Squids nominated for best house band

23 October 2013
The Squid Jiggers have been nominated as best house band by the Portland Phoenix.

The Squid Jiggers have been nominated as best house band by the Portland Phoenix.

We’ve played a regular Wednesday night gig at Bull Feeney’s on Fore Street in Portland for more than three years now. The regulars, we know by name. We know their favorite songs. We always play them. The tourists come, have a good time, then they go. We wave and say, “come back soon.” The bartenders know Dave likes bacon and swiss on his burger. Everybody knows that’s my motorcycle parked out front.

No Squid Jigger has ever called out sick. Not once.

Looks like all that singing and playing is finally paying off.

The good folks over at the Portland Phoenix have nominated us for Best House Band in their annual readers music poll.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we won? I mean, we don’t really care. We’re not in this for awards. But wouldn’t it be fabulous if a folk duo, like The Squid Jiggers, walked away with the gold?

We need your help to make it happen. We’re up against some seriously stiff competition. Vote early. Vote often. You can vote as often as you like. So, what are you waiting for?





Animal Refuge League benefit a success

11 June 2013
Troy and Dave onstage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center atop Munjoy Hill in Portland

Troy and Dave onstage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center atop Munjoy Hill in Portland

The first ever Vacationland Music show featuring The Squid Jiggers, Dave Rowe and the Half Moon Jug Band hit the stage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill in Portland Saturday night. The concert helped raise money for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. It’s an organization dedicated to caring for wayward critters and creating families by placing those animals in loving homes.

The Squids played a couple of old favorites including “Come Down Ye Roses,” written by Troy. It mentions Munjoy Hill and seemed appropriate, considering the setting. Dave played a couple of songs from his forthcoming solo album. He also knocked the crowd for a loop with a soaring solo version of Tommy Makem’s “Four Green Fields.”

The Half Moon Jug Band belted out their North Pond Hermit song and couldn’t leave without playing “Tuna Noodle” complete with Mike the Drummer’s famous fish dance. They also challenged the crowd to join in on “Rattlin’ Bog” by special request.

The show concluded with everybody on stage, leading the crowd in singing “Country Roads” and “This Land is Your Land.”

So, here’s a big THANK YOU from everyone at the St. Lawrence Arts Center and Vacationland Music for coming to the show, singing along, picking up a CD or two and helping us raise some cash for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. We’re already talking about doing it again.


The Squid Jiggers at the 40th annual Old Port Festival.

The Squid Jiggers at the 40th annual Old Port Festival.

Sunday saw The Squid Jiggers on the Bull Feeney’s stage at the 40th annual Old Port Festival. The sea of festival goes seemingly went on forever. Around 30,000 people were expected to attend. Troy lost count somewhere around 50 or so. Bull Feeney’s (where the Squid play regularly) also presented the Pubcrawlers, the Milliners and Rum Riot.

Up next for the Squids is a June 27 appearance at the Brick Church in Lovell, Maine. After that, they’ll hit the road for New Jersey and Maryland in July. More on that later.

So, have a good summer, swim with a buddy, eat lobster and come see a show. You’ll be glad you did.


We’re still working on a kids record with our friends in the Half Moon Jug Band

24 February 2013
Dave at the controls.

Dave at the controls.



So, we started this thing over a year ago.

It’s a record split between us and our Vacationland Music pals in the Half Moon Jug Band. We worked on it some more over the weekend. We’re still not done. But we’re having a wicked decent time trying to get it finished, anyway. Here’s a video clip from Saturday afternoon.

Please pay special attention to the terrific dancing and air saxophone playing.


Mike the Drummer and Steve-O.

Mike the Drummer and Steve-O.











Spotify Squiddy goodness

27 January 2013
I'm listening to The Squid Jiggers on Spotify right now and I can't tell the difference between this, and the real thing! And it's free! And it's legal!

I’m listening to The Squid Jiggers on Spotify right now and I can’t tell the difference between this, and the real thing! And it’s free!

