There’s only one New Year’s resolution I know I can commit to, and that’s keeping my ears wide open with anticipation for some new music that’s coming our way from several top-notch Maine acts.

I’ll start with Rockland-based singer-songwriter Peter Gallway. Gallway, and for that matter his wife and fellow artist Annie Gallup, are two of the finest songwriters in the state. Both have had prolific recording careers.

Cover of the “My Fearless Career” album by Parker Gray. Image courtesy of Peter Gallway

This year, Gallway’s memoir “Hardtail Strat” will be published. Additionally, the second Parker Gray album, called “My Fearless Career,” will be released on Jan 19. Parker Gray is a duo comprising Gallway on vocals, synths, programming, electric guitar, bass and percussion and Harvey Jones on synths, programming, piano, flugel horn and percussion. Jones is a British-born, New York City-based keyboardist.

Gallway has completed an album of Laura Nyro songs called “Laura” that will come out later this year. Gallway said that he and Nyro were friends, and he helped produce her posthumous album “Angel In the Dark.” Nyro, a revered singer-songwriter, died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 49.

Gallway is also collaborating with well-known Japanese guitarist Yoshiyuki Sahashi on an album due for release in Japan and worldwide next year.

Buxton singer Jennifer Porter will release her ninth album, “YES, I DO!” on Feb. 2. Her piano and vocals chops shine throughout the album’s eight blues and roots tracks on songs like “Before We Call It A Day” and “How Long.”


Porter sure knows how to assemble a crew of distinguished musicians when she goes into the studio. “YES, I DO!” features guitarist George Naha (Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin) and bassist Damon Banks (The Neville Brothers) among several other impressive players. I’ll be back, I’m sure, in a few weeks to share news of an album release party.

Portland singer-songwriter Jenny Van West’s last album was 2018’s “Happiness to Burn,” but that doesn’t mean she’s been sitting idle. At the moment, Van West, in her role as coordinator of the DocSong Portland Pilot Project, is writing and recording documentary songs co-written with recent immigrants. DocSong is a Maine nonprofit. Per its website, DocSong’s mission is to transform personal stories into songs that build connection, empathy and a shared sense of humanity.

Van West also shared that, in 2023, she received an artist grant from Maine Arts Commission to write, co-engineer and produce her next recording of 2024. The album will feature international artists who now call Maine home.

The other thing that Van West said she’s very excited about is that, starting this month, she’s in the cohort of Music to Life Foundation’s Changemaker Accelerator. Music to Life is a music-driven movement in the field of arts and social justices. Van West’s hope is that a nonprofit can be established and will be rooted in the free community music programs for recent immigrants that she’s been organizing since 2015. This includes finding musical instruments, teaching, developing artists, networking and producing the International Open Mic series at Mayo Street Arts, all free of charge. The next show is on Feb. 9.

I’ll end with a lightning round of updates I gathered about a few other fabulous acts.

Bait Bag. Photo by Bill Trevaskis

Feminist punk trio Bait Bag, whose members live on North Haven, released “Confident, Sloppy and Loud!” in 2022. Singer/bassist Courtney Naliboff said new music is coming early this year.

Portland rock quartet Tiger Bomb, which released the vinyl-only album “Sugar Buzz” in 2022, is currently recording its third album of 15 songs at Acadia Studios. Rhythm guitarist and vocalist Lynda Mandolyn couldn’t given an exact release date but promised it would be this year. Catch the band opening for Jon Spencer at Sun Tiki Studios on Feb. 7.

Love By Numb3rs, featuring vocalist Anna Lombard and multi-instrumentalist Jon Roods, will be releasing its next album in May. Lombard described the band as an “atmospheric, nostalgia-laced vocal harmony group for modern times.”

Jenny Lou Drew. Photo by Sarah Violette

Midcoast singer-songwriter Jenny Lou Drew’s “Rockbiter” was my favorite local album of 2019. Last year, she released the single “Weatherworn Angel,” which you can hear on streaming platforms. Her supporters on crowdfunding platform Patreon can enjoy the brand-new tune “An Opening.” As one of them, I can tell you the moving, gorgeous song is well worth the small amount of money it takes to join. Drew said it will land on streaming platforms later this winter.

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