Album Reviews

Broken Witt Rebels - Georgia Pine EP

Broken Witt Rebels

After having been called, deservedly, one of the best new live act in Britain in 2015, Broken Witt Rebels returns with an EP which is an absolute joy to listen to from start to end.

Georgia Pine contains 5 tracks fuelled not just with the power and energy that come with young age but also with the real desire of showing how much these quartet from Birmingham, UK understand about blues, rock, roots and americana.

It is rather difficult to pick a song in particular as the real highlight of the mini-album because all of them showcase a different and fascinating aspect of Broken Witt Rebels' vast musical background.

The opener Low, chosen as the first single of the EP, it's the band's firm declaration of intents of love for blues-rock, with big guitar riffs and catchy choruses. One of those tunes destined to be a live favourite for the band's fans.

Broken Witt Rebels create a solid wall of sound throughout the whole EP but it is Danny Core's voice, the lead singer and guitarist of the band, that ties all together on Georgia Pine. Core's vocals are so incredibly powerful,intense and able to adapt to any genres, from the beautiful, rootsy Suzie to the almost soul-esque Georgia Pine.

One of the real strengths of the record is the presence of great songwriting, in an album never overplayed or too self-indulgent. The lyrics present excellent structures, without using stereotypes too often abused by artists of any music genres or artistic structure. Broken Witt Rebels, instead, always sound genuine and honest in their first musical offer.

Getaway Man starts as a slow ballad, then it grows in an irresistible crescendo, with James Dudley on drums commanding the tempo with incredible presence and charisma.

Guns defines completely the sound of a band that knows and appreciate a lot music in its globality. The tune has got that infectious rock tempo that would push any true rocker to stand up and jump to the rhythm of a truly wonderful tune, worthy closer of a maybe short but fabulous musical rollercoaster.

"Born and raised where guns are made....", sings Danny Core in the closing track of the album. Judging by the quality of Georgia Pine, there is no doubt at all that Broken Witt Rebels will be among the finest rock and roll guns of the music industry in the years to come.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Georgia Pine is out now and can be ordered on the Band's Website

Banshee - Say My Name EP


It's a new beginning for the Scottish electro alt-rock band Banshee. Previously known as Life On Standby, the UK quartet has decided to start a new chapter of their music career, although remaining loyal to their trademark sound.

Say My Name, their debut EP under the new artistic identity, is a little dynamite box of energetic rock tempo. The record carries sonic influences echoing the likes of bands such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Biffy Clyro and translated through the powerful voice of Erin Donnachie and the incessive drumming of Gianluca Demelas.

The secret of their winning formula is not, though, just the talent of Donnachie and Demelas. The band's unique sonic recipe spices up cleverly their detonating sonic attack by adding an excellent work throughout the EP by Gavin Williams on keys and Liam Walker on bass, especially on tracks like Eagles and the closing Landing Strip.

The 5-tracks Say My Name is a refreshing work of a band that has been working very hard on finding their own music formula and succeeding, overall. Banshee's offering on this EP balances well the aggressiveness that comes from a genre like rock, combining to it a good dose of melody, enough to guarantee surely, to the Scottish quartet, plenty of airplay on radios or any kind of media.

If Say My Name is the appetiser, music fans will be impatient to taste the next musical main course to come in the future.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Say My Name is out now via Banshee's Big Cartel


Janiva Magness - Love Wins Again

Janiva Magness


Every album, for an artist, represents a new chapter in their sonic book about their life stories. In Janiva Magness's case, the new album Love Wins Again portrays a really special moment, dense of positivity and love for life in the new chapter of this very talented singer and songwriter's career.

This is, without a doubt, one of the happiest times for Janiva Magness, judging by what she mentions on the sleeve notes of the record too. On her twelwth release, the American Artist offers a splendid blend of soul and roots with tints of Americana here and there, all carried through with her incredibly powerful voice.

The opener Love Wins Again tells a lot about Magness's good feeling. The song is very catchy, one that can surely be radio friendly enough, due to the perfect combo of Magness's voice and the tune's upbeat tempo.

