She Is Free

By on Jul 24, 2017 in Reviews, Uncategorized |

The first few lines of Katie Dobbins new CD, “She is Free,” pretty much sums up the existence of many of us, where the expectations are high — professionally, personally or both — and it’s very easy to lose direction when you’re busy trying to make things look perfect. “Something To Be Found,” the first single, shines a light on a 25-year old woman with two degrees, a busy job, a loving family and the weight of the world on her shoulders. Something is missing, some crucial element of fulfillment has been neglected for much too long. Ah, the music. “She’s begging me to come back home.” Dobbins comes from the Lakes Region but lives and teaches in the Boston area. She writes about the little things, those rare “Post It Notes” left on the refrigerator in the early morning hours, that, until I heard heard her sing...

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

By on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized |

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” So, we did. All the way to Woody Creek, Colorado on the weekend of Independence Day. Myself, my brother and a good friend flew to Denver, then drove three and a half hours through the Rockies, not in search of a parade, or a mountain, or even to witness a single firework flash through the star-studded skies. No, sir. Instead, we opted to stand in the kitchen of the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s home at “Owl Farm” and drink good whisky while listening to his wife, Anita, and longtime friend, former Pitkin County Sheriff, Bob Braudis, tell hilarious and frightening tales of the famous writer’s fondness for firearms, how he loved to see his own byline, his struggles with aging and his fierce devotion to his readers. All this as we wandered his home freely, bathing in the spirit of the Good Doctor. If you’ve...

By on Jun 28, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized |

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...

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...

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...

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...