Like many of my friends who grew up with hippie parents here in Maine, I was raised on homemade bread, local produce, and meat that you used to know by name (RIP Wilbur). But what nourished my soul more than any of the health food was the steady diet of Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Grateful Dead and Neil Young that my parents provided for me.
The music of those hippie bands informed my worldview, and resonated with me both as a child and even more so as I’ve gotten older. Just as my parent’s local food movement has been echoed in this generation, so has the music of the hippie movement resounded in Maine’s modern music scene.
While most of the bands on this list were not thrilled at the idea of being called “hippies,” they have all been influenced by them, whether that means embracing folk and roots music, getting an old-school sound through analog recording, or just having some really trippy guitar tones, man.
Listen while you read:
1) Arborea: Duo Shanti and Buck Curran create music that is as timeless as it is haunting, digging deep into the roots of traditional American and World music. Arborea’s last full length album, ‘Red Planet” was named one of Rolling Stone’s ‘Best Under-the-Radar Albums of 2011’ and their showcase at SXSW was included in Bob Boilen’s “Favorite Concerts of 2012” for NPR Music.
Although they definitely don’t think of themselves as hippies, the duo considers their music to be “based in old folk, blues, Indian ragas and concepts based in eastern spirituality,” which was good enough for me to include them here. Arborea is currently touring Europe in support of their latest full-length release, “Fortress of the Sun.”Where: Uncas Farm, 98 Townhouse Road, Whitefield, ME What: Local CD Release Show at the Sheepscot General Store When: Friday, June 7th @ 7pm
2) Phantom Buffalo: With the recent release of their fourth full-length album, Tadaloora (and accompanying interactive game!), the Portland-based band continues their decade long rein as the local kings of psych rock. They have been compared to the Byrds and Neil Young, and as you hear them singing about “dark flowers under the moon,” on Tadaloora’s “Amateur Florist,” you will get why.Where: 48th Annual Clam Festival, Yarmouth, ME What: Live Music at the NYA Stage When: Saturday, July 20th @ 7:30pm
3) The Mallett Brothers Band: These guys are favorites over here at Dispatch, so we couldn’t resist the chance to call them “hippies!” The alt-country rockers have won just about every “best of” there is in Maine, and their brand new release, Land, is sure to garner more of the same praise. Be sure to catch them live this summer because at MBB shows, hippies get rowdy!Where: The State Theater, Portland, ME What: State of the State w/ Rustic Overtones, Spose, The Wrecking, and more… When: Friday, July 12th @ 7pm
4) The Ghost of Paul Revere: In an age of indie bands with laptops, these five talented musicians decided to take a different approach and go all acoustic. Their harmony-rich “hollar folk” is a mix of bluegrass, blues, and roots that will make you want to quit your job working for the man, go off the grid and move up North.Where: Lompoc Café, Bar Harbor, ME What: Live music When: Friday, June 14th @ 8pm
5) Coke Weed: For their upcoming third album, Back to Soft, Bar Harbor’s psychedelic rockers transitioned away from their more folkie roots and towards the leaner electric sound that has come to characterize their live shows. And though they claim that their “early fascination with hippies had more to do with the acid fall-out than the summer of love,” they did record their album onto 8-track tape, in a studio on a cut flower farm.Where: The Press Room, Portsmouth, NH What: Live w/ New Highway Hymnal
When: Sunday, July 7th @ 6pm
6) Robby Simpson: A mid-coast folk rock favorite with a Dylan-esque lyrical style, you can find Robby at coffee shops, bars, and festivals from Portland to Belfast. On his recent debut album, Traveling Without Weapons, his acoustic and electric styles reveal one who has worshipped the 60’s guitar gods, and the blues gods before them.Where: The Old Goat, Richmond, ME What: Solo Performance When: Friday, June 14th @ 8pm
7) A Band Beyond Description: The well-known Grateful Dead cover band might just be the last great jam band in Maine. Since 2001, BBD has been a fixture of the local music scene, playing parties and weekly gigs for those who of us who are not afraid to declare our hippie status (and maybe like to dance with glow sticks).Where: The Big Easy, Portland, ME What: Thursday Jams w/ BBD and Friends When: Every Thursday
Some pretty heavy new videos from Arborea and Coke Weed.