Showdown In Exeter

By on Jun 13, 2017 in Interviews, Uncategorized |

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...

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...

A “Glorified House Party”

By on Apr 20, 2017 in Interviews |

For a performance venue like “The Word Barn” in Exeter to fly under the radar — as it seems to be doing — is pretty remarkable. Makes me wonder if that’s how it was planned to be, on the hush-hush, a slow build into something special. Then again, the place was packed last Saturday night. People staring down from the upper level, listening from the yard through the large windows, from the seats and stools inside, getting knocked backward by the beauty of Sean Rowe’s monstrous voice and ninja finger moves on his guitar. What the owners, Ben and Sarah Anderson, are providing for the region’s art community is quality creativity at an honest price. Set in a barn attached to a house off Newfield Road, tucked so quietly close to the road — we drove past the entrance four times heading to the show — this is the ideal place to visit if you...