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Crosby and Nash still have the harmony PDF Print E-mail
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 14:07
 

 

I had the opportunity to go to State Theatre in Portland on May 21, 2011, to see David Crosby and Graham Nash perform.

 

Let me tell you, those guys have still got it and then some. What a great performance.

 

They basically look the same with a few extra years added on and the gray hairs to show it, but their voices and musical abilities are as crisp as ever.

 

I’m starting to get used to going to shows where the majority of the crowd is in their 40s and 50s. Nonetheless, it’s wonderful when you see some younger people in attendance who appreciates the same music. I sat next to a young couple, Molly and Kevin, who said they’re students at Bates College in Lewiston. They both said they got into the music through their parents who were avid listeners of Crosby, Nash and others while they were growing up.

 

Nash came on stage and performed barefooted the entire evening. Of course, there were some comfortable-looking carpets between his feet and the floor.

The two started off with older songs like “Eight Miles High” and “I Used To Be A King,” and went on to sing some of their popular tunes from the Crosby, Stills and Nash and CSN&Y days, such as “Marrakesh Express,” “Long Time Gone,” “Almost Cut My Hair” and “Déjà Vu.”


Joining the two musical icons were lead guitarist Dean Parks (who worked with Steeley Dan), bassist and former Portland boy Kevin McCormick (who performed with Jackson Browne), Stevie D. on drums, and David Crosby’s long lost adopted son, keyboardist James Raymond (who has a list of musical accomplishments of his own before meeting his biological father and hooking up with him to collaborate).

 

They performed a beautiful tune called “Grace” that was written and composed by James Raymond. They also sang “Guinevere” with some great harmonies as always. Crosby told the audience that, throughout the years, “Guinevere” had always been performed using one acoustic guitar and two people harmonizing. This time, there was some bass in the background and a three-part harmony.

 

They also rocked the crowd with tunes like “I’m Flying In Winchester Cathedral” and “Wooden Ships.”

 

With a standing ovation at the packed house, the band was easily persuaded to come back on stage at the end of the show to perform “Teach Your Children.”

 

‘Til next time.

 

-Joyce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 May 2011 18:26
 
This has been the winter of my discontent PDF Print E-mail
Written by Admin   
Friday, 22 April 2011 16:58

By Liz Betit

 

I so support what Joyce is trying to do here on this Web site by highlighting musicians and live music in Maine. We all know that we ARE so blessed to have the fine music that rolls around our great state.

 

My intent was (and still is) to join Joyce in keeping the focus on the Maine live music scene and to blog once a month, but I have been remiss and Joyce has been patient.

My discontent began with moving last October into an environment, which on many fronts, was unpalatable to me. Among them was a ‘writer’s block.’ So, recently, yet again, I have moved.

 

To put it plain and simple: moving sucks! I will not sugar coat the event. But one of its underlying features is that it can discombobulate your life. For six months I have been walking around internally discombobulated. I need a certain level of organization to function and deal with the many irons that I have going in the fire right now. I am not talking extreme, but I need to know where the things I want and need are.

 

My discontent was deepened further by the unexpected death of one of my old brothers, of which I am still processing.

 

I had the feeling that the Grim Reaper was following me when it took a dear old friend of mine on my birthday, followed by two ladies from my childhood neighborhood in Augusta.

 

And then, it rocked my world again by taking my “little brother,” Ian Parker, away. The words dried up inside of me, the sun shined a little less bright, the winter winds seemed harsher and the voice in my heart grew silent.

 

I have been lost in all the losses – unable to find my voice.

 

And then on Sunday, April 17, family, friends, fans and admirers of Ian gathered at Hallowell City Hall Auditorium to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

 

Chris Poulson and her minions deserve a standing ovation for the effort they put out on Ian’s behalf. Musicians came from far and wide to honor Ian with music and song.

 

The heartfelt music, particularly “In the Arms of an Angel,” which was sung wondrously by Marcia Gallagher with back up by Chris, Val Bennett and Tess Zardus, Trish Thompson and Heidi Dellaire was simply beautiful, and in some ways, inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

I felt that place where the words come from within me - that inner place where it seemed that the door had been shut and locked tight – slowly begin to open. I wanted to say something at Ian’s memorial but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the courage – that door was opening up and the current coming through was flooding me with lots of feelings. I couldn’t articulate then, but I can now.

