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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nevah Performs "Driftin' With The Tide" - Live!

Nevah is excited to release their second live video performing Ed Russell's "Driftin' With The Tide

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Larry's guitar

Hi again folks, Larry of Nevah here.  If you've seen us, I usually hang out on stage left, with a guitar.  I thought some folks might want to know a little bit about the acoustic I play on stage.  It is not your  standard-issue dreadnought guitar favored by most bluegrass players, but then again we're not a standard bluegrass band!  This guitar is a Martin M-36, which is the less adorned version of the M-38 or grand auditorium .  It is a full-sized guitar – lengthwise it is slightly larger than a dreadnought, although it does not have the big box shape, which bluegrassers favor for the booming rhythm.  This guitar has a shallower depth  which makes it more balanced overall, and with good projection.  Nothing like a dreadnought with its powerful sound – but this guitar has versatility  - it is excellent for fingerpicking, but retains enough bottom end for use as a rhythm instrument.

I bought this guitar over 30 years ago brand new for the princely sum of $700, with my first paycheck from my first professional science job, which I got after college after about a year of working at various odd jobs in factories, restaurants and the Census Bureau!  I favored the more plain looking (and less expensive!) M-36 – I like understated guitars without a lot of glitzy flash – although the neck and body have white binding and there is a three piece back.  The M-38 (more flashy and expensive) had abalone in the soundhole and a two-pieced bookmatched back, which of course makes for a better guitar.  But mine is all solid wood (rosewood back and sides spruce top) with the then-new scalloped bracing, advertised as providing a more open sound while retaining the strength of the X-bracing.  It was still from the era when Martin was not placing truss rods in their necks – a point of pride back then, which of course means the neck has been removed and reset more than once!  True Martin aficionados mourned when Martin started added truss rods to their guitar necks – but personally I think it makes sense!  While removing the neck is a lot more laborious with a truss rod (and a lot more expensive) – the rod allows for some fine adjustments to the neck angle, due to weather-related changes and can, in some instances make neck removal unnecessary!

I've done a lot of playing on this guitar – and have brought it with me all over the country – to the tops of mountains and out to sea.  It has endured a range of weather conditions – but nowadays, I try to baby it more.  I've played with it in more bars than I can remember -  the white binding at one point turned completely yellow from cigarette smoke (not mine, I don't smoke!).

One of the best stories involving this guitar happened about a month after I bought it.  At the time I was living down in South County, Rhode Island, which was still semi-rural in those days.  The boys and I were playing a local DRINKING establishment – you know – the kind of place where people drink themselves out of their chairs!  We were being tolerated (barely) by the locals, who were used to seeing their resident band play there EVERY Saturday night, except for this one and we were filling in.  Well I got up out of my seat to go play after having taken a break and ended up hitting the speaker stand and knocking the speaker off of its jury-rigged platform.  Remember those Bose 800 speakers? - built like tanks this thing came crashing down – hit the stage once and bounced against the wall – right where my guitar was leaning and WHAM!  Unbelievably loud noise, everyone turned to look at what happened (the most attention we got all night, by the way!) and all of us were looking at my guitar.  Incredibly, it was still in one piece – although finish cracks began radiating away from the divot on the face of the guitar up near the neck, which miraculously was the only damage that the guitar sustained!

I've had a lot of repair work done on this guitar – something that one has to do especially with a guitar that is played a lot.  The plastic binding on the neck is actually a bit of a liability -  it soon caused one of the frets to partially pop out of its seat - I constantly would get the high E string caught under it.  I had the frets reseated, and replaced – three times so far over this guitar's life (normal wear and tear).  At one point the friend of a friend – who is a guitar repair person and builder (mostly of electrics) talked me into putting oversize frets on there, like an electric would have.  I'm not sure if this improved things or not – but it's what I'm used to!  After 1-2 yrs the rosewood bridge split, and I had it replaced with an ebony bridge, carved by a local maker of acoustic guitars.  Since then I have had it replaced once more with a stock Martin ebony bridge.  When the action got too high even for me, I had the neck reset (in the early 90's).  And recently the time came recently to have more major work done (another neck reset, braces reglued – bridge underpinnings reinforced – all probably loosened from that big knock 30 years prior).  All is well now, and with a new Fishman Matrix under saddle pickup, things are really humming along.  With my increasing age, I've lowered the gauge of a couple of strings (I play more of a medium-light gauge now – I used to be on the medium-heavy end of things - with ultra high action!)   The guitar plays great and I love the neck (thinner than the Martin dreadnaught neck), and it sounds pretty good.  Not the fanciest guitar on the block, but it has survived weather extremes, mishandling (I once saw a guerilla baggage handler throw this thing onto the conveyor belt into the plane – right in front of me (I was in the plane cursing and shouting!) and a really big knock that should have ended things right way.  It survived  to play many more days, which I am very thankful for!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bangor Y Benefit a SUCCESS!

The Bangor Y benefit, a NEVAH concert was a huge success. It was a "sold out" event that raised funds to support scholarships for the Bangor Y's Camp Jordan. I wanted to share some photos of Nevah, taken by Asedias Blauvelt who really captured "NEVAH" on stage.

And, yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, especially a good one, here are a few "good one's" … thank you Aseidas.

To see more of the images - click on the "Slide Show" to the right of the blogs -


Monday, November 14, 2011

Things to do in Maine

If your looking for some fun things to do in Maine, and you have lots of time, there are numerous festivals and events throughout the state, all year round. There is something happening for everyone, every taste, every hobby, every and anything you can imagine - well almost anything that is. One of the biggest draws, besides lobster and blueberry festivals featuring music.

Hundreds of upcoming festivals can be found at the Maine Events site:

Once you go there just click on each and every "month" and you will find a whole slew of events happening. Here are just a few upcoming events you might want to check out …

Winterfest 2011 - Sunday River

Nevah hopes to be playing at several summer festivals this coming year. We'll keep everyone on our mailing list posted to upcoming events, however, check back soon to see what we're up to, where we're headed and for "inside info".

Nevah Band

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Larry (guitar player) back again.

I realized in that last bit of rambling I went on about the Stones side of the Beatles-Stones dichotomy, but failed to mention the Beatles, which in the Nevah repertoire has a much greater representation.

I think it is fair to say that more than one of the Nevah members is firmly in the Beatles camp - we've had long discussions about the superior musicality of the Beatles - they were first - and their arc was such that they were truly at the apex of pop culture - teaching us all what was hip and happenin'. They were very much of their time, yet there is something that is timeless about their music. And their music is a melting pot of influences - American rock n' roll (they sang it as well as any American group), English Dance Hall, psychedelia, even classical influences.

We Nevah guys of course remember when the Beatles were contemporary. For some of us, playing Beatles music has a bit of a "been there, done that, drove the yellow submarine" quality. Beatles sung in a bluegrass style dates back to the 'Beatle Country' album by the Charles River Valley Boys in the mid-sixties! So we're not breaking new ground, but we love the music and try to put our own little spin on a few fab four renderings.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thoughts On Prograssabilly

Hi Kids, Larry here.  I play guitar with the Nevah Band. Some of you may have noticed the word “prograssabilly” on our blog site. We at Nevah, Inc. are always making up silly words and this is our latest.  It came about one day when we were sitting around discussing the merits of the term progressive newgrass (see my former blog about said topic) and what that means, if anything.  (You might think we have a lot of time on our hands, but we really don’t!)  I guess you could say that  prograssabilly is a play on that made-up word, with something that sounds like rockabilly (an older made-up word!).

Now whether the band Nevah has specific elements of progressive music, bluegrass, newgrass or rockabilly may be open to dispute – all I can say is that we are all influenced by these and other types of music that we heard and liked growing up (especially), and all of these influences come out in our sound.  Me, I loved rock n’ roll as a kid, but caught the folk bug early, and gravitated towards music that now is called “roots” music or (shudder!) Americana. But what I used to think of as “real” music of the people has changed over the years. Are Elvis (Presley or Costello) and the Stones/Beatles and the Clash any less the music of the people? You know the old Stones vs. Beatles question (those of you are old enough that is!). Well when I was a kid my town (a factory town in Massachusetts) had a heavy biker culture – me I favored a Schwinn 3-speed, but there were a lot of tricked out Harleys around town ridden by big hairy guys – and the “Stones” ruled – they actually played there in 1966, which caused a huge riot (it didn’t take much in those days!).  What does any of this have to do with prograssabilly? Well, I guess the music we grew up with has a strong influence on us. Hillbilly turned into rockabilly with a new generation which morphed into rock n’ roll which then developed into “rock” before splintering into numerous sub-genres. But the hillbilly back beat is in all of those musical styles – as well as in some of its country cousins, like bluegrass.  And all of these things turn back on themselves - heck, the Stones had a bunch of country tunes, like "Country Honk"! Now the progressive part – we most certainly don’t play any avant-garde jazz – but we like to think we take a “progressive” approach to music – trying new things with old material. And we don’t hew strictly to the I/IV/V – 4 beats to a measure structure of songs. I mean have you LISTENED to Nevah play the tune "Steve and Betty?"  Does any of this make sense? I don’t know any more. What were we talking about?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fundraiser Thanks from the Bangor Y

