What better time of year than Thanksgiving to sidestep my usual show previews and instead take this week to express some serious gratitude.
I’ve been writing this column for more than 13 years and am a bit behind on my thank-yous, so permit me to play catch up, because when it comes to the music scene here in Maine, we’ve all got so much to be thankful for.
And so, with an open heart, I send out my gratitude, and it goes a little something like this:
Thanks to Ken Bell for putting his heart and soul into the Portland House of Music. Your efforts are tireless, and you and your staff have made that space on the corner of Temple and Federal streets, I hope, a permanent fixture.
Thanks to Liz Pettengill and everyone at One Longfellow Square for keeping the doors open to a true listening room. I’ve seen too many shows there to count and look forward to many more.
Thanks to Carol Noonan and everyone at the Stone Mountain Arts Center for creating heaven on earth in Brownfield.
Thanks to everyone at SPACE Gallery for making it such a cool spot with lots of diverse offerings, including, of course, music.
Thanks to Geno’s. Even though I rarely get there, I’m so glad it is there with what I hear is an incredible jukebox and a huge appreciation for original rock music.
Thanks to Cathy Sherrill and everyone at Boothbay Opera House. Even if that place is haunted, it’s a really special spot on the midcoast. Speaking of the midcoast, thanks to Jennifer DeChant at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath — another unique, historic spot worth visiting.
Thanks to Jana Herbener and everyone at The Strand Theatre in Rockland for running such an awesome place. I promise to get up that way more.
Thanks to Slates in Hallowell for your Monday night music series.
Thanks to Frontier in Brunswick for your “Live in the Lounge” series and other live music offerings.
Thanks to Terez Fraser at Blue in Portland for having such a New York City-esque spot that not only has live music just about every night of the week but also great food and drinks.
Thanks to Elements: Books Coffee Beer in Biddeford for reminding us all how cool Biddeford is.
Thanks to The Dogfish Bar and Grille in Portland for running an open mic night that’s been going for more than a decade.
Thanks to Empire in Portland for the diverse mix of acts you bring in.
Thanks to Andy’s Old Port Pub for having live music seven days a week, much of it local.
Thanks to the Portland Lobster Co. for your incredible summer music series.
Thanks to Jonathan’s in Ogunquit for bringing in the great acts that you’ve brought in, year after year.
Thanks to Lauren Wayne for all the shows at the State Theatre, Port City Music Hall and Thompson’s Point (among other spots).
Thanks to Alex Gray and Elisabeth Young at Waterfront Concerts for the Maine State Pier shows and all the other ones you bring to Portland and Bangor.
Thanks to all of the local promoters, recording studios, audio engineers, producers and other crucial cogs in the wheel.
Thanks to every bar, restaurant, library, museum, church, theater and college campus that opens its doors to live music. We need these stages, and they’re very much appreciated.
Thanks most of all to all of the Maine musicians who believe in what you do, whether you’re playing to a handful of people or a sold-out audience. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible so much of the music is that you make. Thank you for telling me about your shows, sending me your CDs, nudging me when I’m slow to respond and, especially, being such inspiring forces of nature. Keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll do my best to tell people about it.
Finally, thanks to everyone out there who supports Maine musicians by buying their CDs, records, T-shirts and other merchandise, telling your friends about them, liking and sharing their social media posts and, especially, going to their shows. We’ve got a really good thing going here in Maine, and it’s just going to keep getting better. Here’s to more music and shows in 2017.