Album Reviews

Lew Jetton & 61 South - Rain

lew jetton

There are times when you put a record on and, within minutes, you immediately fall in love with it. The love then grows as the tracks run through the Hi-Fi and you find yourself in an uplifted spirit, grateful to the art of music to allow you to receive a bucket of emotions in one, big, intense shot.

These are the feeling that Yours Truly felt by listening to a record that has come out some time ago last year in 2016 called Rain, by one of the most eclectic and talented group of musicians around, Lew Jetton & 61 South.

Robert Lewis Jetton is one of those people that you don't really know whether to envy because of the bags of skills he owns as a singer, songwriter and guitarist or just love unconditionally because in front of such craftsmanship, you just have to bow and enjoy the music.

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Eric Gales - Middle Of The Road

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Sometimes you have to hit the ground really hard to understand and appreciate who you are, where you come from, what you have and what you can be. When, back in 2009, prodigy guitarist, singer and songwriter Eric Gales was detained in prison for possessions of drugs and a weapon, the world must have fallen on the American artist's shoulders like a ton of bricks. That was a time in which Gales regained, during his detention, the will to be not just a better person but also to learn to focus on what Mother Nature had gifted him with, his enormous talent as a musician.

Almost 8 years along the line and Gales has now fully embraced this new-found philosophy of life. The 2011 album Transformation had shown already very promising signs of an artist willing to claim again full music royalty through a well-crafted record but his brand new album, Middle Of The Road, pushes definitely and very deservedly Gales right back to the olympus of music business.

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Starlite Campbell Band - Blueberry Pie

starlite campbell band

 

Love is an extraordinary gift in every sense of the word. When English artists Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite got married in 2014, their union wasn't just simply a natural combustion of two loving souls but also the union of two very talented musicians with one, big passion in common: the Blues.

After working very hard in the last 24 months on writing and recording over 60 songs, the two artists finally managed to put together their debut album as Starlite Campbell Band, called Blueberry Pie.

It's an album that shows many interesting sides of these two fine musicians. Comprising eleven original tracks, Blueberry Pie is a record that shows the great versatility of both Campbell (Vocals, Guitars and Percussion) and Starlite (Bass, Vocals) as songwriters, as well as singers too.

Supported by two impressive musicians like Steve Gibson on Drums and Percussion and Jonny Henderson on Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer Piano, Starlite and Campbell offer an eclectic collection of songs, with a definite blues/rock imprint that goes back to a late 60's, early 70's era.

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Roberto Cacciapaglia - Atlas (Collection)

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It's fair to say that for every artists, it always comes a moment in their careers in which they need to close a circle. For years, fans and music lovers in general had requested a greatest hits from the Italian Maestro Roberto Cacciapaglia and their wish has finally become reality.

Atlas, Cacciapaglia's new release, is a double CD that encapsulates perfectly the artistic path of the Italian artist through 28 tracks, mostly belonging to the later releases of Cacciapaglia's extraordinary career.

The choice of the setlist may seem, at first glance, just a casual compilation of the Maestro's most famous tunes composed in the last quarter of the century. In reality, Cacciapaglia builds very carefully and cleverly the sequence of tracks present on Atlas, alternating moods and atmospheres through some truly sublime and inspired piano movements coming from Cacciapaglia's most recent discography like Canone Degli Spazi, Alphabet, Ten Directions, Quarto Tempo, or some slightly more dated, like Sonanze and Incontri Con L'Anima, amongst others.

The Italian Maestro, which has always been working with some of the finest musicians in the world, gifts the listeners, as an extra added bonus on Atlas with two new and very evocative tunes, Reverse and Mirabilis. Cacciapaglia had composed those new tunes prior to the release of this greatest hits and then he recorded them with the musical support of the very talented young musicians of the Celestia Chamber Orchestra last year, during the Tree Of Life Tour.

One of the most touching moments of the album is the Italian Maestro's homage to the life and career of the late great David Bowie, through a delicate and delightful piano version of Starman, one of the most iconic songs written by the English artist throughout his glorious career. Cacciapaglia treats the tune with the greatest respect possible, creating a dreaming arrangement with tinges of melancholy and drama. The whole, executed in the inimitable, exquisite and unique style and charisma that have been the trademark of every record of the Italian Maestro.

Atlas may be, or may be not, Cacciapaglia's own way to close a musical circle before launching himself into the next musical chapter of his splendid career and time will surely tell us more. What we have here, for old and new fans of the Italian artist, is a timeless record that photographs perfectly the past and the present of one of the giants of Contemporary Classical music. An outstanding statement of talent and brilliancy of one of the most inspired, intuitive and creative musicians of this generation.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Atlas is out now and it is available via Amazon

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Tom Craig & Soul Patch - Get Ready For Me

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It has been a long time coming for the Philly-born artist Tom Craig and the collective Soul Patch to release their debut album. When Craig and drummer John O' Connell started their partnership almost a decade ago, they were far from imagining that they would have been able to put together, through the years, a group of such highly skilled musicians like Soul Patch truly are.

Craig is certainly a man of many musical virtues. There is no doubt that, besides his great ability on guitar and good songwriting style, it is his voice that is the real deal on Craig and Soul Patch's splendid debut record, Get Ready For Me. The singer/songwriter certainly chiseled the songs on the album in a way that would strongly fit and display his crisp, deep and dazzling voice.

Get Ready For Me is an enchanting record, a timeless capsule of Philadelphia Soul, R&B, Jazz, Funk and Blues. It's a breathtaking rollercoaster ride into two decades of music, the 60's and the 70's through 12 original songs all written (and sang) by Craig and masterfully executed by the Soul Patch.

The synchronicity and the interplay between Tom Craig's wonderful voice and the Soul Patch compact, harmonious and rich sound is pitch perfect. It's that magic harmony that comes from years spent playing together, it doesn't matter the genre they play.

How Did I Break The Rules is a song that seems to come out of Wilson Pickett's songbook that Craig makes his own, through a very solid vocal performance. Tornado is also another fun tune, part R&B, part Soul, with a spectacular performance of the whole of Soul Patch, with some particular brilliancy displayed by John O' Connell on drums and Eric Johnson on organ too.

Can't Stop Thinking About You is a sassy tune that echoes smokey club's atmospheres, with Craig commanding the tempo on the tune superbly through his robust vocals and a swagger second to none. The Soul Patch's Horn Section does a stellar job on the song, playing a massive part in the cheeky vibes that this tune carries within.

When it comes the time for some Blues on Get Ready For Me, Craig allows also his natural talent as a guitarist to shine too, as he so well does on tracks like Please Forgive Me Baby and She Did It To Me (She'll Do It To You). The latter showcasing also Craig's best vocals on the whole record.

Get Ready For Me is not just a record that you can listen to a bunch of time, enjoy and then put apart as you would do with many other. It is an inspirational, genuine, true work of love and passion for music and a sincere tribute to the values that this wonderful art carries within made by a tremendously skilled group of musicians. A record of high artistic excellence.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Get Ready For Me is out now and it is available via CD Baby

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Change My Game

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When the 2014 Too Many Roads album came out, half of the music press worldwide finally tributed Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado, desevedly so, as one of the hottest blues/rock bands around. It was a breakthrough record that brought Risager and the band to the attention of a more international audience, thanks to an irresistible combination of great songs, Risager's formidable talent as a singer-songwriter and performer and The Black Tornado's huge musical craftmanship.

For those who followed the Danish artist's career since the beginning, they know very well that there are a lot more layers of sounds and musical influences in Risager's background, beside the blues and rock genres that brought him and The Black Tornado to global popularity.

Their brand new album, Change My Game, would lead, through its title, to believe to a new change of artistic direction for Risager & Co. Instead, the Danish singer/songwriter & The Black Tornado deliver a record that incorporates the collective's love and devotion for music in its globality, through eleven of the best songs that Thorbjorn Risager has ever written in his glorious career.

Change My Game is a fascinating, sophisticated and compelling record that carries many strengths within, like strong melodies, energy and, occasionally, a little darkness too.

The opening track, I Used To Love You, has got that very same "noir" feeling that the album cover has. Risager's fabulous vocals and The Black Tornado's soul-tinged performance on this track match each other in perfect harmony and simmetry.

When the music tempo starts to rise, the listeners are taken into an eclectic and highly entertaining joyride of funk (Dreamland, Change My Game), southern-rock (Hard Time, Maybe It's Alright), blues (Holler 'N' Moan, Train) and rock (Hold My Lover Tight and the closing City Of Love), the whole played, sang and executed by Risager and The Black Tornado at the highest standard imaginable.

The song Lay My Burden Down, among an already impressive album setlist, deserves a separate mention. Risager sings with the class, pathos and finesse of a true Chansonnier on this very evocative tune, with The Black Tornado providing the most perfect soundtrack to, perhaps, some of the darkest and, at the same time, most intense lyrics of the album.

Change My Game is a superbly written, played and produced record. There is not a single note misplaced throughout the whole album. Risager's songwriting is impeccable and his voice has never sounded better than this. The Black Tornado too proved, once again, why they are one of the top five best studio and live bands in the music business.

