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“If we could find one more wire recording of Robert Johnson, it would be fantastic. If you find something that reveals just a little more of these incredible unique artists, that’s the thing you get excited about.” - John McDermott, producer and catalog manager for Experience Hendrix

The full story behind what might be the strangest chapter of Jimi Hendrix’s all-too-brief career is about to come to light when Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix releases the documentary film “Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix in Maui” on November 20, accompanied by the album “Live in Maui,” released on two CDs and three LPs. The doc traces the origins of Hendrix’s involvement in a counterculture movie shot on the Hawaiian island, and the surprise concert he was coaxed into performing there on the side of a volcano as an attempt to rescue the ill-fated film.

In just 48 months, from his September 1966 arrival in London to his untimely September 1970 death in the same city, Jimi Hendrix managed to turn popular music on its head with the game-changing albums “Are You Experienced” (1967), “Axis: Bold as Love” (1967) and the double LP “Electric Ladyland” (1968). Each release marked a step forward in songwriting, musicianship and production, while a 1970 live album of new material, “Band of Gypsys” showcased a move toward searing funk and rhythm and blues and has been cited as a seminal influence by a range of artists including Prince, Slash, George Clinton, Nile Rodgers and Trey Anastasio.

Hendrix’s guitar mastery inspired both envy and fear in his contemporaries, while his reputation as an outrageous and dynamic live performer made him one of the top concert draws of his time. Offstage, the trailblazing musician was said to be a sweet and self-effacing figure with an eternally curious mind, wicked sense of humor and a deep obsession with music.

I think I had convinced myself that he was going to beat it. No – that he HAD beaten it.

Alex Trebek has been a part of my life for nearly 40 years. He was there when I was a kid, when I was in college, when I was stumbling my way through early adulthood and when I finally more or less grew up. And he was there when I finally realized my dream of appearing on “Jeopardy!” just a hair over two years ago.

It hurts to think about him not being there anymore.

The legendary host of “Jeopardy!” passed away on Sunday after a battle with pancreatic cancer; he was 80 years old. He leaves behind a decades-long television legacy – a legacy the likes of which we have never seen before and will likely never see again.

BANGOR – The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” But as we continue to navigate the turbulent waters of the pandemic, artists and arts organizations have largely been left to find their own way.

The truth is that the arts – particularly live performance – were the first to go away and will likely be the last to return. What will it take to deal with this new reality?

(EDITOR'S NOTE: For reporting purposes, case counts are actually tabulated the prior day and those tabulations are often adjusted up or down. This is due to Maine CDC investigators determining which actual new or current cases may not qualify to be classified as COVID-19 cases, especially when it comes to probable cases. Some days are actually adjusted upward, while cases are more often revised downward upon subsequent investigations. Therefore, The Maine Edge uses adjusted net figures first when determining actual daily variances instead of the number of newly reported cases that may end up not qualifying or being adjusted. In the case of a prior day's figures being revised upward, both will be included since the prior day was underreported.)

DAILY UPDATE: Current information as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 with CDC data as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 8. Some figures have been updated due to newly obtained data.

AUGUSTA - New cases related to COVID-19 continued to post more moderate gains on Tuesday when 133 new cases were reported across the state, which brought Maine’s total case count above the 46K mark to 46,059. Following two straight weeks of week-over-week increases, the increases over Monday and Tuesday fell by about 40 from the previous week’s two-day span, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC).

Monday, 26 October 2020 12:54

Archival excitement this autumn for music fans

Written by Mike Dow

A bounty of previously unheard gems from some of the biggest names in music are seeing the light of day this fall in a variety of archival box set career retrospectives, rarities collections and expanded reissues.

In this unprecedented year without concerts, many artists are looking for ways to continue connecting with fans. A box set covering their career, or an expanded version of a classic album, can be mightily satisfying for the music lover seeking more than just the greatest hits.

35 years after Bob Dylan’s “Biograph” box triggered an industry trend toward multi-disc artist retrospectives, the box set continues to be a sought-after collectible for the music fan who prefers a tangible listening experience in the digital age.

Of course, the audio content included in most box sets is also available in digital form, usually at a considerable savings compared to the price of the physical set. For example the super deluxe version of Prince’s “Sign of the Times” will set you back about $160 as a CD/DVD box. The digital version retails for less than half that.

The website www.Pauseandplay.com has been a leading worldwide source for new music release dates and related information since 1997, offering weekly release schedules for vinyl, CD, digital downloads and reissues, including box sets.

Pauseandplay.com founder and webmaster Gerry Galipault says he believes the Covid-19 pandemic, and its effect on the concert industry, may lead to more record labels, artists and bands giving a closer look at what unreleased goodies could be collecting dust in their archives.

“I would hope so,” Galipault responded during an interview conducted via email. “Look at the success of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours.’ Some random guy makes a TikTok video of himself longboarding while drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice and lip-syncing to ‘Dreams.’ It goes viral, and even Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood do videos in response, then ‘Rumours’ climbs back onto the chart and goes top 10 for the first time in 43 years. That shows the power of a classic song and a classic album.”

BLUE HILL — In these trying times, many arts and cultural organizations are doing their best to find alternate paths forward.

Word, the annual Blue Hill literary arts festival, is no exception. This year, the festival is going online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While festival organizers do say they will miss the chance to bring the various authors to Blue Hill in person, they’ve found that the switch to an online format has opened some new opportunities – opportunities that actually extend beyond the actual festival weekend.

