” Catrupi, Chris Manfre on drums and guitarist Kris Norris on guitar.

In the following interview with The Maine Edge, West credits each band member’s broad range of musical influence for Weapons of Anew’s unique sound, and he reveals how the band’s second album will differ from the group’s debut.

Dispatch, the long-serving multi-genre indie roots jam band, is set to play their only New England headlining show of the year this Saturday, July 20, at Thompson’s Point in Portland, with special guests Moon Taxi.

Dispatch is performing a limited number of Summer Stops 2019 concerts in support of the new live album “Live 18” and their 2018 studio album “Location 13.” The band is currently working on material for its eighth studio album.

“We’re no strangers to Maine and we’re wicked psyched to be returning for this show,” says Dispatch front man and multi-instrumentalist Chad Stokes.

BANGOR - Pop punk band blink-182 brought their unique sound to the Waterfront Concerts stage on July 13, along with hip-hop icon Lil Wayne.

Our Kevin Bennett was there - take a look at some of the best and brightest images pulled from a big, loud night.


ROCKLAND - Blues lovers from around the world are fixing to pitch a wang dang doodle at this year’s 26th edition of the North Atlantic Blues Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14 at Harbor Park in Rockland.

“There’s something at this festival for every blues fan,” says Paul Benjamin, founder of the North Atlantic Blues Festival and a member of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.

“If you like female vocalists, Texas blues, Mississippi blues, Chicago blues, piano-based blues – you’ll find a lot to like at this year’s festival,” he said. “We try to represent as many different styles of blues as possible with our festival lineup.”

Benjamin says this year’s edition of the North Atlantic Blues Festival will feature seven acts making their first festival appearance with four others that last appeared years ago.

“There’s so much great talent out there, we try to keep the lineup fresh each time,” Benjamin explained of his methodology used to determine the festival’s artist lineup each year.

“We have a five-year rule that if you play the festival, it will be at least that long before you can play it again,” he added.

As a musician, composer and producer, Robert Berry has been part of an elite musical sector for decades. Perhaps best known for his work with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer as songwriter, vocalist and bassist for 3 (an offshoot of prog-rock legends Emerson, Lake & Palmer), the trio released one album for Geffen Records – 1988’s “To the Power of Three.”

A planned follow-up record was never finished, and the trio disbanded as friends after one successful tour. Emerson subsequently reunited with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer while Berry busied himself with a dizzying succession of musical projects including GTR (with Steve Howe of Yes), Alliance, and the Greg Kihn Band.

Fast forward to 2015 and the release of an archival live recording titled “Live Boston ’88.”

Berry and Emerson were thrilled not only because the album was so well received but that 3’s brief existence had been given new life.

The musicians began calling each other, and soon plans were hatched for 3.2, with a new label (Frontiers Records) and a deal for a full-length album. New songs were being written and recordings were underway when the unthinkable happened.

Just days before Emerson was due to arrive in Japan to fulfill a promise for a concert promoter, “The Jimi Hendrix of the keyboard” (in Berry’s words) took his own life at home in Santa Monica.

Emerson had been grappling with a series of escalating health issues, including a pending heart problem, impacting his ability to play at the level he felt his fans expected.

“That, combined with Keith’s love/hate relationship with live performance made him feel powerless,” Berry told me during an interview.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 20:07

Coming soon in reissues and archival music

Written by Mike Dow

Have you picked up a whiff of 50th anniversary nostalgia? It seems to have permeated most pop culture corners this year. Poor 2019 can’t catch a break while that pesky summer of ’69 keeps coming back in the form of lunar commemorations, Woodstock box sets and Chappaquiddick documentaries.

Expect another round of 50th anniversary music box sets to be announced for this year’s fourth quarter as labels canvass the vaults for previously unreleased content. Until then, a number of intriguing archival releases and reissues are anticipated.

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 22:50

Phish gives Bangor twin top-drawer performances

Written by Mike Dow

BANGOR – Anticipation was high when Phish performed two distinctly different shows back to back at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor on July 25 and 26.

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