 

Ian Parker was somebody special. He had that extra “sparkle” in his eye, in the glint of his grin, the timber of his voice. He was a sweet, sensitive, loving person. He had the gift of putting smiles on people’s faces; brightening their day.

 

He didn’t just like to entertain people; Ian was out for a reaction. He had a tremendous sense of humor and liked to pull pranks on people, and he had no problem committing himself to following through on his “devilish” plans – even if it took time.

 

I first met Ian at Slates Restaurant. I had been waitressing there for about two years when Heckle and Jeckle (Ian and Josh Robbins) joined me on the breakfast/lunch shift. Josh and I immediately got along, but Ian and I had a rocky start.

 

You see, I think Ian realized from the ‘git go’ that he had a ‘live wire’ on the line – a gullible person. So, he proceeded to prank me on each and every moment available to him, both in and out of Slates Restaurant.

 

The kitchen at Slates in those days was REALLY small for a commercial enterprise and some amazing culinary delights came out of there. Some pretty fancy dancing was done by employees who had to navigate it. Ian decided that every time I came into the kitchen he would jump in my way with his big ole’ grin and say, “Hi.” About the 20th time in the first hour, on a 4-hour shift, it began to get old I told him to knock it off.

But this only increased Ian’s consternation to do it.

 

And where was Josh in all of this? He was taking it all in and decided to put Liz Betit in his ventriloquist act and before I knew it, Ian and Josh and half the town were imitating me.

 

One morning, as I was walking down the street, I heard a voice call out my name. I scanned the buildings on the opposite side to look for the person who had called my name. And there it was: somebody’s moon shaking out the window at me. I knew who that bare ass belonged to – Ian Parker. For the next year, I saw more of Ian’s moon than I did his face!

 

One night, while I was at the Worster House visiting friends, he covered the windshield of my car with ‘whitey tighties’ with a big pair or red plaid boxers in the middle. I knew who had done it even though Ian was nowhere in sight. I scooped up those shorts and dumped them on his doorstep.

 

The next time I saw Ian we had a good laugh about the underwear, the moons and everything else and from that moment on, we were friends. I know that he cared deeply for me and that I was one of his favorite people around. And, I must say, that the feeling was mutual.

 

When I had my first move back in October, I had asked Ian to help me but he told me that he couldn’t because he was moving the same day. But guess what? In the middle of my move, Ian showed up to help with one of the loads.

 

Seeing him perform on video at the memorial was both joyous and sad to watch. I am grateful that Bogey captured those moments of Ian’s brilliant, joyful playing. He had a style that was his own and was the master of the ‘run-on’ song (kin to the run-on sentence). It was one of the things he did that grabbed your attention when he was performing solo, as well as the variety of music that he could play and sing.

 

Also, to be certainly missed will be the Heckle and Jeckle Show. I will particularly miss them doing “Dragging the Line.” Whenever I walked into a bar where they were performing, it seemed they would be singing that one and always interjected my name into the chorus line which would instantly get me going, and which, of course, was the whole point of Ian and Josh’s little prank. As much as it embarrassed me, I will sooo miss them doing that.

 

And the Returnables… I am so glad that I was there for their reunion performance the night of Parish and Rebecca Renald’s festival last summer. To see and hear them perform together as one on a star-swept night after their separation was a beautiful thing. I will his their high-charged zany brand of rock ‘n’ roll music that the Returnables did in that special way.

 

It is tragic when anyone passes, but it is a tragedy when a young person is taken at the threshold of life. I do not doubt that Ian would have continued to flourish in his music and performances. I hope that his family and friends can take comfort in knowing that this bright, shining young man touched so many people in his few short years on this Earth. That he was regarded in such esteem, that his friends have started a foundation in his named dedicated to support and enriching the lives of struggling musicians throughout Maine. Keep a look out and I’m sure mainelivemusic.com will keep you posted on upcoming fund-raising events to get the foundation up and running. In the meantime, those who want to donate can contact Bogey Boghosian on Facebook.

 

Truly, Ian Parker is one musician who will be sadly missed … Happy trails “little brother” until we meet again.

