It was sometime around 1987 when I first set my eyes and ears on Shane MacGowan. In an instant, I was mesmerized by his voice, his band and, of course, his unholy teeth. The magic of that first late-night meeting never left me. It still guides much of what I attempt to write and sing to this day.
For those not in the know, MacGowan was the frontman and main songwriter for the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues. He died this morning, Nov. 30, 2023, at age 65.
His passing is sad, though not unexpected. For decades, MacGowan famously abused his liver, his teeth and the rest of his body with drugs and alcohol. But what he lacked in self preservation, he more than made up for in soulful artistry. MacGowan leaves behind an iconic body of songwriting which inspired an original genre of music which has somehow never quite lived up to his example.
The Unfinished Blues Band didn’t play a whole lot over the summer as all three of us always have multiple projects running concurrently, simultaneously, all at once and all the time. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been laying plans and getting ready for a busy “heating season” string of gigs.
My newest musical adventure played its first full-strength, but technically second, gig on Sunday, Sept. 17, at Cadenza in Freeport, Maine as part of a “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” celebration. The holiday may be totally made up but the band is 100 percent real.
Starting in 1978, photographer John Coffer and a horse named Brownie began an epic, years-long trek across the United States. Along the way, they made many friends, had multiple adventures and helped revive the 19th century’s greatest photographic achievement: The Wet plate collodion process. When their travels ended, John and Brownie settled on a farm… Read more: John and Brownie out on the road
Chris was a caring, attentive husband and father. He was a talented, hardworking journalist, dedicated to thoughtful storytelling, too. I’m sure Chris taught me everything I know about writing a story with heart. He was my friend and I miss him, as does everyone who had the pleasure to know him.
I wrote this song in the voice a former Maine milltown worker who finds himself old, alone and stuck in a community fading away on the banks of a river. I was going to film it in one of the larger cities where they used to make blankets, shoes and paper — like Lewiston, Biddeford… Read more: This Milltown