Myles Bullen. Photo by Violette Media

Happy New Year! Please join me for a look back at the significant moments from the last year in Maine music.

Personally, the most important thing that happened to me in 2022 was the loss of my mother, Louise, in May. Although it will be a long time before I shake the profound level of grief, I’m thankful for the sanctuary that music has provided – including in form of performances by Brandi Carlile in Portland and Joni Mitchell at Newport Folk Festival. I didn’t use to cry at concerts. But I do now.

As for highlights in Maine music, I’ll start in February, when Portland rapper and poet Myles Bullen released “Mourning Travels.” Bullen captures the essence of both painful and peaceful emotions like few others.

That same month brought with it a life goal unlocked. I finally saw soft rock duo Air Supply live. Were you there? Did you sing along to “Lost in Love” and “All Out of Love” like I did? The show was an absolute blast, and I also had a chat with Graham Russell.

In March, I heard one of my top 10 all-time favorite songs live when Gladys Knight sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” at Merrill Auditorium. The entire show blew me away as her vocals are still top-notch, and her stage presence warm and delightful.

King Kyote. Photo by Jukebooth Productions

Also in March, Portland-based singer-songwriter Jon King, who performs as King Kyote, appeared on the NBC show “American Song Contest.” His performance of  “Get Out Alive” didn’t advance him to the next round, but the experience of going to Los Angeles and being exposed to a national audience was a huge thrill for him and for all of us who saw it.


April started with folk-pop duo Oshima Brothers releasing their second album, “Dark Nights Golden Days.” Brothers Sean and Jamie Oshima have been playing music since childhood, and their dedication is starting to pay off. On Spotify, the track “These Cold Nights” has been streamed more than 5 million times.

Later that month, I went to England and saw the Portland-based indie rock trio Weakened Friends perform in Brighton, Bristol and Southampton. All of the shows were well attended, and the British fans loved them.

Four days after getting home from that trip, I interviewed Bonnie Raitt, in person, at Bull Moose in Scarborough as part of Record Store Day. As a music journalist, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Raitt was wonderful to talk to. I heard that her show that night in Portland blew the roof off of Merrill Auditorium.

May started off on a bold note with the release of singer Gina Alibrio’s album “Atlas.” The Portland singer has, in my opinion, one of the best set of pipes in the entire state. You can often find her playing with her band, The Red Eye Flight Crew, at places like Portland House of Music.

In the middle of the month, Tori Amos performed in Maine for the first in about 20 years, and I hung on every note for dear life.

Tiger Bomb’s “Sugar Buzz” album cover. Layout and design by Mort Todd

June started off explosively with Tiger Bomb putting out the vinyl-only “Sugar Buzz.” The all-female Portland-based garage pop rock band pressed 500 copies of the album, and you’re damn right I bought one.


On June 9, I saw the longest concert merch line that I’ve even seen at the Phoebe Bridgers show at Thompson’s Point. Although I didn’t brave the line, I did enjoy the packed concert by the incredible indie-rocker.

The fireworks came in July, not only on the Fourth but also a few days later when North Haven-based feminist punk trio Bait Bag released “Confident, Sloppy and Loud.” The album is entirely righteous with bangers like “Dress Code” and “Hot Garbage.”

Speaking of righteous, singer-songwriter and Righteous Babe label founder Ani DiFranco played a fantastic, sold-out show at Portland’s State Theatre.

Another July highlight was the release of Portland singer-songwriter Connor Garvey’s exceptional eighth album, “Another End of a Year.”

In the middle of August, Yarmouth-based singer songwriter Tim Winchester released “Northern Lights,” and boy, can he write songs.

In September, it came as a pretty big surprise to fans of holler-folk act The Ghost of Paul Revere that the band was calling it quits, but they went out with a bang during the sold-out Ghostland festival at Thompson’s Point.


Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith at Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor on 9.4.22. Photo by Simon French, Courtesy of Waterfront Concerts

The same weekend, I was busy rocking out to (and reviewing) Aerosmith in Bangor at the Maine Savings Amphitheatre. Steven Tyler and company ripped through many hits.

Fast forward to mid-October, when Portland’s Dead Gowns released the swoon-worthy EP “How.”

In mid-December, The Fogcutters Superfantastic Christmas Extravaganza at the State Theatre lived up to its name and gave my holiday spirit a needed lift.

Finally, a shout-out to the many other local acts that released new material this year, including Love By Numb3rs, Forest City & Friends, Human Moods, Andrew LaVogue and Muddy Ruckus.

Next week, I’ll let you know what several local bands have up their sleeves for 2023.

What was your favorite concert in Maine in 2022? Click HERE to participate in our poll.

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