Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame

Big Boots to Fill**
Country music in Maine is very popular, if Arbitron (radio's version of the Nielsens) is to be believed. I couldn't locate the most recent ratings for the the biggest markets in Maine, Bangor and Portland, but I did locate some ratings from the last year. Those charts show that the top rated radio station for Bangor plays Country Music. This ratings chart shows that two of the top three stations in Portland, Maine's largest city, are running a country music format.

Maine is not, however, known as a place that produces a great number of country music stars, like, say Texas or Tennessee. As a matter of fact, I did several online searches for country music stars from Maine and I came across exactly one that had a hit song I could remember - Dick Curless, with 1965's A Tombstone Every Mile. Curless also had ten other songs that charted between 1965 and 1972. This is not to say that Maine singers suck or anything, it simply means that the numbers favor larger states. For instance, Texas has about 25,000,000 people and Maine has about 1.5 million. Hell, Texas has 1.5 million country singers performing at local clubs around the state on any given Friday night. How many of those 1.5 million singers will ever become a major recording star? Two? Three? It's a numbers game. Put another way, what are the top three states in the country that turn out more college football stars than all the rest? Texas, California and Florida. Those three states account for, when added together, over eighty million people.! It's only natural that they would produce a larger number of anything like star players and singers, by the sheer force of mathematics.

The numbers mentioned above do not, however, dampen the enthusiasm Mainers have for Country Music. I just happened across this story in the Portland Press Herald. The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame has finally found a home, if only temporary, after all the items donated to it had been in storage for 31 years! the MCMHOF will be housed in the Silver Spur Club in Mechanic Falls until a permanent facility can be found. In the meantime, performers' clothes, sheet music, photos and other memorabilia from Maine's Country Music past will be on display at the Silver Spur for the public to see. I feel sure that if any of the old timers are hangin' around the venue when you visit, they'd be happy to share some stories of their time as stars in their own right with you. Although national recognition eluded many of the Hall's members during their singing careers, their dedication to finally finding a home for the artifacts of yesterday's country musicians of Maine, is indeed worthy of all the attention that it can garner, and inspirational to a new generation of country music singers and would-be superstars of today.

**Photo from Portland Press Herald**

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