The year 2017 marks through the release of Change My Game, another defining moment in the career of the Danish artist and his collective in what it is, undoubtedly, their best ever album to date.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

Change My Game is out now and it is available via Ruf Records

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Ben Granfelt - Another Day

 

ben granfelt

 

 

Ben Granfelt is certainly one of the most hard working rock musicians around. In a career span that has seen him playing with some true iconic bands like Wishbone Ash and Leningrad Cowboys amongst others, the Finnish guitarist has then embarked a successful solo career since 1993, becoming one of the most acclaimed live rock acts in many parts of the world.

His brand new album, Another Day, sees him joining forces again with his old fellow friend and prodigy drummer Miri Miettinen (Laurence Jones, Erja Lyttinen), who worked with Granfelt on his first 10 solo album and his trusted, longstanding bass player John "Groovemaster" Viherva.

Another Day, which has been entirely recorded just in three days, captures perfectly the musical simmetry between Granfelt and his band, showcasing as well some inspired songwriting as an extra added bonus to Granfelt's new album.

One of the most interesting aspects of the record as well, it's Granfelt's transition on his guitar playing style, which seems often to nod towards a more blues/rock type of sound, still maintaining though a steady foot in his rock and roll roots.

There is also a great immediacy about Another Day, which comes by cutting the album entirely live, in its recording process. In view of that, one can easily forgive some minor imperfections, at times, on the record, because they are the obvious results of the live recording, something that help the listeners to appreciate even more the rawness and purity of the power trio sound.

There are some greatly entertaining moments in Another Day. Hangman's Tree and Rocking The Boat are fast and furious numbers, while Open Road, Open Book and Heart On Your Sleeve are clear signs of Granfelt's love and appreciation for blues/rock.

What sums Granfelt's class, as a guitarist, is the beautiful and delicate instrumental Endless. The tune, placed cleverly as centrepiece in the album's setlist, shows clearly why Ben Granfelt is one of the most respected and revered guitarists around of the last three decades of rock and roll.

Another Day marks a welcomed return to form for the Finnish Guitar Maestro, able to display, on this record, more and more layers of his talent both as a musician and as a songwriter. An impressive record and a strong step forward for Granfelt's music career.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

Another Day is out now and is available via Bluesland Productions

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Aaron Keylock - Cut Against The Grain

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It has been a long time coming for fans and critics but the moment has finally arrived and it is right here, right now. Described unanimously by fans and critics as The Next Rockstar In The Making, the 18-years old Oxfordshire-born, blues/rock guitaristAaron Keylock has been waiting for quite some time to unleash his debut album, Cut Against The Grain, just released via Mascot Label Group/Provogue.

Keylock's legendary live performances have been the talk of the town for the last 5-6 years, within the blues/rock circuit in the United Kingdom and there was a lot of interest and curiosity surrounding his debut album.

Cut Against The Grain has been recorded in L.A., with Keylock working hard under the expert supervision of one of the hottest producers and bass players in town, Fabrizio Grossi,  better known for his work with music icons like Alice Cooper, Steve Lukather, George Clinton and Ice-T, amongst others and for being part of the all-stars group Supersonic Blues Machine.

The outcome is truly sublime. Keylock has written the songs included in Cut Against The Grain throughout the last 5 years of his life and it is remarkable to notice, together with Keylock's incredible ability as a guitar player, how talented he is as well as a lyricist.

From a songwriting perspective, the record documents beautifully dreams, hope and disillusion of a young artist willing to make the breakthrough he has always dreamt of through a very inspired songwriting.

The tunes are cleverly crafted, given Keylock's young age and it is remarkable to notice how well he balances the display of his phenomenal talent as a guitarist with the structure of the songs, through the use of excellent verses, bridges and choruses to support the sonic carpet created by his stratospheric guitar sound.

Keylock is a constant surprise throughout the whole of Cut Against The Grain. His knowledge and understanding of music history is phenomenal and he doesn't lose a chance to showcase who his Music Heroes are and the genres he loves the most through his songs.

There are traces of one of his biggest idols, Gary Moore, in a fast -paced tune like the opener All The Right Moves or hints of Johnny Winter and The Black Crowes in Americana/Rootsy infused tracks like Against The Grain and Sun's Gonna Shine.

Keylock is the ultimate full package. He has no fears of measuring his English blues/rock heritage with American Southern Rock, as he so well does in the song Spin The Bottle or by simply delighting blues fans through a superb, killer slow blues tune called Just One Question, the very first song he ever wrote in his career.

