Hearing Local: Maine Music & Musicians

Fogcutters Big Band at the State Theater with local Rapper Spose

Fogcutters Big Band at the State Theater with local Rapper Spose

I remember my high school days well, and other then my parents and their musicians friends who were local musicians, I don’t really remember many other groups. I do remember when I heard about Rustic Overtones from a friend who performed one of their pieces for a lip sync competition at school, and won.

In college I had the opportunity to meet and play with a lot of younger musicians, who were trying to find their way into the local music scene and make a way as a musician in Maine, which as you might expect, is rather difficult to do. Since that time though, I have come to realize how many musicians are in Maine, and making a vibrant and interesting music scene in our state.  From Reggae groups to cover bands to grunge to Jazz groups, the state has a lot to offer for music, and it is a vital part of the economy and our spirits.

Every semester I try to teach students in all music classes about how music plays a role in our life, and we try to dig a bit deeper to think about all the facets about what makes this Music so important.

To start thinking about local musicians and music, (1) write a blog post below about what you know about the maine music scene, and discuss what live music you may have seen in Maine, and how much of it may have been performed by local musicians. Also talk about why you think it is or isn’t important to support the local music scene, and why the local music scene may be important to the community. If you know about any local bands or musicians, talk about them in your post, and tell us what you know without doing any research.  (2) I would also like to see that you have read other people’s posts, and respond to them with something that you might know about someone’s post or something that might disagree with them about.  Make this appropriate comments that illustrate that you read their post, and thought about it.  (Due 5/17)

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35 Responses to Hearing Local: Maine Music & Musicians

  1. Ryder James says:

    The Local Maine music scene, in my opinion, is one of the most important parts of the community. Music definitely effects the community in great ways. Music in Maine especially effects the community because of the generations that music has been developing, it has created a thing that Maine/the community thrives off. So now it has been brought up a diverse and eclectic variety of musicians and artists from all genres. What makes this even more unique is that not just does the local Maine music scene have a eclectic community of musicians and artists, but that Maine is known to have a community that is not “cut throat”. Musicians in Maine don’t usually push people, metaphorically, out of the way to get to the top but combine there ideas just for the love of music and just to get the music out there. They are very accepting and supportive of other musicians not even in the same genre as them. Supporting the Maine music scene is something you should to be a part of. Supporting the musicians is not just for the musicians but it’s for the community you are in. I have witnessed a good amount of live local music thanks to my father. My father was once part of the local music scene. He usually played in the Rock-a-billy, Country or Acadian genres has written his own music. He plays the guitar, fiddle, and the stand up bass. In his thirties he was playing in bands, playing at festivals, bars, restaurants that are well known in the Portland area. He would travel the country and play at giant concerts with his band “The Piners”. The have been broken up for a while now but my dad still sometimes plays in some bands in Portland. He started out Music in Maine and it gave him many opportunities to do the thing the he loves which is music.

    • Courtney Grant says:

      You should talk to Sturtevant and your father about your father coming in and playing some fiddle or stand up bass. He could talk about playing string instruments to us. Seeing as a lot of don’t play string. Well, besides bass guitar and guitar.

    • jasturtevant says:

      Ryder, sounds like your dad has been pretty well connected. It would interesting to hear his take on the state of the Maine Music scene also, and to see you explore what is happening in Mane that is interesting to your ears. There is actually a pretty big following of Dub and dance music in Portland, and some bands, artists, and dJs that would be good to look at and contact.

    • Zach Briggs says:

      I would love to hear some of his songs. Is he on youtube? What were some of the other bands he’s played with in the Portland music scene? I think that would be very interesting to see him play. Has your dad said that the Maine music scene isn’t “cut throat”? I want to know his perception on it.

