March 16, 2010

Dial

BOB KEYES

— By

Staff Writer

Charlie Gaylord used a baseball analogy to discuss the ''Greetings from Area Code 207'' CD project.

''There are a lot of good ball players at the double-A and triple-A level who could be playing in the major leagues. A lot of the musicians on these CDs are good enough to make the major leagues too,'' said Gaylord, who hosts a local-music radio show on WBLM-FM and runs Cornmeal Records.

In association with a host of sponsors, Gaylord and Cornmeal have just released Vol. 7 of the ''Area Code 207'' series. Like its predecessors, Vol. 7 compiles songs from Maine bands and musicians.

This one features 21 songs, including unreleased tracks from Ray LaMontagne, Darien Brahms, Seekonk, As Fast As and a live version of ''Light at the End'' by Rustic Overtones.

Empire Dine & Dance in Portland hosts a CD-release party tonight. Sara Cox will headline the show, along with the Jason Spooner Trio and Dominic and the Lucid.

Rustic Overtones are expected to make a cameo appearance for a brief acoustic set, and other musicians involved with the project will perform between the main acts as well.

As with the previous CDs, all proceeds from tonight's concert and sales of the disc benefit the St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center on Munjoy Hill in Portland. ''I really admire what they are doing, and they are the epitome of a grass-roots organization that is working hard every day to make it happen,'' Gaylord said.

''Greetings from Area Code 207'' has become an ongoing concern for Gaylord since 2000, when he released the first volume. For six years, he followed up with a new installment. Citing burnout, he took a break after Vol. 6 came out in 2005.

The latest volume results from a lot of great new songs crossing his sphere, he said.

''I listen to a lot of music. People submit music to me all the time at the station, and I think I have a pretty good ear for judging quality stuff,'' he said. ''These compilations are a reflection of what's going on in Portland, and I think we have a lot of really talented people here in Portland whose music deserves to be heard.''

The CD is subjective, reflecting Gaylord's tastes and diverse musical interests. It ranges from an exquisite, haunting song by Cox (''Call for Arms,'' which details the singer's longing for the return of her at-war husband) to the irresistible pop of the Lomax, which offers up the very funny, if somewhat unfair, ''Lewiston Kids'':

''Some kids can spend all day

Talking on the telephone

Listening to the radio

And leafing through the latest Rolling Stone

But Lewiston kids don't think about that

Because they got other things to think about

Like how they're ever going to get out of Lewiston.''

Spooner's entry is the song ''Black and Blue,'' which appeared previously on his CD ''The Flame You Follow'' and has received national radio exposure.

''We're thrilled that it made its way onto the new 'GFAC 207' CD,'' Spooner said in an e-mail. ''Charlie has built a brand that has become synonymous with quality local music, and I was honored when he invited me to take part.''

While there are many familiar names on the new CD, Vol. 7 also includes several newcomers. The bands Varsity Drag, Daro, Subject Bias, Dominic and the Lucid, the Lomax and the Boneheads all make their ''Greetings from Area Code 207'' debuts.

As with Spooner's selection, some of the songs on ''Vol. 7'' appear on the artists' own CDs. Other songs are demos (Adam Gardner of the band Guster appears with his wife Lauren Sullivan on the song ''Lovesick''), some were recorded live and others were recorded specifically for this project.

Viewed collectively, Spooner thinks the seven CDs paint a favorable picture of the music scene in Portland and southern Maine.

''I think people have come to view 'GFAC 207' as the most informed snapshot or cross-section of Maine's music scene that is currently available,'' he wrote. ''To me, the compilation has evolved every year, but has always stayed true to showcasing both the caliber and variety of the music scene here in our relatively small, unassuming city.''

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

bkeyes@pressherald.comCover StoryArtists on the new ''Greetings from Area Code 207 -- Vol. 7'' include, clockwise from top left, Rustic Overtones, Ray LaMontagne, Darien Brahms, Sean Mencher, Sara Cox and Jason Spooner.

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