Did you know you The Squid Jiggers were on Spotify? No, well, we are. It’s true. What’s that, you don’t know what Spotify is? Well, Spotify offers you legal and free access to a huge library of all kinds of music, including the Squiddy kind.  All you need to do is create an account and download the streaming music player. Then type in our name, or the name of one of our albums and enjoy the Squiddy sonic goodness. Pretty simple, huh? So, what are you waiting for?


St. Patrick’s Day show details

27 January 2013
Let's eat, drink, be merry and feed some hungry people this St. Patrick's Day.

Let’s eat, drink, be merry and feed some hungry people via Good Shepherd Food Bank this St. Patrick’s Day.

We love St. Patrick’s Day and we love helping people out. For the second straight year, we’ll do both by playing a concert and fundraiser to help feed the hungry right here in Maine. The show will be at DaVinci’s Restaurant in Lewiston on Sunday, March 17. Tickets are $15. Folks will have the opportunity to buy dinner (like the Corned Beef and Cabbage special that DaVinci’s will be cranking up), and toss back a favorite Irish beverage.

This is a fundraiser for Good Shepherd Food Bank. Bring non-perishable food items and get entered in drawings for gnarly door prizes. There will be a 50/50 raffle as well to benefit the GSFB, and, just like last year, we will be holding Danny Boy, the Unicorn and all Seven Old Ladies in the Lavatory hostage until we’ve filled the donation jar, at which point the songs will be sung!

The doors open at 4:30, but the show will not start in earnest until after dinner (about 7PM). Come early and get a good table.

Get Your tickets online at

Many Mainers have been hard hit by the recession. The USDA estimates that 14.7 percent of Maine households, or approximately 200,000 individuals, are food insecure. The number of Mainers who are food insecure has increased significantly in recent years. Maine ranks 18th in the nation and 2nd in New England in terms of food insecurity.The mission of Good Shepherd Food Bank is to provide food for those at risk of hunger by soliciting surplus food and distributing it to non-profit programs throughout Maine.


Making plans for the future

25 January 2013
Dave sets up the ticketing thingamajig for St. Patrick's Day and stuff.

Dave sets up the online ticketing thingamajig for the wicked big St. Patrick’s Day show and stuff and so on..




Before long, if all goes well, Squiddy Fans will be able to purchase tickets to Squid-related events and concerts online from the comfort of their footy pajamas. Here we have Dave slaving over a hot laptop, typing his sensitive musician fingers to the bone. And why? He’s doing it all for you folks. And also to cut out our currently awkward phone-based ticketing system. It’s served us well, but it’s time to upgrade. We’ll let you know when the online system is fully operational. Until then, keep your tentacles crossed.


Release the CDs!

5 October 2011

From the Squid Central News Desk…

33 1/3

33 1/3

The Squid Jiggers release CD in tribute to records at three eateries

Maine folk duo The Squid Jiggers are celebrating the release of their second full-length CD — a tribute to vinyl records entitled “331/3” — with a three shows in October.

The first show, on Saturday October 22, includes a sumptuous, family-style Italian buffet dinner with a cash bar at Graziano’s Casa Mia on Route 196 in Lisbon, Maine. Graziano’s is a Maine landmark serving fresh, homemade food for 41 years. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call 1-866-655-7171 for reservations with a credit card.

The second show, on Wednesday October 26, is at Bull Feeney’s on Fore Street in the Old Port neighborhood of Portland, Maine. Bull Feeney’s serves delicious steaks, seafood and hearty Irish fare and has Maine’s most extensive selection of single malt Scotch and Irish whiskies. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is free with the purchase of drinks or a meal. Contact Bull Feeney?s at 207-773-7210.

Show number three takes place at the Black Bear Cafe in Naples, Maine on Friday night October 28 at 8 p.m. Hosts John and Susan Bohill serve up the best gourmet pizza in the state, along with pasta, seafood, steak and other tasty surprises in an intimate, tin- ceilinged building on Route 302. The show is free with dinner. Seating is limited, arrive early. Call the Black Bear cafe at 207-693-4770.

