By on Jun 28, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This years Market Days Festival is going to roar. Likely the biggest and best yet, for many reasons. Driving down Main Street these days, with the project complete, wherever my head turns, I’m looking at something new — a curb, a bench, a strip of paint, patch of grass, a store, a gleaming awning. All the colors blending perfectly downtown, day or night, without any modern gawkiness or traditional New England doom and gloom. Dare I say it? Concord is sexy again, shining from all points. Speaking of sexy, today I get to spend the day with Dusty Gray, the country rocker turned radio talker. Dusty and his good buddy, Brian O’Reilly, started a weekly radio show on WKXL about a year ago and called it “Strictly Local.” It airs Thursday nights at 6 pm. It’s a great show and Dusty puts as much into preparing a good segment as he does turning one of his songs...

Searching With The King

By on Jun 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

In August 1977,  things changed. The King died.  Elvis Presley himself.  And at seven years old, I had no clue who Elvis Presley was.  But when the Boston Sunday Globe arrived to our home the week he died, I remember picking through the remains of the paper after my father and older brother, Mike, tore through the metro region, sports, travel and editorial sections like two animals tugging at the same side of beef.     Somewhere inside the cartoons and mixed in with a hundred coupon cutouts from various grocery stores, I came across a 11×17 inch picture of this guy from Memphis named Elvis.  He was sweaty, jowly, tanned and, flippin’ marvelous.  My God, he was magnetic, a cannon of light sent to me by, yes, the Gods. Who else could it have been that tapped me on the shoulder with this vision and said, “Don’t let this moment get away, little buddy. Grab it.  It just might be...

Showdown In Exeter

By on Jun 13, 2017 in Interviews, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I do love me a good fight. And there is one brewing out in Exeter between the artists and the old guard. Progress vs. Standard. You know the deal. It’s an old tale, one retold more times than Othello. I’ve read an article on seacoastonline.com about the conflict. The Exeter Arts Committee decided to not reappoint Scott Ruffner, who was the director of TEAM, a group of volunteers that love the arts (visual, music, theater) and want to share more of it with the community. My guess is Mr. Ruffner, who served the post for three years, is new blood in town, someone that represents change, a different outlook on the direction the arts community in Exeter should be going. Ruffer and his crew have likely presented some ideas to the committee that makes them terribly nervous, makes them feel like their maybe losing a grip on something they’ve always possessed: power of...

MAG-A-PALOOZA 2017

By on Jun 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Sunday at Veterans Park in Manchester, Mag-a-Palooza 2017 kicks off at 11 a.m. Like the past three years, the day long festival is filled with music, some tasty beer, wish lists and puppies. Now, seriously? Who could ask for more? Okay, we would, of course! So, this year, beyond the crazy – and I mean crazy! — fantastic Boston-based “Pat and The Hats” who are true rock and roll titans eager for take off, you have “Gretchen and the Pickpockets,” and they go toe-for-toe with the Hats. These two blazing bands of sunshine will be topped off with the jazzy, soulful winds of “Kali and Ancestors in Training.” That’s a real good thing right there. Again, who could ask for more? Heathens like us would beg for more! So, when “Granite State of Mind” was approached to showcase some of its favorites artists that have performed on the...

Comedian Breaks Down Depression

By on May 31, 2017 in Interviews |

“I’m sick of it.” Lou Reed might sing. “I’m sick of you.” That’s the way I feel about depression and suicide. I’m sick of you, sick of it. Flat out disgusted by the lives it ruins, the will it crushes in man. This disease, this curator of zombies, is an elusive coward that can’t just be cut out of your belly or lungs. Instead, we must wine it, dine it, spoil it with pills and pray that it will be numbed into submission before some level of peace is gifted. When Chris Cornell of the band Soundgarden took his life last week in a hotel bathroom in Detroit, I felt sick. The image of the famed singer lying dead on a bathroom floor isn’t what turns my guts. Thinking about the days and years and hours that led up to his decision to let go for good, well, that’s what sickened me. No person should suffer such anguish. So, I...

Chasing the Dream with “Black Eyed Susan”

By on May 16, 2017 in Interviews, Uncategorized |

A few years back, I came across a video by a group billed as “The Suspects and Guests” — I think an all Irish crew — that covered Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” with his blessing to raise funds for a tragedy that took place in Ireland. I do love me a solid cover, so I dug in and was getting deeper into their rendition, when out of nowhere, somewhere around the 1:12 mark, this monster of a voice rang out, “Then I got Mary pregnant, and man that was all she wrote…” The voice was sandpaper perfect, smoked out, hypnotic, downright gorgeous with echos of the throatiest female rock stars in history bleeding through it. This well structured instrument is owned by a young woman of 26 years from Dublin, Ireland named Susan O Neill. And although O Neill, who grew up in Ennis, lives way, way outside the Granite State, I mention her name...

Showdown At The Brew

By on May 4, 2017 in Interviews |

This Sunday at the Strange Brew in Manchester, there will be a battle royal of sorts taking place, a straight up grudge match verses some of the best blues musicians from the region. The annual Granite State Blues Society Blues Challenge is always a good take with an easy Sunday vibe and solos, duos, youth and full bands playing all forms of the blues — Delta, Memphis, R&B, boogie — each hoping to hitch a ride on the “Road to Memphis” for the International Blues Challenge in January. And this year, like last, I was asked to be a judge. Thankful for the opportunity, I still find myself worrying about my capacity to judge a blues competition. For one, I am not a musician. Not even close. I listen to music, lots of it. I run my chops about music, not so much about how it’s made, but how it feels in my bones spilling out the speakers. See, the blues comes...

Slogging Towards “The American Dream”

By on Apr 27, 2017 in Interviews, Uncategorized |

Few weeks back, Jake Davis of the Whiskey Stones, came into the WKXL studios and played a few songs. I was looking forward to hearing Davis, 25, sing again after a couple years. I always liked his voice, sort of husky but controlled with really smart lyrics and strong arrangements. Immediately after Davis played “Top Scholar, Bottom Dollars,” a song about getting slapped across the face with a grueling dose of workforce reality, Davis, a recent graduate from UNH with two environmental degrees, responded to my follow up questions in a way that touched me. His emotions were palpable, familiar even, as he described the savage, spinning, debt-saddled world many graduates live in as they try to get ahead without losing touch with who they are – or hope to be. Soundcheck wasn’t done with the Newmarket resident so we reached out with a few more questions. Here is what Davis had to say: Do you...