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I have a feeling we’re in for a deluge of new music titles as artists everywhere prepare to release the fruits of their lockdowns in hopes they’ll soon be able to take the stage in support. Here are a few recently released LPs that should not be overlooked in the pending flood.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 13:19

Maine’s music scene – one year later

Written by Mike Dow

Maine’s music scene is still quiet one year after the start of the pandemic but there are signs that things are beginning to move in the right direction, according to some of Maine’s music-makers and presenters.

It’s hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since the greater Bangor area’s entertainment landscape was transformed by the rise of Waterfront Concerts and Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.

To celebrate this milestone, The Maine Edge is asking readers to share their picks for the 10 best shows presented at the venue since it opened. One winner, selected at random, will receive a prize package including ticket vouchers to exchange for an upcoming show of the winner’s choice courtesy of Waterfront Concerts.

The hits just keep on coming. Here’s a look at some just-released and soon-to-come music offerings, with plenty of tunes from old friends and new faces alike.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced 16 nominees for consideration to be inducted into the hall later this year for its 36th class. This year’s nominees include Todd Rundgren, The New York Dolls, Foo Fighters, The Go-Gos, LL Cool J, Chaka Kahn, Fela Kuti, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Carole King, Rage Against The Machine, Devo, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, and Dionne Warwick. From that group, it’s expected that at least 6 will see induction during ceremonies tentatively set for this fall. The final list of inductees will be released in May, according to the Rock Hall.

Artists become eligible for induction to the rock hall 25 years after the release of their first record.

There is a bit of mystery regarding the process of how the list of nominees gets whittled down to the final inductees. As Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris told The Maine Edge a year ago “The industry vote is what ultimately determines election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” He explained that the industry vote is made up of more than 1,000 voters, many of whom are already inductees.

Until April 30, fans are encouraged to cast a vote for up to five nominees daily at www.vote.rockhall.com. As of this writing, world music pioneer and multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti is the top fan-vote getter with nearly 125,000 votes. Tina Turner is in second place with more than 88,000.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 12:55

Forthcoming archival classic rock releases

Written by Mike Dow

Never-before-heard music from pivotal moments in the respective careers of Bob Dylan, The Band, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and The Who, will be the drawing card for a number of forthcoming archival classic rock box sets. Designed for the super-fan looking for a deeper dive, these sets can be pricey, but they’re usually manufactured in limited quantities, which could turn some into sought-after collectibles on the secondary market when they’re gone.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 13:32

New LPs on the way from Foo Fighters, Weezer, Hagar

Written by Mike Dow

It’s been a great week of listening here at The Maine Edge. I’m sure there are other things happening in the world that deserve my attention, but with so much fine new music materializing at the moment, it will have to wait. Here’s a sampling of titles just released or due next week.

PORTLAND – Much has occurred in the lives of Portland-based alt-punk-grunge rockers theWorst since they formed and embarked on their first nationwide tour five years ago. The band’s celebrated 2017 debut “Jane Doe Embryo” was an aggressive and authentic “How do you do?” but according to lead singer and guitarist Brooke Binion, the best is yet to come.

As this story goes to print, Binion, bassist Will Bradford (SeepeopleS) and drummer Craig Sala (Paranoid Social Club) are wrapping sessions for their sophomore LP “Yes Regrets” at Chillhouse Studios in Boston with producer Will Holland. No second album syndrome for this band, Binion says, adding she isn’t worried about heightened expectations. “I think I’ll be more worried about topping this one to be honest,” she said. “It’s different, but it’s a lot more mature and I’m really proud of it.”

Iconic progressive rock guitarist Steve Hackett says he’s had a most productive lockdown.

The former guitarist for Genesis (1970-1977) has just released his 25th solo album, his first acoustic offering since 2008. Hackett says the 11 pieces of music recorded for “Under a Mediterranean Sky” take inspiration from his extensive travels in and around the Mediterranean with his wife, Jo, whom he credits with the idea.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Hackett says his goal was to not only pay tribute to the extraordinary beauty of the Mediterranean but to offer a transportive experience for listeners who’d like to break away from their current inertia and take the journey with him.

When Hackett’s live performances last year vaporized in the wake of COVID, he rescheduled his Genesis Revisited tour “Seconds Out and More” for this fall in the U.K. with forthcoming dates to be announced soon for the U.S.  

Last summer, Hackett released his memoir, “A Genesis in My Bed,” an engrossing and revealing read that shed light on his life in and out of music, his years spent creating classic prog-rock albums with his former band and the myriad musical journeys undertaken during his solo career, all delivered with a hefty dose of levity.

Each piece on “Under a Mediterranean Sky” is devoted to a different part of the Mediterranean landscape while highlighting the regions’ cultures and indigenous instruments. It’s a beautifully written and recorded album centered by Hackett’s classical guitar playing and longtime collaborator Roger King’s orchestral arrangements.

It’s been suggested that you have to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues. For guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader, Andy Watts, the blues is a way of life (“certainly here in the Middle East,” he jokes), and his dues were paid up a long time ago. Watts has been proclaimed (by Blues and Muse magazine) Israel’s “Ambassador of the Blues,” which is probably accurate when you consider Watts’s longevity as an Israeli blues performer and the fact that he has repeatedly brought many of America’s greatest blues artists to his country.

Watts’s fifth album “Supergroove” is a fully charged dose of the blues, tinged with rock, soul, funk, and R&B, that he says is a reflection of his live show. Produced by six-time Grammy nominee Kenny Neal and released on Neal’s label, the album features ten tracks of Watts with his 9-piece band blazing through five originals and interpretations of five blues classics from Freddie King, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin, and Watts’s greatest influence, Peter Green, the late founder of Fleetwood Mac.

Guests on “Supergroove” include Blues Hall of Fame inductee Joe Louis Walker, singer Eliza Neals, Roy Young, and Israeli vocalists Danny Shoshan and Gadi Altman.

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