The Squid Jiggers — folk veterans Dave Rowe and Troy R. Bennett — have played nearly 250 shows and released a debut album since forming in March 2010. They play a hearty mix of traditional and tradition-inspired music from Ireland, Scotland, Atlantic Canada, and Maine, sprinkled with a dash of Downeast wit.

Their latest collection of old and new songs is a CD about records. Called 331/3 in a nod to the rotational speed of long-playing discs, it seeks to capture the warmth and style of the vinyl records the Jiggers grew up on. The CD cover recalls a 1960s Columbia Records release, complete with tracks listed on sides one and two. The disc itself looks like a miniature, grooved record.

The resemblance doesn’t stop there. Recorded at Squid Jigging vocalist and bass player Dave Rowe’s recording studio in Raymond, the CD even sounds like a record.

“We would have loved to release this album on vinyl,” said Rowe. “But the cost was just too prohibitive.”

So, they used vintage equipment, and a little studio trickery, to evoke the sounds of the familiar black spinning platters instead. The album opens with the sound of a tonearm being activated. Then the needle hits the “record” and a few stray crackles and pops are heard before the first track. The music is notably warmer, more live and without the crisp digital edge of a standard CD.

“I’m not at liberty to divulge our methods,” said Bennett with a grin. “Let’s just say it involved two elderly, quarter-inch tape machines, a Dual 1229 turntable, some sophisticated software and an old Glenn Miller album.”

Rowe is similarly mum. “My lips are sealed,” he said.

But why go to all the trouble?

Because they owe a lot to records.

Bennet and Rowe (the son of a well-known folk musician Tom Rowe, of Schooner Fare) say records were their biggest connection to the wider world of folk music while growing up. Bennett recalls combing the cutout bins in Portland record stores, looking for the kind of music he wasn’t going to hear on the radio.

“As soon as I got my license, I was driving to Portland every week, looking for Clancy Brothers, Dave Mallet, Christy Moore and, of course, Schooner Fare records,” said Bennett. “I spent every dime I had on records, gas, girls and guitar strings.”

In the days before eBay, iTunes, Youtube and Google searches, finding non-mainstream music was a challenge. He’d stop at scores of yard sales every summer, looking for folk music he hadn’t heard before. He borrowed records by the dozen, transferring them to cassette.

Rowe distinctly remembers “needle dropping” Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem records over and over again, trying to discern the lyrics.

“It’s the same thing my Dad did when he was a kid,” said Rowe. “He’d listen to Kingston Trio records and learn all three harmony parts, and the guitar and banjo parts, too.”

Aside from the technical details, The Squid Jiggers are proud of the music on 331/3, as well.

Their first CD, Greatest Hits, was a collection of well known and traditional songs from the celtic genre. Their newest offering is roughly half original material and half traditional. The songs range from jaunty sing-alongs from Newfoundland, to Irish playground taunts, to original songs about larger-than-life seafaring heroes and sailors looking for ladies ashore.

Up Jumped the Dancers, a song penned by Bennett, describes the joyous effects of a fiddler and his instrument. It’s an uptempo number, but conveys a sense of sadness mixed with revelry as the fiddler brings happiness while his own remains out of reach.

“It’s a mostly true story,” said Bennett. “I wish it wasn’t.”

Just in time for the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Rowe and Georgia songwriter Dennis Goodwin tell a true tale of kindness in a new song called The Stranger. In 1862, a family in Gray, Maine waited for the body of their son, who died of wounds suffered in the battle of Cedar Mountain, to be shipped home to them. When the coffin arrives, they find the body of a young Confederate soldier in his place. Instead of sending him back, they bury him as their own.