Janiva Magness's range of styles is pretty unique too. She moves so graciously from soulful tunes like Long As I Can See The Light or When You Hold Me to the splendid, bluesy Moth To A Flame with such simplicity, something that comes from true talent.

Your House Is Burnin' deserves a special mention on Love Wins Again. This is the track in which the American Artist put the Soul Sister mantel on, due to a magnificent combination of different elements of R&B, blues and soul and her voice, which reaches some incredible highs. She truly becomes, on this tune, a female version of the late great James Brown in every sense of the word.

The new album reaches another great, although this time more personal, peak on that very delicate, intimate song which is Just Another Lesson. Magness explores, lyrically, relationships between couples with great honesty and her voice draws beautifully the different emotions carried by the imaginary couple in question, during the track.

Love Wins Again is a genuine album, there is absolutely no doubts on that. Although it may be not Magness's Magnum Opus, this record is a great return to form and contains some really great songs. Moreover, it shows an artist in splendid shape, vocally and lyrically. It's easy to say that, on Magness's new record, it is not just the love that wins again but also the talent of one of the finest singers and performers worldwide.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Love Wins Again is out now and available on Amazon

Ben Poole - Time Has Come

Ben Poole

An album title like Time Has Come could have never been more correct. Ben Poole's new studio album is a clear statement on the British gunslinger's ability to flex his musical muscles at 360 degrees, on his new release.

Time Has Come, masterfully produced by King King's drummer and producer Wayne Proctor, is an accurate portrait of the artistic growth of Poole's career so far. Where the 2014 Live At The Royal Albert Hall album showcased Poole's ability as a live performer on many levels, Time Has Come demonstrates instead how this artist has matured as a songwriter too, on his new studio album. The songs on the new record often outline love matters and relationships, which Poole is able to deliver with great craftmanship through some real killer guitar solos and through his voice, which becomes better with each passing album.

The Guitar Virtuoso from South of England practises very well, at times, on Time Has Come the musical preaching of artists like Robert Cray or Jonny Lang still maintaining a personal trademark on every track.

Longing For A Woman is Poole's personal vocal masterpiece of the album. Rarely, in the past, the British artist has been able to deliver vocals of such great intensity as much as he has done on this song.

The album shows in full also Poole's great musical background. If You Want To Play With My Heart and You've Changed bring back timeless memories of the Motown soul period, through Poole's impeccable deliveries.

I Think I Love You Too Much and Time Might Never Come are two authentic blues pearls, in which Poole is able to craft soft, crepuscolar atmospheres through his phenomenal ability as a guitarist. The latter contains one of the best guitar solos that the British artist has ever recorded in his career.

The closing The Question Why has that unmistakable, catchy blues and soul combo of styles so close to the heart of Poole's artistic background, with an excellent work on bass by Steve Amadeo. 

The British guitarist and songwriter clearly demonstrates, on Time Has Come, his complete versatility and talent on an album that sees him reaching a new high of his career. An excellent comeback for a rising star.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Time Has Come is out now and it is available on Manhaton Records

Speaking In Shadows - Reed Turchi

Reed Turchi


Music as an antidote to start a new chapter in life. This is the philosophy adopted by the eclectic and talented guitarist/songwriter Reed Turchi on his just released solo debut album, Speaking In Shadows.

Despite his blues-influenced musical roots, which inspired in the past years three excellent albums of experimental blues/rock released with his band simply called Turchi, the North Carolina-born artist moves definitely two notches away from his musical past in Speaking in Shadows.

Turchi manages to create an eclectic kaleidoscope of sounds, traveling from the glam/ rock of the '70s, as in the tracks Juggling Knives and Ima Bore, to the alternative post-modern rock of Everybody's Waiting and Drawn And Quartered with great class and craftmanship .

Even when the lyrics become darker and highly introspective, Turchi draws very cleverly sonic frames around his songs, fitting perfectly his songwriting style at times deeply personal and crepuscular.

Through every layers and shades of each songs on this well-balanced album, Turchi never stops to surprise and challenge constantly the listener.

