In the vein of classic zines like Hausfrau, which rails against the mainstream media image of the supermom, local songstress Sara Cox, using her married name Sara Schrock, has recently published the first issue of Off the Track. The probably quarterly publication features writings by Schrock, local style maven Jessica Tomlinson, Schrock’s mother, and a number of other local mothers on the parenting experience, with an emphasis on sympathetic coping mechanisms. The first issue is all-moms, but Schrock promises daddy voices for issue #2. Rumor is that publishing magnate Marc Shepard will be contributing, possibly joined by members of the “Sibilance” staff.
Three Mainers will be traveling south at the end of the month thanks to selection as part of the 2006 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition, happening May 27 and 28 at the Threadgill Theater, in the Quiet Valley Ranch campgrounds, nine miles south of the city of Kerrville, Texas, on Route 16. Southern Maine’s Jason Spooner and Jud Caswell will be joined by central Maine’s Kendall James (no word on whether they’re sharing a van) in competing in one of the folk world’s more prestigious knock-down brawls, now in its 35th year. On each of the competition’s two days, 16 performers share two original songs and are judged by songwriting luminaries Jimmy LaFave, Pat Pattison, and SONiA (actually, the “Sibilance” staff admits we’ve never heard of any of them). Six total winners are then invited to return for a big concert June 4 where each of them perform 20 minutes of material, get $450 and a year’s subscription to Performing Songwriter Magazine, and generally get a feather for their caps.
Ill Minded, a new full-length disc from hip hoppers Ill Natural, featuring collaborations with Sontiago, Poverty, Alias, Rhode Island’s Swann Notty, and more, will be released May 11 with a big fiesta at Bubba’s Sulky Lounge. This is a bridge, of sorts, between the group’s 2004 debut, Well Worth the Wait, and an upcoming Untitled release at the end of this year. Illy Nat are essentially the only commercial hip-hop group in Portland, which means their shows offer hard-to-find live booty-shaking opportunity.
Why is it great to have Haakon Kallweit back in town? Because only he would be right to pen the theme song for the Skillful Poker Showdown, a local poker show to be produced by Skillful Home Recreation (formerly Skillful Vending) and aired by the WB Saturday nights, at 8 p.m., and UPN Tuesday nights, at 10 pm. For the new reality/sports program, Skillful owner Ross Furman put his marketing guy, Jeff Gonzalez, to the task of creating something original and local to accompany it. Long-time alt-country (and just plain-old country) veteran Kallweit, joined by local bass whore Kris Day (King Memphis, Harpswell Sound, Sean Mencher Trio) and Falmouth high-school drummer Yates Furman (that last name looks familiar) in Hawk and the Leisure Kings, was up to the task. Hear a live performance of the song, and see a taping of the show, May 20 at Rookies in Westbrook.