“I got the idea for the song from my late friend Harvey Weinstein,” said Rowe, “and writing it with Dennis, who is down in Georgia, seemed like a natural idea. We?ve got the North and South thing going on.”

The album is rounded out with songs from Scotland, a couple more Newfoundland tunes and an irresistible sing along shanty from the Chesapeake Bay decked out with new verses by Bennett and a chorus of friends and colleagues.

The new CD will be available at all concerts after the kickoff at Graziano’s on October 22, and at their website shortly thereafter.

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

33 1/3 track listing

1. Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor is a lively traditional song from Newfoundland. It probably started life as a music hall number before passing into the public domain. The Squid Jiggers get vocal support here from a group of friends and colleagues dubbed the “Calamari Choir.”

2. This short medley is a pairing of Mairi?s Wedding, a well-known Scots wedding song sung while walking from church to parish hall, and I?ll Tell Me Ma, an Irish children?s playground ditty from Belfast.

3. The Bonnie Ship the Diamond was a real Scottish whaling ship, launched in 1812 and skippered by Captain Thompson. Despite the bravado of this song, it was lost in 1819 after taking 8 whales in the Arctic.

4. Up Jumped the Dancers is a new song written by Troy about a fiddler with the ability to lift spirits and set feet in motion. Though he brings joy to drinkers and dancers alike, his own happiness is harder to find.

5. Based on a true story, The Stranger tells the tale of a fallen Confederate soldier mistakenly shipped to a family in Gray, Maine who bury him like he was their own. It is appropriately written by Dave in Maine and Dennis Goodwin of Georgia.

6. Paddy Lay Back is a salty call-and-response capstan shanty made for toiling aboard ship and hauling anchor. The Calamari Choir joins in here, making this one a real shouter.

7. The Mingulay Boat Song concerns a tiny Island in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. Without a harbor and with a dwindling population, it was abandoned in 1912. The song comes from the imagination of Sir Hugh S. Roberton, who wrote it in 1938. It’s about coming home.

8. Troy wrote Come Down Ye Roses by combining parts of a traditional shanty chorus collected by Alan Lomax in the Bahama?s in 1935 with a brand new song idea. His home port of Portland used to have weekly steamship service to Liverpool and scads of shops catering to every “need” of sailors ashore.

9. The truly romantic Lovers Often Do comes from an old poem Troy wrote in college about longing for adventure and love. It?s coupled with an adapted traditional tune and performed on guitar and tin whistle.

10. The Star of Logy Bay and I’ze the B’y are a couple of authentic Newfoundland dance tunes. The former is a lovely waltz rendered here on concertina and tin whistle. The latter is a mostly nonsensical jig. It?s probably the best known song from ‘Da Rock.

11. Dave’s father, Tom Rowe, wrote Molasses for Schooner Fare’s 1985 album “We the People.” Among other details, it chronicles Boston’s great molasses flood of 1919 where a 50-foot vat of the sticky sweetener burst, drowning more than 20 of souls.

12. Hamish Henderson was a Scottish poet, songwriter, scholar, soldier and intellectual. He served in North Africa during WWII. He oversaw the drafting of Italy’s surrender order. The Banks of Sicily is adapted from his Scots dialect poem about going home at the end of the war.

13. Dave wrote The Ballad of Howard Blackburn in tribute to the Nova Scotia born pride of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was, without a doubt the port’s most famous fingerless transatlantic sailor, bravest back room bootlegger and unlikely Yukon prospector.

14. The album concludes with the return of the Calamari Choir, singing and swaying with The Squid Jiggers on the Chesapeake Bay fishing shanty, Sweet Rosyanne. This traditional song sports brand new verses, written by Troy.


According to recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers, vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold, the format’s best year since

SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Nielsen says Vinyl sales increased 37 percent in the beginning of 2011 over the same period last year. Vinyl sales also rose 14.2 percent in 2010, although they only accounted for 1.2 percent of physical sales.