    • Alexis Thomas says:

      Ryder I think that having someone close to you, your father, that has played music so long, must have helped inspired you, as a young musician, to try new things and helped you truly understand the Portland music scene. I agree with others that it would be great to hear your dad play for us and fun to also hear something none of us hear much, strings. Traveling the country must have been fun for him and I’m wondering if he ever took you or if not how may it have wanted you to follow in your dad’s footsteps?

  2. Maddy Logan says:

    I don’t know that much about the local Portland music scene. Everything that I know I learned from my dad who is a Portland music junky. He and my uncle go to concerts at port city music hall almost every month. They have seen the fog cutters and many others. I know that there are many bands and tons of different genres. Portland has a huge music scene and is a place where many people come to try to get their career started. As far as actual musicians I don’t know that many but I look forward to learning more.

  3. Maddy Logan says:

    ……Continued:
    I think supporting the local music scene is very important for the community of Portland. Without the music we wouldn’t have as many tourists, the big venues would close down and it would really hurt our economy. I think that people need to introduce teens to the local music scene because many kids only listen to the “popular” music that is played on the radio, if teens listened to local bands then we could support the newly created infamous bands.

    • Courtney Grant says:

      Good point Maddy, local music might give our generation something to actually be proud about musically. Personally, I don’t want all this modern-pop stuff to be considered the music of our generation. Though, Mel brought up a point today at lunch: sometimes it’s the indie underground music that winds up defining the generation rather than the stuff that is actually popular.

    • jasturtevant says:

      Good points Maddy! We need to realize that it’s the arts and music that bring life to a community and help it thrive, and the more we can do to support those who are locally involved in those creative activities the more a part of the scene and culture we feel. There is not really the same sense of community involved with the Big Pop scene, or even the online fan base community for some of ht being name bands.

  4. Courtney Grant says:

    Alright so I’m supposed to write something about the local music scene here. Hmm….I’ve seen a few bands here in Maine. (Including Bob Dylan. I know he’s not really not local, but I think it’s cool someone as big as him will still perform in a beat-up hockey rink in Lewiston.) The hard part is thinking of local ones. Most of us have seen the PSO, which is obviously local. I remember seeing some guy who sang children’s songs when I was younger, I think he was local. Then there’s the Wrecking. They’re a band from Portland. I’ve seen them quite a few times, even got a signed tee shirt. They’re okay, I like them but am not really in love with them. It’s just easy to get my ma to buy the tickets, but hey music is music. I’ll take concert tickets when I can. I know about Schooner Faire(sp?), a folk band, and they are from Maine. I’ve never heard them live though. I know two local music teachers who give lessons: Malena Covill, and Justin Reyes. Justin is ridiculously talented in pretty much every instrument. I’ve also seen some bands at fairs and parties but I so don’t remember their names. Even though I don’t really do it, I feel that it is pretty important to support the local music scene. The premise of helping someone launch their career sounds fun to me, and it’s a great “I liked them before they were cool.” moment for you hipsters.

    • jasturtevant says:

      Courtney,
      Good point in finding those bands that may be under the radar, but very talented, so you can brag about them to friends and be part of the actual promotion of the band. I also think it is really a truly different experience to see “live” music even when it might not be technically as good as the stuff we are use to listening too. There is something about feeling the sense of community that is created when a ton of people are part of the musical energy of the room.

    • Abby says:

      I am like obsessed with The Wrecking. 😀 Are you talking about Rick Charette? Maybe I can get them to Skype with us. Maybe. They are on tour right now so it will be hard. 🙂

  5. tpuckett2012 says:

    I think the portland music scene is pretty crazy. It has ton of talented people that make money and they love what they do. It’s like the dream job. Enjoying work and getting paid. But, it’s not all about being paid, it’s about getting to know other musicians and doing gigs with them. You get to see how talented everyone else is. It’s not about trying to beat everyone else in the business like New York City. New York is like if you don’t try to steal gigs from others then you don’t make it. Portland they respect who gets gigs and they don’t try to take them. If they really want to play a certain gig they just join up and play together.