The festival will be available on Zoom October 23-28. The plan is to stick to the annual tradition of three evenings of author conversations and poetry readings. However, this new format gives Word the chance to offer two-session workshops on weeknights in addition to the usual single-session weekend classes.

“This is a luxury the online format gives us and our authors, who will conduct workshops from home rather than traveling to Blue Hill,” Word organizer Sarah Pebworth said in a press release.

If this month's online sessions go well, she added, Word hopes to offer periodic Zoom readings and workshops over the winter, as well as a continuation of the Word Book Club that was introduced in June.

Workshop fees start at $25, and space is limited. Readings and evening conversations are free with attendance unlimited. Registration is required for all events and is available at www.wordfestival.org.

Word is funded by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other generous donors. Word’s fiscal sponsor is Blue Hill Community Development and its media partner is WERU-FM.

Here’s a look at some of what Word has to offer this year.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 12:03

New to view! A Fall 2020 TV preview

Written by Allen Adams

So … seen anything good lately?

For so many of us, the circumstances surrounding the pandemic have left us seeking entertainment from home, so the influx of new content from the various networks and streaming services this fall is of particular importance this year.

It’s an uneven slate, to be sure, with so many of the networks thrown off their production schedules due to the coronavirus-caused shutdown. That being said, there’s still a ton of new stuff out there; no matter what your interest, odds are that you’ll be able to find something that you like. We’ve got comedies and dramas and genre fare, animation and game shows – something for everyone.

Will all of it be good? Heaven’s no. But it never is. There will be some shows that look promising that turn out to be terrible and some that look terrible and turn out to be promising. Such is the joy of new TV.

Rather than break it down by date or by service or by some other randomly-chosen criteria, I figured this year, I’d just keep it simple. We’re going in alphabetical order by title and including the network or streamer on which the program airs. No fuss, no muss.

Check out this selection.

Monday, 05 October 2020 15:55

Here's to beer! Celebrating area craft breweries

Written by Allen Adams

BANGOR – There’s no disputing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses large and small. Everyone has been forces to find ways to adapt, to seek out a new normal and carve out a spot for themselves.

Craft brewing – long a booming industry here in Bangor and all over the state – is no exception.

Here’s the thing: The Maine Edge digs beer. We cover it a fair amount in these pages. We feature it on our cover at least a couple of times a year. We’ve run a beer column in the past. And our editor (also the writer of this piece) enjoys the wares of just about every one of the brewers in the region.

So let’s talk about ways in which we can continue to enjoy those wares while still being responsible and safe, shall we?

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am intimately familiar with the protocols in place for every single area brewery. I’ll freely admit that there are some – even on the list you’ll see later in this piece – that I personally have not visited since the pandemic struck. I’ve visited many of these spots, but not all of them, so I can’t speak in absolutes.

What I WILL say is this: Everything that I’ve seen from the places I HAVE visited tells me that the vast majority of the region’s breweries are taking all of this very seriously and doing their very best to follow the rules and keep their patrons and employees safe. Not that it should surprise anyone familiar with the scene – these are all good people who want nothing more than to make good, interesting brews and do right by the world.

And that’s the thing – even in the midst of all this, these people are still making really good beer.

BREWER - What began a little more than six months ago as a fun exercise in a Brewer basement at the outset of the pandemic now involves recording contracts, a record label, a new YouTube show due to launch soon and even “American Idol.”

The Facebook group Quarantine Karaoke has become a global sensation, and no one is more surprised and gratified than its creator.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, Joseph Meyers, then a resident of Brewer, sought a therapeutic outlet, and like he usually does, he turned to music to make him feel better.

“I was in the living room with my wife, and things were getting shut down, and the hits just seemed to keep coming,” Meyers said during an interview with The Maine Edge.

Meyers had been a member of Bangor area top-40 cover band Trendy Robots, and prior to that, a progressive alternative band that focused on original music called Most of Us Can Stand.

Seeking a positive outlet to channel his feelings about the grim pandemic news, Meyers decided to go to his basement where he has a piano.

“I regularly go down there to play and record music, it’s just part of who I am,” he said.

Meyers recorded a song and posted it on his personal Facebook page with the status: “Quarantine Karaoke.” As he walked up his basement stairs, he realized that he felt better, calling it a “therapeutic event.”

“When I woke up the next day, I had the thought that more people should do that, it really does help you cope with things.”

That was the moment he created a Facebook group called Quarantine Karaoke, then uploaded the first video, and encouraged people to join, share and record themselves singing their favorite songs from home. Within the first 24 hours, 10,000 people joined his group.

“All I did was click a button and say ‘go.’ It really blew up from there,” said Meyers.

Mill towns. There are plenty of them here in the state of Maine, towns that sprang up around the paper mills that dotted the landscape for decades. These towns have uniquely symbiotic relationships with the mills at their centers – relationships that aren’t always fully healthy.

Author Kerri Arsenault’s new book “Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains” (St. Martin's Press, $27.99) takes the reader inside one such Maine town. Mexico and neighboring Rumford have been defined for over 100 years by the paper mill. Over that time, the mill has been the primary employer, providing a good living to generations of residents and serving as the economic backbone of the town.

But there are other aspects of these relationships as well, caveats and consequences that spring from the realities of the bargain being struck.

Arsenault was kind enough to answer some questions about “Mill Town,” the process of writing it and what the many complexities that come with telling a story about where you come from.

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