The Squid Jiggers would have loved to release 331/3 on vinyl but production costs make it financially prohibitive. But, fans of vinyl can take solace in the fact that there is no shortage of vintage, and just plain used, records out there.

The top 10 reasons The Squid Jiggers love old vinyl record albums.

1. They force you to slow down and actually listen to the music. You can?t listen to a record in the car, while you are grocery shopping or while you’re jogging.

2. Homeless records are a real value. There are literally millions of records out there just waiting for you to take them home with you — often for a little as a dollar. That’s a dozen songs or more, for a buck. iTunes can’t beat that.

3. Used records equal excitement. Pawing through boxes of used records is like going on a treasure hunt. Whether in your grandmother’s basement, a roadside yard sale or a overstuffed thrift store, you never know what you?ll find.

4. It?s all in the sound. Records are warm and fuzzy. Digital files are cold and crisp. Which one would you rather cuddle up with?

5. Records are fun to watch. Push the lever and the platter starts to spin. The tonearm lifts via unseen hands and hidden gears. The needle hits the groove with a pop and followed by three exciting seconds before the music starts.

6. When you get tired of an album you can turn it into a snazzy clock, or soften it up in the oven and twist it into a stylish fruit bowl. It’s true. We’ve done it.

7. Size matters. They’re bigger than CDs. Would you rather have a 5×5 or 12×12 picture of Herb Albert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights? We rest our case. They?re heavier, too. A crate of records in the back seat of your car gets you more traction in a blizzard than a crate of CDs.

8. Record grooves are time machines. They are the physical remains of sounds and songs sung long ago. The needle drags them back into the present. HG Wells liked records. A lot.

9. You can’t just skip to side B at the push of a button. You have to wait. It builds character.

10. They’re cool. We’d tell you why, but if we have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.

Where to hunt for albums, 45rpm singles and even older, 10-inch 78rpm records

– Flea markets and yard sales

– Your parents’ or grandparents’ cellars and attics

– Thrift stores Any one of the fine retailers in the area:

– Vinylhaven Records, 147 Maine Street Brunswick, ME 04011(207) 729-6513

– Wild Rufus Records, 135 High Street Belfast, ME 04915 (207) 338-1909

– Music Plus, 140 Main Street Biddeford, ME 04005 (207) 283-2927

– Enterprise Records, 650 Congress Street Portland, ME 04101 (207) 773-7672

– Sounds Absurd, 55 Oak Street, Portland, ME 04101

– Bill’s Stuff, 405 College Street Lewiston, ME 04240

Take pictures I do

9 May 2011

I’ve usually got a camera with me. Maybe it’s my little point’n’shoot, my Iphone one of my honkin’ big Canons. Sometimes I even shoot on film. (What’s that you ask? I’ll tell you in the morning, now go to sleep.) My point is, I shoot pictures all the time — every day, in fact. So here’s a few I’ve got kicking around.

lids on cups

Sounds like a Google translation from Dagobahese.

Dave and I travelled to the North East Regional Folk Alliance one-day, mini conference in Franklin, MA a couple of weeks ago. It was a held in a church and they were understandably concerned for the welfare of their sanctuary’s rug. The last thing they wanted was a bunch of rowdy folkies spilling their all-natural, sparkling cider on the floor while clapping along to “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” and grinding it into the carpet with whole wheat rice cracker crumbs under the heels of their Birkenstocks. But, I find tersely worded and hastily printed signs taped to doors kind of funny. They always omit just enough pronouns and verbs as to be almost unintelligible. Their custodian must be Yoda’s brother.

That being said, in good humor mind you, they had some fabulous doughnuts out to greet us. It didn’t take long for the official Squid Jigger Pastry Inspection and Precision Drill Team to swing into action. The jelly filled dainties were fresh an locally made. The sandwiches at lunch were as big as my head. But, we took our jobs very seriously and snarfed down a couple. The free coffee flowed all day and the line at the mens room was rarely less than four deep.

doughnut inspection team

Official Pastry Inspection Team.