    • Shawna Meserve says:

      Good point! I really like that about the local music scene. I interviewed a local group, Pretty Girls Sing Soprano, and they said that not only do musicians work well together, the venues also create the friendly atmosphere because they are so supportive of all of the musicians that perform there.

      • Casey Ahlemeyer says:

        I agree Trevor, I think that getting paid to do what you love is like a dream. Although, many people do not get noticed enough to get paid, the will to make music is a dream itself and everyone should strive to become big one day.

  6. Durkee says:

    Im not to familiar with the Portland music scene, but I do know that it is a happening scene! With talking with my cousin Tara, who lives in Portland, she always says how great the music is when she goes into the Old Port area with friends. Being a former drama and band member in high school, her and her friends appreciate the music as we do here in band. I believe she would agree that the bands in the bars and what not shape the atmosphere for the establishments and the way the people’s moods appear. When happy music is playing people tend to dance and enjoy it more. This is essential for the tourists who visit our state, to have them carry on the great reputation that our local music scene has, and that our state has. I hope to learn more about our local music scene throughout this project. It should be a great project!

  7. Zack Gryskwicz says:

    I believe that the Portland music sene is very important to Portland and all the musicians in the area, I’ve herd it’s one of the best places to play just because of the atmosphere of it all. People won’t try to steal gigs, instead they tell you where to play or recommend places and give you a person to contact. I unfortunately have not ever been to a concert, but I’m looking forward to going to see some this summer and probably going to be a concert from a local band in Portland. It is entirely important to support the local music in your area because if no one does, then it won’t be there any more. It will just disappear because no one was making money and couldn’t do it any more. That is why it is important to support your local musicians.

  8. Eddie Maxwell says:

    Firstly, I do not know too much about the Maine music scene. However, I do know that any local music scene is very important to the community because they provide entertainment, jobs, help the economy and they’re the people who make the cities great. Last Friday in class, I picked up the fact that the local music community in Portland is very thriving; everyone helps each other get gigs, they mostly work together and most people are friendly. I have seen some local music in Maine. Most of these performances have been orchestras or jazz ensembles, yet they are local musician. It is very important to support the music scene around here because it keeps the music flowing, entertainment thriving, and gives the musicians stuff to do. As mentioned earlier, the local music helps the community in many ways such as entertainment, the economy, and much more. One local musician I personally know is my baseball coach. He has been playing the guitar for many years and plays at events such as baseball games, and I overheard him talking about a gig at a place called Woody’s (maybe it’s in Portland?). That about sums it up for today.

    • Gabe says:

      I definitely agree with you, Eddie, when you are talking about how everyone is friendly: they help people get gigs and support each other. I learned this firsthand when I was introduced into the Saco River jazz ensemble: they needed a drummer, and they just sort of picked me up and put me on the drum set. The Portland music scene is very accepting, and because of that, it is one of the best places to be for local music.

  9. Ryan "Banana Smoothie" Harris says:

    The Maine music scene for me for most of my life was just my dad’s friends playing at our house. It was all I was really knew about music in Maine. Just from looking at the artists from Maine on bandcamp.com, I was like “so.many.bands.” The chance that I will be able to see some of them is probably the same as me falling off the Eiffel Tower, with a walrus on my back. But with that aside, the music scene in Maine has never really dwindled in my head for more than two seconds before the local musicians came into our class. They made me realize that music in a state is like a big family. Musicians will be pals to one another in time of need, unless they’re meanies D: One time my dad brought us to a concert with two people in the Maine Country Hall of Fame or some prestigious title like that. They were great. Enough of that story, back to this post. The music scene is one of the most economic benefits a city/state could have. Try to name a person that doesn’t listen to music. I can name one, but that is irrelevant. With the music scene thriving, every other business around the scene will thrive. These musicians don’t only help to entertain people, or keep hecklers hecklin’, they create our economy. The music scene in this lovely state inhabited by many moose we call Maine will sure become more familiar to me this Summer. I will force my parents to bring me to see local musicians, I would especially like to see the ones that came into our class that day. I should make them do a concert together and then they can have me stage dive for them. That would put them in the headlines of all the newspapers and bring in other people to the culture of awesomeness. I tried to make this the most related I could, sorry if it’s not the best

