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Maranacook teen following his dreams PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Sunday, 10 October 2010 16:17


I caught up with Rob Burnell early Saturday evening at Cattleman’s BBQ on Silver Street in Waterville.

At a mere 17 and a senior at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Burnell said that he’s been performing in public in the Waterville area for the past two years, and recently started picking up gigs at Higher Grounds in Hallowell.

He has a sweet voice and does well on the acoustic guitar. He’s even written a few songs of his own, which he incorporates into his performances along with tunes like “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks and songs by Keith Urban and John Mayer, among others.

 A beautiful song called “Love Me Anyway” is one that Burnell wrote at age 11, when he first started learning how to play guitar. He said that the song is about his family and his love for them. Pretty impressive for an 11-year-old child to have such emotional insight which he could channel through his music. His parents, Linda and Doug, must be pretty proud of him. He has a demo CD of original tunes called “Confessions From the Tip Jar.”

He said he was inspired by his cousins who played music, and he took lessons at Perkins Music, which used to be located in Winthrop, for four years.

“It came to me fast,” he said.

He also plays at private parties and hopes to go to college at Keene State in New Hampshire, Berklee School of Music in Boston or New York University, with Berklee being his first choice.

When I asked him what inspires him, he told me that he is inspired by his dreams.

“My goals are the biggest things that keep me going,” he said.

I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Rob in the coming months and years, and hope he gets accepted to Berklee.








Plenty of venues to choose from in capital area PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Friday, 24 September 2010 18:29

The capital area is really picking up in the way of venues. There are several bars in Hallowell, with a couple of new ones recently opening and a couple of bars under new ownership.


Last weekend, I went and checked out a couple of them. I checked out Hoxter’s because I heard they had good food and I wanted to listen to the Jazzy Chas Trio perform. I’ve know Chas since he was probably in middle school. What a talented young man. He puts on a good performance. The music was great. He was playing the drums at this gig. He usually sings and does beat box – which he is really good at by the way. I think they’re playing again this weekend at Hoxter’s. I’d suggest people stop by to see Chas and his group in action. Oh yeah, the food is good and the atmosphere is relaxed. Nice place to go for a quiet evening out.


Afterwards, I went to Higher Grounds where a couple of fellows named Walt and Ryan were performing. What great acoustic performers and beautiful singers they are.  I was completely in awe of the guitar playing and singing that came from them. Walt belts out some Roy Orbison. That was the first time that I’ve been in Higher Grounds under new ownership, and I think it will be a success. The young man who is running it, Sean Gallagher, has a lot of energy. I think he’s going to bring a wonderful dynamic to the new place.


Speaking of new owners, I had the opportunity to meet Laurie Connelly, who operates The Kennebec Wharf with her husband, Tim. She seems like a really nice person with a lot of energy, as well. I think they’ll make a good fit in Hallowell.


It must be nice for the veteran musicians to have all these venues to play in and to see the younger group of musicians working their way up through the ranks and making a name for themselves.

The musicians who have been around for a while, no doubt, have either given lessons to some of these younger musicians or influenced them through their own passion to play.


I know when I met up this summer with a former intern who worked under me at the paper and saw how much he had learned and grown as a journalist, I felt really good.  It’s rewarding to know that you can, in some small way, help someone out. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.


Anyway, it ought to be interesting to see how the music scene in central Maine plays out this year. I sure hope that people support all the venues and musicians.


Speaking of venues, there are also a few new ones in Augusta. I’ll be checking those places out soon and writing about them. In the meantime, be sure to listen to the music!


Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 18:35
A bit of Britain joins Hallowell scene PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Saturday, 18 September 2010 10:37


During my years as a reporter at an Augusta weekly, I had the chance to write about a lot of bands in the capital area. I had a lot of fun doing it because it brought me back many years – as far back as high school even – and it brought back lots of good memories. I wrote about people such as Archie and his days at American Lunch in Augusta (for you old-timers like me who remember that period); the Boneheads; Rockit Band, which at the time included Tim Leighton, Skip Wheeler, Craig Record and Dick Holmes, some of whom, by the way,  played in many bands together, springing all the way back to Cony High School in the late ‘60s and 1970s.


In this blog, you’ll regularly read about newcomers on the music scene and some old-timers, venues where music is happening, and a slew of other things taking place in central Maine and, at times, other parts of the state.


Speaking of newcomers, I heard that a British fellow by the name of John Hasnip was playing tunes by the Beatles, Elvis Costello and other British bands at Easy Street Lounge in Hallowell. Since I always loved the Beatles and I have a fondness for Great Britain, having spent a couple of weeks there a few years ago, I decided to check it out.


Yep, he’s English all right – accent and all. And he has a sense of humor like many of the British that I met on my trip to London, Bath, Stratford upon Avon and Liverpool.


He moved to Augusta - of all places - after meeting and marrying a lady who teaches school here. He said the geography of central Maine reminds him of England, in the fact that you can travel to other towns in no time. He’s from a city called Yeovil, which is not too far from Bath, England, and is a beautiful part of that country. If you ever go to England, I suggest visiting Bath and the surrounding area. Very nice.


He grew up listening to the Beatles, he said, and had a band called Blue Jay Way, which was also the name of a song written by George Harrison and  was on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

Blue Jay Way performed all original tunes and even had the chance to perform at the Cavern – the Beatles home venue – in Liverpool.


John said he’s impressed with Hallowell’s music scene and got hooked up playing at Easy Street by going to the open mic nights on Wednesdays with Bogie.


Those of you who like listening to the Beatles and other British bands that you may like or want to find out about, might want to check out John Hasnip some Thursday evening at Easy Street Lounge and give him a big welcome to town.




Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 13:32
Augusta musicians create own music PDF Print E-mail
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 22 August 2010 11:36



 By Joyce Grondin


AUGUSTA – Four young men who have been musical friends since grade school have brought their talents together – all within the last few months - to write and play original tunes under the name of Massive Exit.


Seth Pillsbury, Chris McInnis, Greg French and Dave Lumbard, all in their mid 20s,  have completed a five-song demo of original songs which they call a cross between Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder, and plan to get 500 CDs distributed by the end of the year.


It all started this spring when Pillsbury and McInnis were working together on songs, with Pillsbury writing the music and McInnis writing the lyrics. Then, the two friends ran into French and Lumbard who were doing the same thing, so they joined forces and the result was Massive Exit.


They’ve had a great reception, performing at several private parties and festivals throughout the summer, including Hempstock on Aug. 22, with the goal of building a solid fan-base, Pillsbury said.


“It was a real nice balance,” French said of the four musicians bringing their songwriting skills together. Pillsbury plays guitar, French plays bass, Lumbard plays drums and McInnis is the band’s vocalist. They complement one another, French explained, because Pillsbury is good with the technical side of creating songs and McInnis brings a lot of emotion to the tunes, while French and Lumbard have some upbeat tunes that blend in as well. “That chemistry is still there,” McInnis said.


They get along well and have no problems experimenting with the music for the sake of the final outcome.


“You can’t hold an attachment to something. You just got to do what works,” McInnis said.

Pillsbury said much of their inspiration comes from local musicians who they grew up listening to and who helped set the tone in the capital area.


Their songs include titles such as “Calvin Cassidy,” a song about a loser, “Hotty McHot” and “Southbound.”


They’re also scheduled to perform at Harvest Fest on Oct. 3 in Harmony.

Check out the local bars and venues under the Bars and Pubs tab on this Web site to see if they’re scheduled to perform anywhere near you.


You can also check out their Web site and listen to their tunes at



Last Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2010 10:37

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