Cut Against The Grain is like a musical Matrioska that never ceases to surprise the listeners through the different layers of styles that Keylock unveils on each track of the album. The young Oxfordshire Guitar Prodigy doesn't betray the expectations on his debut album but he rather fulfil them in full. There is a certain genuinity and honesty in Keylock's way to play and in the way he write his songs that makes this album a real standout one for 2017. A new rockstar has arrived, right here, right now.

 

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut Against The Grain is out now and it is available via Mascot Label Group/Provogue

 

  

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini

emiliana torrini the colorist

 

One of the greatest things about Emiliana Torrini is that she has always done what she wanted, in her career, without sticking to a musical path set by record labels or music press expectations.

Throughout the years, Torrini has not just revealed herself as an intelligent songwriter and a very talented singer but also as an acute observer of the worldwide music scene, paying attention especially to alternative ways of expressing such a sublime art form, which is music.

There is no wonder, therefore, that the Icelandic artist, for her new release, has decided to collaborate with the Belgian orchestra The Colorist, a project born in 2013 by a group of skilled musicians, combining classical instruments with self-made one. For someone like Torrini, always searching for innovative grooves and vibes, collaborating with The Colorist was an inevitable path to follow, a true musical marriage made in heaven.

The outcome, a live recorded album simply called The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini, is a fascinating sonic diary of Torrini's songbook, a journey throughout Torrini's career that includes some of the finest songs belonging to her repertoire, plus a brand new tune called When We Dance.

The most fascinating aspect of the album is the way that Torrini and The Colorist have re-dressed the Icelandic singer/songwriter songs, combining elements of new wave, ambient and avant-garde with Torrini's unique voice, a voice that gets better and better as the years go by.

The whole performance recorded is, frankly, worth in its entirety even for someone that has never heard the Icelandic artist's songs before. Her songs dig deep into the human hearts and souls and everyone listening to this album can be easily identify themselves in one of the many states of mind or inner feelings expressed by the creativity of this superb artist.

The Colorist, musically, create the perfect, otherwordly background for such feelings and states of mind, starting from the fascinating, syncopated rhythm they create for Blood Red to the beautiful waltz adaptation made on the song Serenade.

The setlist of the album offers several surprises, from the new song When We Dance, containing also a sweet excerpt coming from a conversation between Torrini and her son ("mummy, when we dance together our minds shine") to a tune called Nightfall, something that Torrini wrote in 2014 with an artist called Kid Koala for the soundtrack of a movie called Men, Women & Children, very rarely performed live.

The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini album is evocative, emotional and the songs included in this remarkable live performance fly in the air with the lightness of a feather. A superb, timeless record.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini is out now and it is available via Rough Trade

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Reed Turchi - Tallahatchie

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A man sitting on a floor playing blues, it cannot be any more simpler than that. After last year's splendid release of his best album to date, Speaking In Shadows, the American guitarist and singer/songwriter Reed Turchi returns to his first love, the blues, through his new, acoustic album called Tallahatchie.

The album is a total stripped-down one and pays tribute to one of the biggest, most inspirational music fonts ever for the American artist and his love, in particular, for the Mississippi HIll Country Blues. Turchi has always been throughout his career and still is, a musician whose genuinity and artistic honesty has never been in discussion and Tallahatchie is no exception. Through this album, whose title is inspired by the name of the river that runs through North Mississippi, Reed Turchi pays a respectful homage to some of the fathers of the genre, like RL Burnside, "Otha" Turner and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

The choice of the songs covered by the delicate, still very intense sound of Turchi's slide guitar is well balanced. His vocals throughout the album are mostly whispered, like someone that wants to accentuate more the devotion and the significance of those songs for the artist himself, rather than trying to make his own stamp on them.

Turchi underlines beautifully, through the songs covered on Tallahatchie, the different sides of the artists he has decided to cover on this record. as, for example, RL Burnside's more funny side on the track Skinny Woman (...I don't want a skinny woman, her meat don't shake...All she ever do is to walk up and down) and the slightly darker one, as in the Turchi's beautiful rendition of Like A Bird Without A Feather (....Well, you know, sure as I shot my baby, but I did it because she did me wrong...).

There are many more and equally intense performances in Turchi's new album. It's definitely worth to mention two of Mississippi Fred McDowell's classics, You Got To Move and John Henry, both delivered by Turchi's voice and his slide guitar with the class and the charisma of a perfect Blues Troubadour.

