Danny Harper/On the Edge (of greatness)

   Usually we endeavor to let an album stand for itself based on it content. In this instance there is so much more to encounter. Not only is this Danny Harper’s best album to date, but it’s content not only stands on music and lyrics alone. It has created a citadel of honesty to where one can find rest within the walls of the truth he sings from the heart. I had to listen to “On the Edge” twice in a row just to make sure I didn’t miss any of its deep rooted meanings. “The Real Deal” couldn’t have described the man better. He stands for what he stands for and that’s the end of the conversation. As a true archivist of the sound of country music,  its clean sound is preserved and spouted from the rooftops in its purest form on this album with no pussyfootin’ allowed. The recording is crystal clear and musically it dominates the nature of the style he wholeheartedly portrays. Lyrically it has massive strength with faith and honor as its brother and sister. The writing is musically tasteful with all of the proper twangs and strums in the right places. Undoubtedly the best album to come out in a long time (or at least since Danny’s last album). He’s on the edge…of greatness.

Written by John D’Alessanro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

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Justin S. Walton/It Takes a Toll/Blood from a Stone (innovation at its best)

 Justin S. Walton is a multi talented songwriter, singer, musician, and musical innovator. In his solo projects he has expanded to playing all instrument himself as opposed to remaining with his basic instrument, the guitar with his band, Dreadnaught. I can say as a musician myself, that it is quite impressive to have creative control over the very sounds you hear within your head as you compose and eventually complete the song you ventured out to construct. He covers just about any genre you can imagine from the heavy hitting numbers to the the acoustic melodies and everywhere in between. The vocals seem to adapt to the style and strength of the songs as they flow freely and join together to complete his creations. The solo albums,” It Takes a Toll”, and “Blood from a Stone” are mutually complementary to each other. An excellent musical effort with innovation at its best at the helm.   

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Jethro Tull/Songs from the Wood/40th Anniversary Edition/The Country Set (with nothing from the kitchen, gutter, plenty of rhymes, and no divers)

   These box sets are truly an amazing find for fellow Tullians from the first to the present. I have adored and enjoyed everyone of them. The color book within the encompassing walls of this package is an eye opener. Hearing from the band mates is an extraordinary insight as to the inner workings of the band itself, Ian Anderson placed aside if we could just for a moment or two…maybe three. I had mentioned all of these sets were fantastic, and that is true, however, the “Songs from the Wood Edition” is the best one to date as far as the inner book is concerned. If you have read them all (and you should) as I have, you will truly experience the comradely of this wonderfully constructed band of blended styles coming together in unison as one solid musical machine. And each one of them has their own spark to add to what is known as Jethro Tull. The individual experiences are aptly expressed as the gentlemen they are. Certain distastes, memories of sleeping in an old studio, and fond thoughts about each other and what great musicians they are are a noted complimentary addition to the already renowned band. The live footage (two hours worth…a whole concert really) is a terrific surprise. In visual form or CD format, the music’s superiority is in leaps and bounds. Nothing from the kitchen nor gutter found here. Merely songs from the wood…

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Dail Dragonfly Martin/Native American flute (an atmosphere of peace)

 Dail Dragonfly Martin is a flutist of Native American music, artist of leather goods, and author of a most beautiful and intriguing book entitled “The Little Cabin in the Woods”. You will marvel at the story of a group of stuffed animals who reside in cabins in a most enchanted woods and every season holds adventures and surprises. Her CD’s “Coyote Moon” and “Destiny” among her many others, are a most wonderful collection of native American flute tunes which bring about a feeling of peace and serenity which remains with you long after the music is over. There are melodies which hold their recognizable lines and quite a bit of interesting improvisation, a most welcomed tool in this style of music. Dail is available for weddings and other social events and can be contacted at 207-627-4352 or info@freespirit-music.com 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

John Tercyak “Entertainer”

Every so often a moment can make all of the difference. For example, at a local craft show we were awaiting the many expected vendors and their wares and the many varied arts they brought with them. Upon our travailing through the center a lone minstrel was courting us all with his flowing music emanating from his instruments, much like the little drummer boy…except with stringed instruments instead of percussion. What a delight! Among much of the hand crafted items stood a lone man with his craft being shown in sound. And a wonderful sound it was. Melodic notes and a beautiful voice with his guitar. After speaking with him, and by request he switched to the fiddle. One of the best fiddlers I had ever heard filled the center. This experience can be captured on one of his many CD’s, Celtic in the Courtyard” (solo Celtic Fiddle). His collection of original compositions are also found on “I Always Fall in Love Alone”. With the Christmas season upon us, you may like to give a listen to his Christmas CD, “Christmas Carols”, a very moving compilation of true Christmas songs sung with heart. Available to play at weddings, parties, and more. You can find out more by reaching out to jtercyak@johntercyak.com or johntercyak.com 

“Ringo” Give More Love

 Ringo Starr is a most consistent entertainer. Not only does he continue with his music career, put out albums, and tour, but he does it very well. His musical efforts are more than satisfying. He rocks, surrounds himself with excellent musicians (as well as himself), and endeavors and expands the songs into other realms such as an almost country version of “Don’t Pass Me By”, the first song Ringo says he ever wrote. Yet, here it is revamped and new, and shining like his sunglasses. We also revisit and alternate take of “Back Off Boogaloo”, one of his earliest solo songs after the Beatles breakup. Photograph from the famous “Ringo” album is featured as well. It seems Ringo’s goal has always been to have fun at what he does. And he does. He’s cool, easygoing, talented, and has an extreme steady line of successful singles in his wake. Still one of our innovators after all this time.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Bangor Celtic Crossroads and Bangor Arts Exchange Present “Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald”

As the early evening progressed, the beautiful upstairs venue welcomed the avid Celtic followers of such a genre either to their seats or the quickly filling concession stand all ready for an evening of Scottish and Gaelic influence. The band consisted of Scottish Border pipes, which were not of typical origin, powered by a bellows rather than mouth, two alternately tuned fiddles, and last but not least, the acoustic guitar. This amazing collaboration fueled the stage from the powerhouse regions of such lands with the traditional stomping, to the delicately arranged and near melancholy melodies. Typically, the guitar remains as a rhythm instrument in the Celtic world, but the chains of restraint were broken last night as lead guitar melodies spewed out in a wildly organized manner. The bands speaker, Ben Miller, is apparently quite the knowledgeable historian in matters of the Celtic background stories behind the songs they play which is quite refreshing really since many of the numbers are instrumental in nature and the musical voice does not reveal either the sadness, oppression, or happiness hidden within the musical notes. Anita MacDonald devoured her fiddles with organized abandon. Her quick witted fingers not only kept the pace but superseded in accuracy and speed. Her  lively Irish stepdancing not only pleased the crowd, but was very true to form. The music is touching, rambunctious, and and sweet as portrayed on their new CD, “A Day at the Lake” where many of the styles witnessed are ever present and finely recorded. A wonderful evening of Celtic collusion. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro