Various Artists

Various Artists
Greetings From Area Code 207, Vol. 8
Cornmeal Records

Click to hear: “White Trash

Ten years after the first volume of Greetings comes this two-disc edition of the local music series, sales of which benefit the nonprofit St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill.

Radio host and project producer Charlie Gaylord has compiled another solid collection of roots music, with some rock thrown in for ballast. The lineup is predictable by now — The Coming Grass, Darien Brahms, a live track by Ray LaMontagne, something by whatever band Spencer Albee has put together at the moment — but there are a few surprises.

For example, the Paranoid Social Club track, “White Trash,” is great. The rap by guest vocalist Thommy is spot-on. “Got my food stamp card, I’m ’bout to eat / Beef jerkys, nachos doused in meat / I save the real cash for important stuff / Lottery, cigarettes, liquor and weed.”

Dave Gutter’s other band, Rustic Overtones, shows up twice: backing LaMontagne on a live version of “You Are The Best Thing,” and contributing the previously unreleased “Tattoo,” a slinky neo-soul song with Tex-Mex accents courtesy of guest trumpeter Mark Tipton.

The inclusion of a track by Wells rapper Spose is surprising even though the subject matter of “Pop Song,” a protest against industry pressure to sell out, isn’t. More striking is the sunny acoustic pop nugget “Love Fool” by recent Waynflete grad  Amy Allen, ably accompanied by a backing band that includes Carter Logan of Jerks of Grass on guitar and Stu Mahan on bass. Allen’s debut EP, Honey, is itself a fundraiser for the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, and also worth picking up.

Doug Cowan of Bullyclub is back with a new group named Welterweight. Their crunching, Crazy Horse-inspired “Remember The Maine” kicks off the second disc, the stronger of the two. In addition to the Paranoid cut, this one’s got another alt-country slow-burner by The Coming Grass, Spouse’s punchy “Chicago,” and Brahms’ “Something To Be Said,” a ragged boogie making its debut here.

Albee still can’t name a band, but the upbeat rocker “Cheer Up Ray,” by his new Space Versus Speed project, delivers the goods. So does the formulaic but fun “Untouchable” by The Leftovers, the Portland-centric punk-pop combo that’s been in the ’fridge for a while now.

There are some low points, like the pomp-rockin’ “Her Vampire Scab,” by Holy Boys Danger Club. Grand Hotel’s ’80s pop attempt, “Bad Gurl,” sticks out like a sore thumb on this compilation. The Lucid’s “Mothership” never takes off, and “The Great Mistake,” a sleepy song by The Loblolly Boy, was a mistake to include.

Still, a few clunkers out of 31 tracks is no big deal. Vol. 8 is the best Greetings yet.

— Chris Busby

Visit for more info on the Greetings series.

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