Down East 2013 ©
A friend in Alabama writes: uhm … the high in maine today was below zero … how on EARTH do you deal with that?
Well, obviously — you stay inside and listen to music. Spouse,  a genre-shifting combo of flexible lineup centered around José Ayerve of Brunswick, surfaced lately on an implausibly good compilation  called “Maine Tracks ” conceived and distributed by a bank. Yes, a bank. T he stand-out tune is “Catch-22,” and while the final release version is good, the rough-cut original has a lo-fi charm that somehow goes down better with sub-zero temperatures and a dyspeptic boiler.
* Listen: Catch 22 (v.1) 
Micah Blue Smaldone  of South Portland, another artist featured on the “Maine Tracks” compilation, is making a bit of noise with an album called The Red River. I kind of dig this goth-folky ballad:
* Listen: It Was This Morning 
Closer to home — about 50 yards away, as the Jack Russell flies — my neighbor Dave McLean has built a little recording studio with antiquated equipment and nonexistent sound isolation from which he turns out lovingly crafted tunes like this:
* Listen: This Little Coastal Town  Do they have musicians in Alabama? I suppose they must. I cannot help thinking we appreciate ours a bit more.