One example, in an album that contains many highlights, is the spiritual catharsis occurring in the song Texas Mist, a slow and dark tune that reflects beautifully the internal conflict of the artist, struggling to find himself again. Offamymind is a splendid bluesy tune, in which Turchi confesses to have a hard time to erase from his mind the end of a relationship and in which the talented guitarist offers one of the most intense guitar riffs of the album.

Undoubtedly, Speaking In Shadow represents for Reed Turchi a new sonic path, not only in terms of approaching different music genres but also for the great use of instrumentation that Turchi does on this album. Together with his old friend Adriano Viterbini on guitar, the artist is also supported by a group of musicians of great talent on this record. Art Edmaiston on sax, in particular, shines with his class on the song Floristella, in which Turchi tells the story of his great-grandfather that, back in the early twentieth century ran away from Sicily in Italy to the United States, trying to escape the miserable life of working in a mine.

When one thinks that every corner of the sonic structure of Speaking In Shadow is unveiled, Reed Turchi surprises us all one last time with the final track of the album, View From Angel's Landing. The song, entirely instrumental, is a soft, pleasant guitar duel between electric and acoustic guitars, as if to seal a mirage of hope for a new chapter in the future to come for the American artist.

Those who loved and appreciated Reed Turchi from the beginning, will fully appreciate and understand this new step in sound research that this formidable artist has done through Speaking In Shadows. Turchi's solo album is a declaration of love for music at 360 degrees played with freshness, skill and high level of knowledge and understanding of different music forms. The record is the perfect demonstration that Turchi has many arrows still to shoot in his artistic career. Speaking In Shadows constitutes the perfect and most inspired experimental platform, from which Turchi will not surely fail to pleasantly surprise us again in the future.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Speaking In Shadows is out now and can be purchased via Amazon

Joe Bonamassa - Blues Of Desperation

Joe Bonamassa


There is always a lot of curiosity when a new album from the Blues/Rock Titan Joe Bonamassa comes out. Curiosity that becomes also an expectation of the highest standard especially after his last studio album Different Shades Of Blue, in which the Guitar Virtuoso from New York had taken a considerable leap away from blues music.

The good news for all Bonamassa's fans and music lovers in general, is that Blues Of Desperation is a vastly more cohesive work, in comparison to Bonamassa's last studio album. The less good news, especially for those blues lovers who have loved Joe Bonamassa since the dawn of his career, is that with this record, the Guitarist Extraordinaire steps decisively towards the world of rock music.

The one-two that opens the album speaks volumes about Bonamassa's new musical direction. This Train and Mountain Climbing will punch your Hi-Fi speakers with sublime vehemence, transporting the listeners in a hard-rock stratosphere, especially on the almost AC/DCesque attack of Mountain Climbing.

The experience with the Black Country Communion has certainly contributed to the structure of some of the other songs of the album too. The title-track Blues Of Desperation is another sonic ride into Rock Land, with some interesting intuitions like using the sitar as an extra added flavour to Bonamassa's explosive guitar sound.  Distant Lonesome Train is a tempestuous fast tempo tune, in which Anton Fig on drums and Reese Wynans on keys create a perfect wall of sound and complete admirably Bonamassa's finest rock guitar riffs on Blues Of Desperation.

Bonamassa, though, is perfectly conscious of the debt of gratitude he has for the blues genre that has given him the opportunity to showcase his enormous talent in the last 20 years of his career. You Left Me Nothin' But The Bill And The Blues and the avant-gardesque 1930's ragtime tempo of Livin' Easy are vintage Bonamassa. Moments like these are the ones where the Guitar Maestro really reaches the peak of his game. It's that special moment when Blues comes  alive again and kicking in Bonamassa's musical DNA.

Among the most enthusing moments of the album, Drive and The Valley Runs Low deserves a special mention. The first is such a delightfully executed rootsy track that would have made a giant of the genre like Ry Cooder well proud. The Valley Runs Low, instead, allows Bonamassa to show a different side of his wide knowledge and understanding of music at 360 degrees. The tune is a smoooth soul ballad that echoes memories of the late great Wilson Pickett at his finest, played and sang with the consumate class of a true music veteran.

