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...

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...

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...

Worth The Ride

By on Feb 16, 2017 in Reviews, Uncategorized |

I enjoy sitting in my freezing cold basement listening to music that other people created. Song after song, over and over again, I drag and rewind, drag and move forward, pondering these creations, these sensations. Some people like to ski or snowshoe. I like to sit in my basement a lot. But for some godless reason, the “Sarah and The Wild Versatile” CD that I was given didn’t take when I popped it in the computer to run it. Just spun round-n-round, aiming at nothing. I spit on the disc, shined it on my thigh, loaded it in slowly again. Still nothing. Frustrated, I pocketed the CD then shouted up to my 15 year old daughter who was embedded in her softly lit fortress, doing her teenage thing. “Let’s get coffee, sweet face!” I said when I reached the kitchen. “We’re going for a ride.” Listening to music while driving trumps any other...

A Great Awakening

By on Jan 4, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Miketon and the Night Blinders aren’t wasting any time kicking in the doors on 2017. The Manchester-based “garbage grass” band has a new CD ready to launch on January 12th called “Building A Home.” And if you enjoy a rollicking country sound with fiddle, bass, brushes and banjo, then this CD is your first purchase of the New Year. Three seconds into the opener “Lucky Hearts” and I’m sold. Lead singer Miketon Graton strikes a quick chord, then sings hard for his love that sleeps at home, waiting to smell the stink of his beer-stained skin and feel the warmth of his allegiance to her. Cameron Rapoport enters in with a steely smooth fiddle solo and off we go. This is when we know the Night Blinders have identified themselves as a serious rock band, pledging that, “the love of ours will last if together we hold fast to hope that’s...