When the Youngerbloods started the Maine Soul Revue last year in Norway, the musical show attracted some homegrown talent and a decent crowd. The main benefit was that the show fed the hunger for a good blend of original music and some creative covers.
This year, they are moving to show to Portland, and have teamed up with Go BIG For Hunger! and Full Plates Full Potential so that area kids will be the ones getting fed.
“This cause attracted us for a lot of reasons,” says drummer Marcus "Kap" Kaplan. “All of us in the band are parents. I have a daughter, Annaliese. Ana (Seifridsberger, the bass player) has two children, and Meg and Melvin (Gradiz, the bands founders) have three children (and a fourth on the way). The thought that there are a lot of hungry children in the state of Maine breaks our hearts. The opportunity to turn our music into meals is incredibly meaningful for us.”
The Youngerbloods will perform at the second annual Maine Soul Revue this Friday night at the Portland House of Music and Events. Their mix of vintage soul covers and funky originals will be backed up by The Soul Sensations Choir. Currently recording their first EP, the band was selected to compete in 2017’s Maine’s Got Talent.
“Melvin had just moved up from New Orleans and was playing at Tucker’s Music Pub in Norway when he met Meg,” Kaplan said. “They became a couple and started writing a number of original songs. They also dusted off a lot of vintage soul tunes — Motown era — and started doing great arrangements of those tunes. Then they put the band together.”
They jumped at the chance to bring the show to Portland, especially when it meant helping raise money for hungry Maine kids.
“A friend introduced us to Greg Martens (the Portland-based founder of Go BIG For Hunger!) and he told us about the organizations,” Kaplan said. “And to play at the Portland House of Music is something every band in Maine aspires to.”
The Youngerbloods handpicked the other artists to perform, and were grateful Andrew Bailie and The Mothership was available to headline. The band is comprised of Bailie on guitar and lead vocals, Max Cantlin on guitar, Colin Winsor on bass, and Chris Sweet on drums.
Bailie has recently settled down in Maine, but traveled extensively and jammed with some big names in the past.
“A couple of friends are Lauren Hill’s regular guitar players,” he said. “I did a rehearsal writing session with her, and with Lady Gaga’s keyboardist Brock Parsons. We would start a tune and [Lauren] would work with everybody and sing what she was hearing. She wouldn’t tell you how she wanted you to play. I took a lot of lessons about communication away from that. She was so upbeat. It was just amazing, being in that room, hanging out, and playing some of those songs while trying to get over that star power. It got real when she walked in. You call her Miss Hill. She had her nylon string guitar. She said tune it, so you did.”
Originally from Cleveland, Bailie planned to go to the Berklee School of Music a year after graduating high school, “but then a year turned into ten,” he says, and he ended up studying with the drummer Dana Marie. “He was a master motivator, and inspired you to go out and learn for yourself.”
He took the Big Apple route for a bit but then began looking elsewhere.
“In New York City, you don’t get to choose what you’re doing, it chooses you,” said Bailie of his decision to move to Maine for its burgeoning music scene and artistic support network.
“Art is not ours to create so much as bring into the world,” he said. “To remove ourselves from it creates a more honest process, and allows for whatever the art is going to be, and it takes an audience to close that circle.”
He loves the idea that a song means something different to a fan than the person who wrote it. And when music is employed to raise money for hungry kids, the songs become that much more meaningful.
“We have more than 30 musicians donating their time,” Kaplan said, “and so many fans coming to support the music and help to feed children.”
"2nd Annual Maine Soul Revue," with the Youngerbloods + Rodney Mashia + HAMBONE + Downeast Soul Coalition + Andrew Bailie & the Mothership + Papa Tim & the Desperate Blues Man's Explosion | benefit for Go BIG for Hunger! + Full Plates Full Potential | Fri July 28, 8 pm | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St. Portland | $15 adv, $20 | www.portlandhouseofmusic.com
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