It is not, maybe, Bonamassa's best ever album but it is a big step forward for the American Guitarist and Songwriter. Although the album's full production doesn't reach its best on Blues Of Desperation and perhaps a couple of tracks are a little too self-indulgent and overplayed, Joe Bonamassa still manages very successfully to pull off a very solid record. It is safe to say that this album marks a strong return to form for Bonamassa and that the Guitar Virtuoso is back with a bang. 


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato 


Blues Of Desperation will be released on 25/03/2016 by Provogue/Mascot Label Group

Joe Bonamassa's Tour Dates can be found on the Artist's website. The American Guitarist will be touring the United Kingdom in Summer 2016 for a special Tour dedicated to the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Full details below: 


Joe Bonamassa in Concert: A Salute to the British Blues Explosion (UK Tour) 

Joe Bonamassa pays homage to the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page


24 Hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 844 0444 and

HOGHTON TOWER (Special Guest Joanne Shaw Taylor)



24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Venue Number: 01254 852986

North Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0SH



SUNDAY 3rd JULY 2016


24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Venue Box Office: 0844 395 4000

Glasgow, G3 8YW





24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

24 Hour Venue Box Office: 0844 887 1500

Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR



THURSDAY 7th JULY 2016 (Special Guest Joanne Shaw Taylor)


24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10 9NN 



FRIDAY 8th JULY 2016 (Special Guest Joanne Shaw Taylor)


24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Venue Number: 01636 655765

Newark Castle, Riverside Park, Tolney Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 1BZ


Jeff Healey - Heal My Soul

Jeff Healey

When Jeff Healey passed away in 2008, age 41, because of a sarcoma cancer, the world of music lost prematurily another of its most talented disciples. One of the greatest blues/rock giants of the last quarter of the century, Healey had been writing and composing music even in the hardest moments of his fight for survival. Music that, rather unfortunately, never saw the light of the day for almost 20 years, until now.

Heal My Soul is a full-length new album that includes 12 brand new songs from this formidable artist. Thanks to the determination and the passion of Cristie Healey (Jeff's wife) and Roger Costa, one of Healey's closest friends, we finally get the chance to hear what this prodigious guitarist and songwriter wrote between 1996 and 1998, a period in which the relationship with the members of The Jeff Healey Band was falling apart.

Frankly, there are moments on the record where Healey has never sounded any better than this. The extraordinary capacity of the Canadian-born artist to adapt his ability and talent in different music genres erupts all over Heal My Soul. The Multi-Grammy nominated guitarist and songwriter can play whatever he wishes to and still, everyone will be able to recognise his trademark sound.

When he rocks, he really rocks. The thunderous Please contains some of the best guitar parts Healey has ever written. Same goes for Temptation, a tune that starts gently with an acoustic guitar line, to then explode into a furious sonic rock attack, with Healey's voice sounding as powerful as it has ever been in his career.

Put The Shoe On The Other Feet is a pure funk feast, in which Healey dazzles the listener by leading superbly the tune through the blasting sound of his guitar.

Even when he goes acoustic, Healey is able to create an extraordinary intensity. All The Saints is such a superb tune in its simplicity and the demonstration that true artists don't need anything more than their guitars and voices to create atmospheres able to go straight to the hearts of the fans.

Despite minor glitches in a couple of tracks of the album, not related to Healey's material but more to production and mixing aspects, Heal My Soul shows an artist at the peak of his creativity and reveals to the new fans why Healey has been one of the most influential and original guitarists for almost three decades of blues and rock.

On 25th March, the album's release date, Jeff Healey would have turn 50. Heal My Soul is the tastiest birthday cake he has ever baked. Happy Birthday, Mr. Healey, we truly miss you.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Heal My Soul will be available from 25th March via Mascot Label Group/Provogue

Happy Bastards - Andy Frasco And The U.N.

Andy Frasco


The greatest thing about being in your twenties is that swagger and the sense of invincibility that the age range carries with, until that fateful moment comes. It is the time when you realise that your teenage years are almost over and you just don't want to let them go. This is exactly the narrative theme ongoing on Happy Bastards, the new album from the talented Andy Frasco & The U.N.