 

Peace to all ~ Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Three bands bring back memories for this girl! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 20 February 2011 11:57

By Joyce Grondin

 

Sorry you haven’t heard from me for awhile. It’s been a busy winter with shoveling and hibernating due to the frigid temps.

 

I just wanted to update you on a few gigs I dropped in to listen to lately.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, I stopped in the Liberal Cup in Hallowell to hear the JT Lockwood Band. I remember Joel (JT) from the Jinxed days in the late 1990s. He’s still strumming away and sounding better than ever and is accompanied by a great guitarist, Bert MacDonald, Sean Ocepca on bass, and Tom Bureau on drums.

 

 They’re tight in their performance and I think they’re excellent. They were playing some great old tunes, including “Get Back” from the Beatles and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from the Rolling Stones. They even had some dancing going on in the narrow aisle between the bar and the band.

 

If you have a chance to check them out, I suggest you do so. They often play in Hallowell, Waterville and from time to time, in Portland.

 

The next night, I stopped in Hoxter’s, also in Hallowell, to listen to my good pal Wayne Hendsbee belt out some tunes on harmonica as he accompanied Ian Parker on guitar. They too, play a lot of oldies but goodies. These two guys really complement one another in their performances. It’s pretty cool watching the two musicians from two different generations collaborate. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see that kind of camaraderie among people.

 

 Oh, and I must mention that the one and only Tom Ward strummed a few of his own tunes between sets. He’s one of Hallowell’s characters and a must-see, as well.

 

Afterwards, I stopped down to Easy Street Lounge because Michelle has been telling me how fantastic this band called Entropy is. The young fellows come from Bangor and, I must admit, they put on a good show. If you enjoy music from the 1980s, then these are your guys to listen to. I listened to some Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC DC while there. I talked to a couple of the band members between sets and they told me that they have a CD coming out soon. So, stay tuned to find out where that big bash will be held.

 

Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got to get busy updating this site. However, I’ve got a couple of shows coming up that I plan on writing about. Oh yeah, and keep checking The Biz From Liz, a review of Charlee Black’s CD party should appear later this week.

 

Enjoy the sun today and stay warm!

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 06:29
 
Imagined: John Lennon Song Project is inspiring PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Tuesday, 30 November 2010 21:35

 

When I was working on the Live Maine Music Web site a few months ago, I came across a calendar event for Imagined: The John Lennon Song Project, which was held in October at the Chocolate Church in Bath. It looked like a really interesting show put together in honor of John Lennon, who would have turned 70 on Oct. 9, 2010, if he had not been killed 30 years ago.

 

Unfortunately, I had a lot going on so I couldn’t make it that evening. I noticed the show was touring the Northeast – Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Boston, Maine, etc… and thought it must be pretty darn good.

 

I got lucky because the show returned to Maine. And this time, there was no way I was going to miss it. On Saturday, Nov. 27, my friends Melanie and Dwain joined me on a trip to One Longfellow Square in Portland – nice venue by the way - to take in songs written by John Lennon, which were arranged by top-notch musicians heard around the Northeast circut for many years - Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step and Tom Dean of Devonsquare.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that John would be proud of the fabulous job these two musicians did in “re-imagining” his songs. The acoustic guitar-playing was fantastic and the three-part harmonies were beautiful, not to mention the classical guitar intertwined in the numbers, played by Robby Coffin of Gardiner; the beautiful sounds of the cello performed by Jordan Jancz; wonderful vocals by Alana MacDonald, also of Devonsquare; and Paul Guzzone on bass. We also had the opportunity to hear Robby Coffin’s teen daughter, Maggie, sing a rendition of “Revolution.” She has a wonderful voice.

 

I wondered how this project came about and called Tom Dean for the background. It was really quite simple:  It was done out of sheer inspiration. Rex called Tom about a year-and-a-half ago, saying that he wanted to put an acoustic performance together for John’s birthday. The two musicians met in 1979 and have been friends since. They’ve written songs and worked together on many projects throughout the years.

 

Tom said they met at his house in New Hampshire and talked about it, and the following week they went in the studio. Because Rex lives in New York City, they each did their own creations at home and sent ideas back and forth through e-mail, phone, etc. They ended up recording the CD in a little less than a year.

 “We had an incredible catalog of songs. We really wanted it to be good and do justice without copying them,” Tom said. “It was humbling. We did them the way we felt them as though we had written them.”