Tallahatchie is an album that goes beyond the pure and simple love for the traditions of the Hill Country Blues. It's the most sincere labour of love possible of a musician that has never forgotten where his musical heart belongs to and always will.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tallahatchie is out now and can be purchased via Reed Turchi's Bandcamp Page

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Ronnie Baker Brooks - Times Have Changed

ronnie baker brooks

  

 

 

 

Records should be made and released just when it feels right for artists, not because they "need" to be done for contractual purposes. That is exactly the attitude and the philosophy of Chicago-born Guitar Master Ronnie Baker Brooks, who did not release a new record for almost a decade, since his 2006 album The Torch.

Throughout the last 10 years, touring and collaborating with fellow music artists and family life have been the main focus for Baker Brooks. Still, this phenomenal guitarist and singer/songwriter had, on the back of his mind, the will to release new material and perhaps, it was just a matter of having the right things happening at the right time.

A new record contract with Mascot/Provogue and working with one of the most talented producers worldwide, Steve Jordan, were exactly what Baker Brooks needed to push himself to get back to the studio and working on a new album.

Recorded in Memphis and Nashville, Times Have Changed, Ronnie Baker Brook's new album, shows an artist in fabulous form, combining original material that he had written through the last ten years with some excellent covers of artists like Joe Tex, Curtis Mayfield, Robert Cray and Alvin Cash, amongst others.

Baker Brooks, for his comeback to the music scene, has certainly taken full advantage of the recording locations by calling some of his closest friends in the music business to help him delivering one of the most compelling albums of his career. The list of artists collaborating with Baker Brooks on this album is as impressive as the quality of his new record: Angie Stone, Steve Cropper, Baker Brook's father Lonnie, Eddie Willis, Todd Mohr, the late great Bobby "Blue" Bland, Felix Cavaliere, rapper Al Kapone and Lee Roy Parnell they all came to add their artistic skills on a very inspired record.

Every song on the album tells a different story with such pathos and intensity and it doesn't matter whether the story has been written by Baker Brooks himself or by other artists. Where the Guitar Maestro does not sing and leaves instead one of his fellow artists to do so, it's his guitar that does the talk on his behalf, exceptionally well.

Times Have Changed is an incredible time capsule. There are the soul vibes of the Stax and Motown period, touches of funk and R&B sounds coming from Paisley Park in Minneapolis, urban hip-hop and fragments of Chicago Blues, all hidden in Baker Brook's contemporary vision of musical globalization.

It's frankly difficult to frame one or two songs out of such a splendid musical kaleidoscope. The album's title-track is one of the best songs Baker Brooks has ever written. His idea of creating a melting pot of hip-hop and blues, something that this artist has already successfully achieved on previous records, it reaches another level on this tune, thanks also to a very inspired songwriting.

Robert Cray and Eric Clapon's version of Old Love, performed by Baker Brooks with Bobby "Blue" Bland prior to the music veteran's passing, is an authentic jewel and it's truly emotional to get to hear again Bland's dazzling voice combined with Baker Brook's heart-warming guitar sound.

Perhaps one of the most surprising tunes to be found on Times Have Changed is Joe Tex's cover of Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants. Enriched by the splendid support given by "Big Head" Todd Mohr on vocals and guitar and the great Eddie "Chank" Willis on guitar, the tune epitomises perfectly what Ronnie Barker Brook's music vision is all about. The work of a very talented music artist expressing a modern sound that embraces blues, soul, R&B of the past and present in a metaphorical sonic bridge.

Times Have Changed is Ronnie Baker Brook's ultimate musical statement on his artistry and his talent, not just as a guitarist but also as a songwriter. It is a record that manages so cleverly to carry the traditions of many different genres and transforming them in an unique, fresh and contemporary combo, still respecting though the genre's roots.

A very warm "Welcome Back" to a sumptuous, forward-thinking artist. Paraphrasing Baker Brook's album title, Times might Have Changed, but his class is still strongly there.

 

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Times Have Changed will be released worldwide on 20th January 2017 and can be ordered via  Mascot Label Group/Provogue

  

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

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  • Vinyl Spin

    New and classic vinyl reviews, including Record Store Day releases.

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Out On The Tiles

OZZY at the Izod Center Dec. 3, 2010

Review: Ozzy Osbourne
Location: Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
Date: 12/3/10

Ozzy’s Birthday Show 2010

Ozzy is officially now 62. The man who helped bring to fame the heaviest and gloomiest rock and roll band of the seventies, Black Sabbath, the first anti-peace and love child to rise to immense stardom, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne is now legal retirement age in many countries. The great thing is: Ozzy won’t retire. In fact, he recently started an eighteen month round the world tour, longer than anyone else out there even near his age. Just goes to show, Ozzy is the ultimate godfather of heavy metal. The ultimate Prince of Darkness, the ultimate showman.

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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!