The American collective throw a full-throttle, incandescent goodbye party to their youth, infusing their music formula with an irresistible pastiche of 60's R&B, Soul, Reggae and Dance. Add to this winning recipe, lyrics sometimes funny, other times deep or even, occasionally, on high testosterone level to make you play this album over and over again. The sole goal of the record, though, is to make people want to dance and have a good time and, by jove, they fulfill that superbly.

Despite the album's light-hearted theme, Andy Frasco & The U.N. sound in fabulous form, even more so than their previous, critically-acclaimed third album Half A Man. There are the vibes of a whole Motown-style orchestra in tracks like When You're Lonely (Fill You Up), the East Coast R&B heart-warming sound of tunes like Make It Work, Blame It On The Pu**y and (Oh My My) Can't Get You Off My Mind or the cheeky folkish Rumba of Let's Get Down To Business.

The velvet soul of Good Ride, a song about breaking up, is perhaps the true highlight of an album that manages to incorporate brilliantly so many different musical elements. The band work together in perfect harmony, thanks to the strong and powerful voice of singer, Frasco and the great sonic amalgam of The U.N.

Happy Bastards is an uplifting record that aims to bring joy to everyday life. Even when they use language straight-to-your-face, Frasco and The U.N. manage to keep their style true to themselves, respecting their roots and still offering an incredibly dynamic and fresh sound. A highly entertaining record for any time and any place.



Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Happy Bastards will be released on 25th March on Ruf Records

Sky Won't Fall - Stevie Nimmo



Scotland is not just one of the most enchanting parts of the United Kingdom but also a land that never ceases to surprise for the variety of music genres this place is able to gift the world with. It can be rock or pop or blues, that doesn't matter, because a true Scot will play any type of music straight from his heart and soul.

To be able to combine many different genres and make them work as sublimely as the Glaswegian Stevie Nimmo does on his brand new solo album, Sky Won't Fall, is a demonstration of true, sheer talent.

Recorded in just ten days, the album is the perfect introduction to Nimmo's personality and his versatility as a musician.

From the imperial attack of the opener Chains Of Hope, a true rock and roll firecracker, bouncing to the almost country-esque ballad Walk The Thin Line, to then buzzing to the sexy riffs of Nimmo's guitar on that wonderful slow blues that is Gambler's Roll, Sky Won't Fall is like a series of pyrotechnical fireworks that dazzle the listeners in every track of the album.

Nimmo's ability on guitar is well known among the blues/rock world but his singing style is perhaps the most sublime discovery on his new album. The Scottish artist showcases an incredible array of singing styles throughout the record, from the thunderous, powerful vocals on Roll The Dice Again to the deeply emotional and soulful delivery on the acoustic, closing tune Love You More Tonight.

It is well worth mentioning the great wall-of-sound that Craig Bacon on drums and Mat Beable on bass have helped to achieve on Sky Won't Fall, completing Nimmo's outstanding work on guitars and vocals. 

2016 has hardly started and it has already gifted fans of blues, rock and blues/rock with some authentic masterpieces. Make some space for Sky Won't Fall on your CD rack, because Stevie Nimmo has pulled out of his magical music hat his best work so far.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Sky Won't Fall is out now on Manhaton Records

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip - Ain't Bad Yet

Micke Bjorklof


One of the many positive aspects of music genres like Blues, Roots or Americana is that one doesn't necessarily need to be a native American to be able to play such types of music, as long as there is the right commitment and enough heart and soul from an artist.

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip from Finland, at their sixth album have successfully managed to create the right blend of all the genres above mentioned with class, elegance and, most of all, great artistry. Ain't Bad Yet, their new record, shows in full the great eclecticism of a band that has reached an incredible musical maturity as years go by.

There are some truly inspired moments on the band's new album. The opener Last Train In Memphis is the perfect introduction to the album. Bjorklof's electric guitar and Lefty Leppanen's slide guitar duel with great synchronicity, with Teemu Vuorela's almost jazzy drumming style to support beautifully the rhytmic canvas of the song.