 

 

Among the songs performed are “I’ll Get You/Imagine,” “Come Together/I am The Walrus,” (wonderfully done, by the way), and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away/Norwegian Wood.”

The only song that was not a John Lennon song was one written by Rex, called "Johnny's An Angel," after John lost his life to someone with a gun.

 

It wasn’t feasible for him to travel to Portland that night, but Gary Schreiner plays accordion and chromatic harmonica on a few songs on the CD, including “Julia.” Jeff Pevar plays fretless bass, dobro and mandolin on “Come Together/I Am The Walrus,” on the CD.

 

We also had the opportunity to listen to Alana sing “In My Life,” which is on the CD and “Beautiful Boy” from Lennon’s Double Fantasy album – both very well done.

 

They’ve got a few performances coming up in the next couple of weeks and they’ll take a break for six or so weeks and start touring again.

 

Tom said they’ll continue touring as long as the crowds keep coming.

“The shows have been getting better and better. This could go on for a while,” he said.

 

Those of you who haven’t had the chance to make it to a show or want to learn more about it, can check out the web site: www.johnlennonsongproject.com

 

I give these guys an A+ for there work and recommend anyone go see them, if the opportunity should present itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 05:40
 
Kenya Hall Band's CD release party a must-see PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Friday, 26 November 2010 13:39

 

If you want to listen to some beautiful soul and funk music, then I suggest you stop by the Big Easy, located at 55 Market St. in Portland tonight, Friday, Nov. 26, and catch the Kenya Hall Band at its CD release party of “Learning for Miles Vol. 1,” which is named in honor of her newborn son and recorded at Sweet Dream Records in Portland. The show kicks off at 10 p.m.

 

“It really came together well,” she said of the recording. “We had a lot of fun.”

 

Joining Kenya on stage will be her band members Frank Hopkins on keys, Josh Robbins on bass, Calvin McIlwain on guitar and Dan Capaldi on drums, with special guests John Maclaine, Derek Ramos, Chas Lester, Phil Divinsky and Lady Zen.

 

Kenya moved to Maine from Ohio about 10 years ago, landing in Randolph and Hallowell. The folks in the central Maine area have been blessed with her voice for a number of years until she relocated to Portland a few years ago, sharing her talent with the folks in the big Maine city and, quite literally, sparking a Soul Movement. From time to time, she and her band returns to Hallowell to put on a show.

 

Now 30, Kenya started writing songs about five or six years ago and has been working on the CD for about a year. There are 10 original songs on the CD, including one written by guitarist Stevie Jones.

 

When asked what inspires her in her writing, she said: “Every song is inspired by something different. It could be whatever happens that day (that she pens a song).”

 

So, if you have a chance to stop in the Big Easy and listen to Kenya’s beautiful voice accompanied by great music, then I suggest you do so.

 

Cover is $7 and, of course, CDs will be available for $10. You can also pick up the CD in Bull Moose stores around the state.

 

For more information about the Kenya Hall Band, check out her web site: www.kenyahallband.com

 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 06 December 2010 15:57
 
Helping others just plain feels good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 19:00

If I’ve learned anything about musicians, it’s that they are willing  to come together to help someone in need.

I’ve been to so many fundraisers that I cannot remember them all, but one that stands out is the Hallowell fundraiser a few years back to help the musicians in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck and left so many people homeless and at a complete loss.

In the Augusta-Waterville area, there are a few fundraisers coming up for those who are looking to listening to some good music and donate to a good cause. Here’s what I’ve come across in the last couple of days:

 

Sunday, Nov. 14, 5 p.m., The Kennebec Wharf, Hallowell. Benefit to raise money for a musical scholarship at UMA in the name of Patrick Sullivan. The scholarship is awarded to someone who wants to study music, and who possesses the determination and creative spirit that Patrick had. Great cause and hats off to the lucky individual who receives the scholarship.

 

Monday, Nov. 15, Augusta Skateboarding Park fundraiser. $15 donation includes pizza and soft drinks. When completed, this is going to be a premiere skateboarding park at Williams Playground on Bangor Street in Augusta. The kids love it. They want the challenge of skating down railings and steps, like you see them do at various businesses. It’s all in the technique and challenge, and I think the skateboarders deserve something to look forward to as much as someone who plays football. So I hope a lot of people show up to support this cause.