  10. Anna says:

    I don’t really know too much about the local music scene in Maine. The only live music I’ve seen is the Portland Jazz Orchestra and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. These are, obviously, local musicians who are very talented and dedicated to music. I definitely think that it’s important to support local music, even though I haven’t been very supportive myself. By supporting local music, you support the community and the state of Maine. As musicians grow and become more popular locally, people share the music with friends and family. This helps the musicians to grow even more and become more successful. When more and more people begin listening to a local artist, it improves the economy of Maine, as well as the quality and quantity of music in Maine. I do know of a few other local musicians. Wilson is a big fan of Rustic Overtones, which has exposed me to their music. I also have listened to some of the music of the local artists introduced to us in band class. I really enjoy some of this music and hope to become more supportive of local artists in the future.

  11. Heather Bondeson says:

    I don’t really know much about the Portland music scene. The only local musicians I’ve seen are in the Portland Symphony Orchestra, other student musicians at Districts and States, and my music teachers. I do think it’s important to support local music, and I’d definitely be interested in going to some venues to see local bands, I just didn’t realize that Portland had much of a music scene. I don’t know many artists, but the few pieces we listened to in class from the artists that visited were pretty awesome and I’d like to know more about it, and maybe even go see some local artists in some venues in the future.

  12. Shawna Meserve says:

    While I am not personally involved, or very knowledgable, of the local music scene, I am confident that there is one there! I have seen the Portland Symphony Orchestra and AudioBody, a high-tech comedy and music performing act. Other than those, I know of the Portland Jazz Orchestra (even though I have never seen them perform) and a local a cappella group, Pretty Girls Sing Soprano. Although it may sound hypocritical, since I do not do so myself, but I believe that it is very important to support the local music scene. This is because it is very important for the community: not only does the large variety of genres represented in Portland help close the musical generation gap we so often find our society having, but it also attracts many tourists which helps our economy.

  13. Abby says:

    I wouldn’t say I know a lot about the local music scene , but I have been to quite a few concerts and festivals. My dad grew up with Doug and Darren, two members of The Wrecking. They are actually from Windham. They have this amazing recording studio called The Halo right across from Doug’s house. We have gone to many of their concerts as well as Joel and Janna. I can’t remember exactly where Joel and Janna are from, but they are from a town up north. As Courtney mentioned there is also a local children’s singer, Rick Charette. He has performed for my church a couple of times for this huge kids carnival we throw every year.
    Since I am going to be going to school in Portland next year, I will go to more music events/ concerts. I have gone to the art walk with my a few of my friends and there were quite a few musicians playing of the street. There this one guy playing thensaxophone and he was amazing! I wanted to drop money in his case, but I didn’t have any left.
    One of the festivals I have been too is Soulfest. It is actually in Massachusetts, but people come from mostly the New England area and there are quite a few from Maine. There every type of genre with in Christian music there. Gospel, rock, indie,mand many more. Even if you aren’t Christian it is a lot of fun and a great experience.
    I find it very important to support the local music business. I would go to more concerts it’s just really hard to get my mom to drive me all the way to Portland. If didn’t support them then they would be stuck in a stupid job hating what they do. Not just the music scene, but the whole scene of Portland is welcoming. Almost everyone will to help and guide you to where you need/want to be. The music scene isn’t cut throat and a huge family. Everyone tells you the best places to play and the not o good places to play. Who to call to get gigs and amazing people to play with. I’m am looking forward to seeing more of it next year.