Thanks to the Bangor Y for a fun event.

Emerald Russell - Director of Bangor "Y" Camp Jordan

From: Emerald Russell
"Thank you! Again, it was a great weekend for us as a fundraiser, and many of the people on the list I sent you are superfans, they are really excited to come to upcoming shows and bring friends. I was told by one person that it was the best local show she had ever seen. I saw Jay briefly yesterday. I think it would be great to plan a big outdoor concert for here at Camp Jordan.  We have the perfect spot, it is like an amphitheater."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fox 23 Performance

The Fox 23 performance by Nevah went off without a hitch. Hal here, the Nevah Banjo guy. We arrived the night before our Good Day Maine appearance with instruments, microphones, cables and speakers, to set up and run a sound test in Fox 23's broadcast studio in Portland, ME. It was a simple task placing the equipment near the "sych wall" in a corner of the studio. However, we thought it best to check with one of the Fox 23 directors to make sure we were within the cameras field of view for wide group shots.

When all the groups "stuff" was in place everyone tuned up the instruments and voices, after which the sound engineer came in to test our levels and to make sure the lighting was adequate for the next mornings live shoot. With everything in order we went out to get a bite to eat before heading to Jacks place for an evenings jam session and a goods night rest.
Settin' Up

Some of Nevah's Equipment
Richard & Larry a-practicin'
Bright and early the next morning, around 6am, we got up and made our way to the studio. Fox 23 was a buzz with activity as the early morning news was in session, which meant we had to tune quietly. 

Morning of the shoot - Getting Ready!
The morning "on air engineer "came in, did a sound, lighting and camera test, then told us to relax until showtime in a few minutes. We'd go on after the "cooking spot," and at that moment the culinary expert, Meg Wolff, arrived to demonstrate some nutritious cooking. From what we gather Meg was a "regular" guest on the show. 

Nevah looking pretty Healthy
We all gathered round for a healthy photo op.

Then it was our turn … Phil had a short interview by the Good Day Maine host and then we jumped into "Driftin' with the Tide" by our own Ed Russell. Our entire spot ran a little over 5 minutes. At the conclusion they asked us to stay and do another tune as an out-tro for the newscast. We actually played for another two minutes before they were off the air. Fun, Fun, Fun!

It's Nevah Too Early to Play Some Tunes
We packed quickly and headed north for our "Bangor Y - Camp Jordan" benefit show at 7:30 pm

Everyone from Nevah had a good time and a terrific experience. We hope to do it again someday in the near future.

Nevah Banjo Guy

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Banjo Description

Hal the banjo guy for Nevah has been playing instruments since his youth and has settled on the banjo. his quick finger picking style helps to keep the bluegrass, prograssabilly style in the nevah bands music. Hal has studied the Banjo with several of the worlds top Banjo players and merges there styling into his own. Hal has played with Nevah for the past 6 years and under his guidance the band has developed into one of the best new bands on the music scene

The Banjo is considered a true american instrument introduced in the United States by the early slave population brought over from Africa. Throughout the years it had "spurts" of popularity primarily heard in the Minstrel shows of a by-gone era. Most of the banjos of that time period were "Plectrum," four string banjos, which are still popular today. The plectrum banjo is played with a "pick" strumming or plucking individual notes. The plectrum banjo is also heard a great deal in celtic and irish music.

The modern five string Bluegrass banjo became extremely popular after Earl Scruggs introduced his version of the fast three finger picking style. His "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "Ballad of Jed Clampet"are two of the most popular banjo tunes ever released. Of course, when dueling banjo's came out it along with Earl's two songs because one of the most requested Banjo tunes ever.

The Banjo in numerous forms is very popular today, whether four or five string. Gibson, Deering, Stelling, and Ome are just a few of the manufacturers of top quality banjos.