Train In Jerusalem is a rousing Blues-Rock ride that has got all the criterias to become an international hit, sustained admirably by Bjorklof's guitar playing and a singing style that gets better and better over time, just like a fine wine.

Rat Chase reveals a slightly more Funky-Jazz side of Bjorklof & Blue Strip while the track Today reveals in full the Protean capacity of a band able to incorporate, in a three-minutes-plus song, elements of Blues, Folk and Americana with such lightness and consummate craftmanship at the same time.

Make no mistakes about one thing; Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip are at the top of their forms and they mean every note they play and sing in each of the eleven tracks of Ain't Bad Yet. Without a doubt, the peak of their musical career so far.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Ain't Bad Yet is out now and can be purchased on Amazon

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits - Luxury Hobo



Not many people is aware that, when Big Boy Bloater released in 2014 the album Loopy, the english artist was already struggling deeply in his battle with depression that took almost a couple of years to overcome. A battle that, thankfully, Big Boy managed to fight and win through the only antidote he really truly knows: making music.

Big Boy Bloater is not just one of the best singers/songwriters in the United Kingdom but he is also fuelled with a solid dose of dark humour and irony. The latter shines in cubical characters just by taking a look at the album title. Luxury Hobo is Big Boy's way of having a go at the spoiled way that modern society lives nowadays and the fact that after all, we all are Luxury Hobos.

The album is a celebration of Big Boy Bloater's sparkling talent and personality and The Limits provide, once again, an excellent music structure throughout the whole record. Luxury Hobo travels through different decades of music and has some really inspired moments. The opener Devils Not Angels is Big Boy's raucous and foot-stomping caution about people you meet for the first time and how to interact carefully with them. The mid-section of the tune provides a prodigious guitar riff that brings back echoes of the 60's style of Chuck Berry or Carl Perkins, showcasing once again the great ability on guitar of Big Boy Bloater.

The excursus into the rock and roll of the late 60's and early 70's does not end there. I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends) recalls memories of The Stones' Sticky Fingers period, while the closing Not Cool Man has got that infectious guitar riff that made the fortune of bands like Dr. Feelgood.

It is real fun hearing how well Big Boy Bloater & The Limits stretch sonically their music formula, alternating R&B's sound layers with rock and rolls' ones. When it comes to R&B though, there are few people around able to do it like Big Boy Bloater does, not just through his great guitar skills but also through his wonderful singing voice.

Luxury Hobo Blues has the sound of the Stax period written through and through, as has All Things Considered too, with Big Boy's voice reaching its absolute peak of depth and intensity, on this particular tune. I Got The Feeling Someone's Watching Me is a playful slowed rumba and Big Boy's singing style get as close as humanly possible to Tom Waits' one.

Lyrically, there is a lot of entertainment too, thanks to the witty and eclectic Big Boy's writing style. Robot Girlfriend, one of the album's singles is a dark twist on how technology takes over the human race. It's the tale of a female robot, object of the owner's fantasies that reverses the roles in this absurd relationship and fall, in the end, for a male robot instead.

The only real shame about the album is that it clocks off after less than 40 minutes. It is though a great return to form for Big Boy Bloater & The Limits and most of all, the welcomed return to one of the most vibrant and clever entertainers and music raconteurs around.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Luxury Hobo is out now and it can be purchased via Provogue/Mascot Label Group


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Out On The Tiles

Tom Petty and Steve Winwood - June 11, 2008

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Steve Winwood
June 11, 2008
New England Music Center, Hartford, CT  

A breezy summer night set the mood for this flawless show. Beachballs, flip flops, lawn chairs and friendly folks from all generations came together to enjoy this double bill of equally powerful rockers, Tom Petty and Steve Winwood.

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Dont let the name fool you! Maine Music News provides live concert reviews and photography for shows throughout all of New England. Our photographers cover shows in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and anywhere else we can! Our writers provide detailed album reviews and expertly written interviews as well. We may be called Maine Music News, but we dont let the Maine border stop us!