    • Elizabeth Doyle says:

      I have the same issues as well- it is difficult to go to Portland whenever you want, when you rely on parental figures to escort you there. I’ve heard about some of the people you mentioned, and one of the highlights of 2nd grade for me was meeting Rick Charette! I hope that you have some great experiences in Portland, I myself hope to indulge more in local music as well.

  14. David Hegarty says:

    The Portland music scene is a very diverse community. As with any other city, there’s a variety of music in the city of Portland. I’ve done some research in the past about the music, finding bands by going on the SPACE gallery website. And of course the popular bands and artists that have emerged from Portland Rustic Overtones, Sparks the Rescue, and the ever famous one hit wonder Spose, are all other artist from the Portland area that I’ve supported. I know when you walk down the streets of the Old Port the air is filled with music being performed by street performers and many of them are really good at what they did. I knew Portland had a music scene, but I never knew how large and diverse it was until recently when we had local artists come into class.

  15. Zach Briggs says:

    I haven’t really learned much about the Portland music scene. My step father has this guy that he works with and he’s this big record label guy. He’s played in a few concerts in the Portland music scene. He says it’s very diverse and a friendly scene. I think it’s very good to know about the Portland music scene especially if your a musician looking to play somewhere, because you need to know where to play what to play and for how long.

  16. James Maxwell says:

    Although I do not know very much about the music scene in Portland, I would love to go out and explore the many genres that dwell within it. I have only seen a few concert here in Maine, and 3 of the performances I saw were from local groups. The first concert I went to was at the Civic Center starring Three Days Grace, Avenged Sevenfold, and Seven Dust. I thought this was a great concert, even though the musicians were not local. The next few concerts I saw were from the Portland Jazz orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Opus One Big Band. I thought the Portland Symphony Orchestra was amazing, and I would love to go see them again. The other two groups are both big jazz band groups, and I thought they put on amazing shows, especially considering I love listening to jazz. I think that the local music scene here in Maine is very important, even to those who are not particularly interested in music or any of the groups. Music helps people get out, socialize, and have a great time. The best way to bring people together and have a really fun time is to go see live music. Local musicians trying to make a name for themselves in a well known musical state may not always be noticed at first, but I think it is very important to promote diversity in different groups and genres. There will always be room for new musicians in Maine, and there will always be people willing to listen to them whether it’s live or online.

  17. Alexis Thomas says:

    I could honestly say that I knew nothing much about the Maine music scene till very recently when we were visited by our local guest artists, Chaz, Jon, Kyle, and Kenya. I now know a inside basis of what the Portland music scene consist of. It’s very vibrant, friendly, and a connective community. There are many musicians helping one another out and getting the newbies on their feet. The music life can be very “cut throat” though. There are just a bunch of overly talented people getting what money they can and surviving on what they can, but they still wake up each day loving what they do and keeping the spirit of music lively. The music and the place itself brings tourist and supports the economy hugely. I personally haven’t seen many local musicians. My dad does have a friend who has a band that plays at mostly family events, but that also gets different gigs at restaurants and bars. He and his band play a large variety of music, but i believe their best to me is country. No matter where they play they tend to always get the group dancing and singing along. But with short pay and family events for free they all have a full time job that helps them get by.
    Recently I was in the Old Port and ironic enough I found a trombone player right by the Gorham Savings bank. He was playing the most amazing song that I have ever heard and for how well it was I expected a bigger crowd, but the sight was amazing and inspirational none the less. I though it couldn’t get any better, but when I turned the corner, at a rusty sidewalk near Five Guys: Burgers and Fries, I saw a flute player shredding it and getting what I felt should have deserved attention, but she still had a possible money saver that was in her case near her feet. My favorite moment was when I was eating my dinner out side and a small like guitar was heard coming swiftly down the road. And at that moment I realized I loved music, but some people live for music, and swiftly, on a carriage ride, a musician sang to the instrument she was playing, with what believed to be her daughter sitting and listening along with me.
    Supporting our local musicians is not only important for the economy, but it’s important to help people that express themselves through music and that may be different understand their appreciated. But they also give you those moments in the Old Port one random night and they give you an enjoyable time on your birthday in your favorite restaurant. Supporting them isn’t just for the happiness we have for people like them, but for the happiness they bring us.