If you want a real treat, listen to Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck or Yens Kruger to hear some of today's true masters of the modern five string banjo.

Dobro Description

Below is a little tidbit about the Dobro and its origin. Nevah has one of the original Dobro players, and he looks great for his age. Jack Anderson is Nevah's resident slide player on the Dobro or the pedal steel. The tones he gets from the Dobro, a resonating guitar, are beautiful. His tasteful slide and quick picking solos add a warmth to Nevah that would not be easily  replaced. Jack has been playing with Nevah for 5 years and will play for another fifty years if the opportunity allows.

Dobro is a trade name, owned by the Gibson company, for a particular brand of resonator guitar. The name originated in 1928 when the Dopyera brothers formed the Dobro Manufacturing Company. "Dobro" is both a contraction of "Dopyera brothers" and a word meaning "good" in their native language.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Maine Homegrown Band

In case any of you out there are wondering … a good percentage of NEVAH band members have lived in Maine for at least 15 years or longer, several have grown up in Maine. Now I know what you're going to say about the folks not born here, "You'll never be a Mainer." - That's not entirely true. I, Hal, the Nevah banjo guy, ran into an old timer born and raised in this great state … and he told me, "Nah, those stories aren't true, give it five to ten." I got excited and said, "heck, five to ten years is nothing." He politely interrupted and said, "not years, generations."

Anyway, when you come to a Nevah show you'll feel at home. You can laugh and sing along with the guys. Just like a home grown holiday gathering with pickin' and a-singin', laughing and a-drinkin'. With an emphasis on the a-drinkin'.

Eh yup, Nevah is pretty much a homegrown Maine band and you are all welcome to have a good time at their next concert. However, please make sure you purchase a ticket to the show.

Take care,

Nevahs' Banjo Guy

The Nevah Band

Dick Curless's Maine Country Music : Truck Driving Music

Lets start from the top, Maine country music is the most played and listened to music in the state of Maine. From Fort Kent to Kittery Maine there are more Maine country bands and options for Maine country bands to perform than any other musical genre. But there are none that have the unique sound of the Nevah Band.

Maine Country music has had many musicians that have had national recognition but only one is considered  the performer that was not only a star but with his distinctive voice an innovator. Dick  Curless"s Truck Driving music was and still is some of the most beloved country music ever to have performed through out  the great state of Maine. Several members of the Nevah band  had the opportunity to hear Dick Curless before he passed away.

I hope all Nevah fans take the time to listen to some of Dick Curless classics, Tombstone Every mile, Big Wheel Cannonball, Wabash Cannonball and Snap Your Fingers. There are many more great songs from the great Dick Curless playing his special truck driving music.

Conga Description

Congas in a bluegrass band! Some would consider that almost blasphemy, however, if you knew Nevahs Conga player Eric, the phrase blasphemous congas would bring a smile to his face. The rhythmic tones that the conga drums bring to Nevahs' music creates a completely unique sound. 

The conga, or more properly the tumbadora, is a tall, narrow, single-headed Cuban drum with African antecedents. It is thought to be derived from the Makuta drums or similar drums associated with Afro-Cubans of Central African descent. A person who plays conga is called a conguero. Although ultimately derived from African drums made from hollowed logs, the Cuban conga is staved, like a barrel. These drums were probably made from salvaged barrels originally. They are used both in Afro-Caribbean religious music and as the principal instrument in rumba. Congas are now very common in Latin music, including salsa music, merengue music, and Reggaeton, as well as many other forms of American popular music.

Come listen to Nevah play, you will be enchanted by the sound of Eric's "blasphemous congas."

Pedal Steel Description

Nevah can never get enough of the pedal steel!  Jack Andersons' expertise on the the Pedal Steel makes Nevahs dynamics a wonderful thing to behold. Jack often controls the levels of the band with his subtle  dynamics allowing every soloist to be heard and letting the vocals stand out. Volume control is an art that most bands and players never achieve, Jack has and leads the nevah band to new heights with his dynamic Pedal Steel control.

A pedal steel guitar is typically rectangular in shape, and has no specific resonant chamber or conventional guitar body but only one or more guitar necks. These are mounted on a stand and equipped with foot pedals and usually knee levers. Many models feature two necks, the nearest neck to the player most often uses a C6 tuning and the farther away neck uses an E9 tuning. The most common configuration is one or two necks of ten strings each, but eight-string and twelve-string necks are also popular, and even models with 14 strings on one neck can be found. Three-neck instruments are less common than those with one or two, but are not unknown.