 

Sunday, Dec. 5,  6 p.m., Warming up for Christmas is an annual show organized by local musician Steve Fotter to raise money for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St. Steve Fotter, a guitar player and guitar teacher, has worked in the community for over 25 years. The show, now a tradition, features a house band along with ensembles of students and friends. Some of the student groups include The Blues Sisters (teenage girls) The Wise Guys (teenage boys), The All-Men Brothers (adult men), and Steve’s Angels (adult women). Steve is also joined by some local talent to help this cause. Guitar players Doug Wainoris, owner of Down Home Music in Fairfield and Dean Bureau, owner of Uncle Dean’s Good Groceries, harmonica player D.W. Gill and and piano player Gerry Wright will also be there. Cost is $15. 873-7000.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 22:27
 
Bass Box's 'Mother Box' is worth checking out PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Sunday, 21 November 2010 20:07

 

I took a trip down to Portland Friday night to check out the CD Release Party for Bass Box's " Mother Box" album at the Empire Dine and Dance. Of course, it was especially fun to attend because Jazzy Chas, who spent his youth in Hallowell, was performing. I've known Chas since he was performing in middle school events.

 

What a fun evening. The place was packed and everyone was dancing up a storm. Nice venue by the way. I suggest paying a visit to the Empire sometime. It has a nice atmosphere, great service and good crowd.

 

The members of Bass Box include Chas on vocal percussion, claps and vocal effects; Mat Zar on guitar and vocals; Luke Goodine on keyboard and accordion; and Dylan Verner on bass. Other visiting musicians stepped in to play trumpet and guitar, and a few young ladies, called the Box Sets, sang backup vocals and provided great harmony on some tunes.

 

The album has gotten rave reviews from Chris Busby in “The Bollard.” The original songs include the sound of soul, chain-gang, jazz and ballads.

 

The band also performs a couple Tom Waits’ songs, including “Damaged,” on the album.

Great dancing music and worth the $10 for the CD.

To sum it up, Busby said: “I haven’t heard a local release this fully realized and richly textured” in five years. 'Mother’ will undoubtedly be considered one of the best .”

I agree; it’s worth checking out.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 22 November 2010 06:25
 
Club 223 brings in musical treats PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joyce Grondin   
Sunday, 24 October 2010 15:02

 

If you haven’t been to Club 223 in Hallowell yet, I suggest you check it out. Roger Pomerleau and his son, Eric, opened the club at the beginning of the summer.

Since then, they’ve brought in some high-caliber musicians from the capital area as well as Lewiston, Turner and other parts of Maine.

 

Every Thursday night, David “Archie” Archibald heads up a jam and there are often many visiting musicians who show up to put on one heck of a show. Let me tell you, the evening of Oct. 21 was an exceptional one.  

 

That night, some of the regulars – Archie, guitarist Tom Nickerson, bass players Dave Thibodeau and Cony senior Josh Ochmanski, and drummers Ron Bouffard, Tim Gagne and Jamie Lovell – all showed up in addition to a few other out-of-town  guests. Perhaps the biggest treat of all, was the chance to see the great keyboardist Harry King, who played with the Bill Chinnock Band for 38 years, perform.

 

Now 66, King has made a name for himself throughout the years. Not only is he a great performer, but he's an independent producer who has produced albums and pieces for Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, The Afternoon Delights, to name a few. He has a Gold Record for producing and engineering the hit single “General-Hospitale” and a Gold Single for working on Dick Curless’ “A Tombstone Every Mile.”

 

Among the many well-known musicians that he has played with are Chubby Checker, Chuck Berry, Danny and the Juniors, Del Shannon, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Lewis and  Aztec Two Step.

 

Since he grew up in Maine and his mother and other family members still live here, he splits his time between his homes in Texas and Maine.

 

He does work for Maine musician Ed Boucher at EAB International, based in the Lewiston area.

 

What I liked about the jam the other night is that there was a variety of skill level performing together and it’s nice to see a  high school kid invited into the jam.

 

We also had the opportunity to hear Valentine Green, aka Roger Pomerleau, and Deb Caron sing a few tunes. Both have beautiful voices and the harmony was wonderful.

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 14:13
 

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