    • Maddy Logan says:

      I agree with what you said about not know much about it. I didn’t really know a lot either. I live in the old port on the weekends and see a lot of people on the streets. It’s good that we are understanding how the economy is effected by the supporting the local musicians. Good job 🙂

  18. David Baker says:

    Although I am not into jazz music I completely like some music in Maine. When Spose was popular, meaning when they used to play their song on the radio a lot. Actually I kind of miss ” I’m Awesome.” That song was so hilarious. But I got to learn about a lot more when the four Maine artist came in and talked to us. I learned a lot more. For Maine music, it is pretty good. I’m not saying Maine music is bad, but out of state music is to me better.

  19. Elizabeth Doyle says:

    Unfortunately, I do not get the chance to see live bands very often at all. I of course have heard of bands like Rustic Overtones and The Fogcutters, but I don’t listen to local music as often as I probably should. On WCYY, there’s a show called Spinout where they play local music, and I do hear some good stuff sometimes. This project is helping to remind me that there are more artists than we think, closer than we think. Some of the most talented musicians are just a few towns over. In Maine, we are not bustling with cities and popularity, but I feel that that’s what makes Portland and other areas so tight-knit as a community. I remember one time, my family went out to dinner in the Old Port, and the restaurant we were at had live musicians every Thursday, which happened to coincide when we were there. So there was a small Jazz group playing, and it really gives a place a great atmosphere when you have musicians. Sure, you don’t know them and you might not ever listen to their music again, but in that moment, somewhere in your brain, you enjoy the simple fact that you’re listening to good music.

    Local music is an important part of any community. While I admit I am somewhat clueless about the different artists around Portland, I do know that many people love to go see shows and casual events that are featuring artists. Music gathers people, creates a mood for the event, and sets the tone for the surrounding people. It encourages creativity and local culture. While these musicians don’t make millions like famous musicians do, they simply enjoy playing music for their peers and serve as a great source of entertainment. Not to mention, buying their music and merchandise is a great way to stimulate the ever-frustrating economy! Needless to say, local music is definitely an important part of our society, and artists deserve more credit for providing such great music.

  20. Gabe says:

    After listening to the musicians come and talk to us in band class, I have learned much about the Portland music scene. The guest artists talked about how accepting and close the music community is in Portland. Even though the Portland music scene is mostly unfamiliar to me, I have been able to get a taste of some local musicians through the Saco River Jazz Ensemble, Opus one band, and Portland Symphony Orchestra.
    Last year I was able to play with the Saco River Jazz Ensemble. Playing with this band showed me that there were many bands, many of which I never knew existed, that would easily accept me to play with them. The Opus one and Portland Symphony orchestra trips also showed me that there were dozens upon dozens of musicians and bands in the Portland music scene.
    The local music scene is very important to a community because it enriches culture. Local music communities not only define a region, but enrich the region altogether. New Orleans is a prime example of this effect. The music in new Orleans not only strengthens the music culture, but also strengthens the community through a hardship such as hurricane Katrina. Without the local music of New Orleans holding the community together, getting through such a tragedy would be difficult. Thusly, the local music scene is very important to a community and should be supported.

  21. Casey Ahlemeyer says:

    To be honest, I know nothing about the music scene in Maine, but I’m sure that I’m not alone. Many of us seem to be so used to searching up artists with big names and popular songs that always play on the radio. Little did we know that there’s actually music in Maine that appeals to most of us and it’s a shame that not many people notice that. Aside from that, I’m willing to learn about the music scene in Maine and I’m open to be introduced to some interesting bands that my peers find. 🙂

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