The pedals and/or knee levers (engaged by moving the knees left, right or vertically) on the underside allow the performer to tighten or relax one or more strings in combination to specific tuned notes, changing the instrument's tuning during performance.

Watching Jack work his Pedal Steel Magic is a truly magical experience.

Mandolin Description

Nevah has one of the most accomplished mandolin players in the state of Maine performing with them, Mr Richard Silver. Richard brings the licks and rhythmic chops of the mandolin which help to form Nevah's unique prograssabily sound. We felt it may be helpful to describe what a Mandolin is along with some of its characteristics to help all appreciate Richards expertise.

The mandolin is born of the Lute Family, from Italian descent, and is played, for the most part, with a plectrum or "pick" by either striking individual strings or strumming across groups of strings while the fingers hold chord positions up and down the neck. The modern mandolin has eight strings grouped as pairs which give it the vibrant tone and allow lead melodies to ring out crisply and clearly to the ears of the audience. There are several "standard" designs, most commonly used today include the "A" style or "F" style of Mandolins. But, there are numerous variations including those with banjo heads, rounded backs, and with various lengths and intonations from countries all over the world.

The Mandolin became a true USA/bluegrass staple after the "father of modern bluegrass" Bill Monroe introduced it as a lead instrument

Now that you have a taste of the mandolin's background try to get the opportunity to hear a truly unique player of this wonderful instrument. You won't believe your ears.

Guitar Description

Guitar, the instrument, is a major part of Nevahs musical roots. Most of the players in Nevah started their musical journey on the guitar. Currently Jack, Larry, Phil, Hal, Richard and Ed are all accomplish players on Guitar and other instruments. Below is a definition of a guitar and other neat facts about the instrument we all grew up loving.

Nevah uses a wide variety of acoustic guitars manufactured by Martin, Guild, Taylor, Yamaha and other well and not so well known brands. One of our players prefers off name brands of guitars he finds that, "just sound good to me." Which makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

There are numerous instruments on the market that are part of the guitar family such as, Ukeleles, Pedal Steel Guitars that don't look anything like a guitar, Dobro's, Bantars, a Banjo with 6 strings - favored by guitar players who want a banjo sound but don't necessarily have the time to learn all of the banjo licks, Hawaiian guitars, Electric guitars, Six and Twelve string guitars, etc.

And, guitars are made from all sorts of materials, not just wood. You can find them constructed from plastic, metal, composites and combinations thereof. They also come in every size and shape imaginable including solid and hollow body configurations. Electric guitars and bass's are a whole other category for another blog at another time.

Nevah invites all fans and readers to take the opportunity to learn this wonderful instrument. Nevah wishes you to have all the pleasure that we have experienced over the years with the joy of playing guitar.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Groove Junkies Good Time Sounds

Sometimes there are bands that just have cool names and websites, Groove Junkies is one of those bands. They are a New England based band just like Nevah. Their goal, it appears, is to have as much fun as possible, much like Nevah. We hope our Nevah fans take the opportunity to support all local bands whether they are playing covers or originals.

From the Groove Junkies Website:                                                                   
"On a brisk fall day back in 2001, a couple of guys set out with little more than talent and a dream, to put together the best damned rock cover band in the universe, or at least be something their mamas could brag about….I mean, we can’t all be doctors…“Groove Junkie” soon gained recognition for its diverse sound and energetic performances. As is commonly the case, fate took different turns for various members over the years, and the group experienced a number of changes. Oddly enough the members of The Groove Junkies have had a connection for years… Keith Vidic (bassist and the last "original Groove Junkie") grew up in the same neighborhood as this crazy kid who used to pull death defying stunts all the time… turns out that the kid all the neighborhood parents wanted their children to stay away from was none other than Bryan Lendroth (guitarist, Professor Junkie) when Chris Breton(drummer, Animal Junkie) walked into his audition with his “save the forest” t-shirt and case of Bud, we knew he was the man for the job. Come to find out, Keith would often joke around with Chris's mom at work, never knowing her son would be the future drummer of the band. When it was time for a new singer, the boys searched high and low. When months of auditions proved fruitless, the boys got together and had Bryan grow a new singer from the leftover mulch in his garden."