Claws for musical celebration
Rockland — The 67th annual Maine Lobster Festival runs through 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, in Harbor Park, and every afternoon and night offers live music and more on the main Fishermen’s Memorial stage and in the North Tent, located near Buoy Park.
The all-Maine Thursday, July 31, lineup, featured previously (see link below), runs from 5 to 10 p.m. and offers the Mallett Brothers Band, David Mallett, Amy & The Engine, The Veoyo Twins and Chamberlain. Their shows are included with regular daily festival admission, which is $8, $2 for children age 6-12 and free for those younger.
First to the stage Friday, Aug. 1, is the Bert and I Tall Tales Competition, offering skits, stories and humor in the Downeast tradition beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the North Tent. Among those slated to palaver are “Gagnon, World Champion Moose Caller,” otherwise known as Nick Mills; and Brent Hutchins, a Maine writer from Mount Desert Island. Hutchins is a humorist and actor who performs stories of what it is like to live in a small Maine village … in the winter. He performs his own material, as well as adapting some of the original Bert and I material. Hutchins will be joined by members of the Bert and I Players and brave souls from the public who have signed up to compete for $50 cash awards for the Best Tall Tale, the Best Fisherman’s Lie, the Best New Song (about lobster fishing) and the Best Bert and I Story retold. After the tale telling, popular local rockers Creatures of Habit, who play gotta-dance-to music from the 1970s on up, will take over the North Tent to play from 6 to 10 p.m.
Country music, traditional and rock-tinged, rules the main stage Friday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. Confederate Railroad brings its signature high-energy combination of honky-tonk rockers, sensitive ballads and offbeat humor to the Fore. The former backup band for both David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck, founded and fronted by Danny Shirley, has sold nearly five million albums, thanks to songs such “Queen Of Memphis,” “Trashy Women,” “Jesus And Mama” and “Daddy Never Was The Cadillac Kind.” Confederate Railroad was a key part of country music's landscape during the genre's expansion of the 1990s and its versatility, likeability and a willingness to stretch boundaries continue to win them fans.
Although he has played before millions of fans over the past 13 years, country music star Daryle Singletary still has the look of a youngster … but just a few bars of his silky, deep vocals reveal a direct connection to classic country, albeit with a 21st-century take.
The hardcore country traditionalist from rural Georgia launched his career with such hits as “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun” and “I’m Living Up to Her Low Expectations,” from his Randy Travis-co-produced debut album, followed by “Amen Kind of Love,” “The Note” and other charting numbers. His latest album, “Rockin’ In The Country,” further polishes his reputation for finding brilliantly written country songs and singing them with authentic integrity.
Friday night main stage show tickets for seats in a reserved section in front of the stage are $20 and include gate admission; these tickets guarantee a seat in the reserved seating area, first-come, first-serve for seat choices.
Saturday, Aug. 2, is the festival’s parade (10 a.m.) day but also offers lots of music and the big headliner concert at night. Performances at the North Tent get started at 1:30 p.m. with Harborside Harmony, the local women’s barbershop chorus. Maine humorist, storyteller, columnist and radio host John McDonald will tell tales of Cherryfield doings and more beginning 3 p.m. And local favorites Steelin’ Thunder, a steel drum band led by a one-time King Neptune, will turn the tent into a Caribbean feel-good zone from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest
The world of both rock and blues lost a legend July 16 when Texas guitar icon Johnny Winter died at age 70 while on tour in Europe. Winter had been touring with his brother and other luminaries of classic rock in the Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest, a three-hour musical showcase that will take over the Fishermen’s Memorial main stage at 7:30 p.m. as the headline presentation. Edgar Winter Jr., Johnny Winter’s rock musician brother, has kept the show on the road; the Saturday performance promises to be a tribute to the late Blues Hall of Famer (who performed in Harbor Park during the 2006 North Atlantic Blues Festival).
“Johnny has always been, is now, and will forever remain my greatest musical hero of all time. But more than all that, he's my brother — in family, in music, in life and beyond. I will do my best to carry on in honor of his memory and the Winter name,” said Edgar Winter Jr.
In addition to Edgar Winter Jr., the all-star Rock ‘n’ Blues Fest features Vanilla Fudge, Pete Rivera of Rare Earth and Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown. They will perform many tracks that Johnny Winter made classics including “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and “Johnny B. Goode.” Tickets for the reserved seating section are $30 and include festival admission.
The festival’s final Family Fun day — Sunday, Aug. 3 — offers free admission for all and several music options, in addition to the popular road races and International Great Crate Race. In the North Tent, the Windjammer Barbershop Chorus, the Midcoast’s longtime male chorus of ringing harmonies, will perform at 1 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., local little big band Bay Winds North and its pullout Breakers Jazz combo will perform on the main stage. The festival’s main stage finale at 4 p.m. features singer/songwriter Lauren Crosby, daughter of a lobsterman, offering compelling songs about coastal life.