This past Saturday night found us at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, ME once again. This time, we were gathered with some musical friends for the 7th Annual Remembering Tom Rowe Concert, benefiting the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund. Dave’s dad, Tom, was a founding member of Schooner Fare. He died in January, 2004 as a result of complications from throat cancer, but his music and influence live on through this yearly event. Schooner Fare was there as well as Tom’s old friend Denny Breau. The Wicked Good Band made everyone’s side hurt from laughing, and Dave’s Trio knocked everyone out with their amazing sound. Those boys can really play their instruments.

It was the second year I’ve been asked to play as a Squid Jigger. It’s was just as big an honor the second time around as it was the first. I’m a musician today because of Tom Rowe and Schooner Fare. I saw them perform at my school in 1984. I’d never head music so big and thick and inclusive before. When they lifted their voices, as one and in harmony, it was like a big pair of sonic arms reaching out, pulling us all inside the circle. Nobody was left out. We were all invited. They had a way of not just performing FOR you, but also performing WITH you. I tried to think of that night as I sang a couple of songs at the show this year. And there was Dave, next to me, playing his Dad’s bass and his Dad’s tin whistle.

My part of the show was short. That meant I had plenty of time to inspect the pizza and liquid refreshments backstage. I also go to hang out and talk to three more of my heroes: the Wicked Good Band. Steve, Jere and Bill are a Maine institution. I can truly attest, they are just as funny off stage as they are on stage.

wicked good band

Steve, Me, Jere and Bill.

I have a vivid memory of being in high school and going to a party at someone’s house. The parents were gone and things were kinda wild. While riffling through the family record collection I came upon the Wicked Good Band’s “Dare to Be Wicked Good” album. The cover art featured pink flamingos. I was intrigued. While the music blared in the other room, I donned a pair of headphones and gave the record a twirl. I laughed so much people thought I was high.


Cheese, 'shrooms and grease. Mmmmm...

So, while the rest of my friends partied, I drove to the drug store to buy blank cassette tapes. (What are cassette tapes? I’ll tell you in the morning, now go to sleep.) I taped both sides of the record and went looking for more. Sadly, that was the only record the parents had. It took me some time to locate a copy of “State ‘O’Maine,” their first album. Since then, I bought their hilarious book, and later albums “Maine Cookin'” and “Clam Jam.” I’ve seen ‘em perform a bunch of times. I even managed to get Steve to perform on a record I made with the Half Moon Jug Band in 2005. We covered the Wicked Good song “Buried in Bingham.” Steve sang and played the piano.

So there you have it: some thoughts, some pictures, some pizza, some doughnuts.




Father Ovington checks his look before preaching to his flock via his righteous fiddle.




Whew! 150 gigs and counting. Let’s do another one in Lewiston while we’re at it.

29 March 2011

WHO: The Squid Jiggers with special guest Larry Irwin

WHAT: Concert, crepes and cash bar

WHERE: Franco-American Heritage Center’s Heritage Hall

46 Cedar St Lewiston, ME 04240 (207) 783-1585

WHEN: Saturday night April 16, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $10 at the door or call 207-689-2000 for advance tickets

Fresh from a St. Patrick’s Week tour through Maine, northern New Jersey and western Pennsylvania, we’re are back home to celebrate a successful year with a show at the historic Franco-American Heritage Center on Cedar Street in Lewiston. Believe it or not, we’ve  performed nearly 150 shows and released an album since forming one year ago and show no signs of slowing down. In fact, the coming year looks to be even busier, with more concerts and a followup CD due out this summer.

We’ve been right out straight. But we like it that way. It’s better than staying home, watching the boob tube. We figure, the best way to celebrate a stupendously squiddy year of shows is to put on another one. Opening the show for us is local singer-songwriter Larry Irwin. Refreshments, including crepes and a cash bar will be available. Nous vous y voir!


Nice folks in South Windsor, CT

19 January 2011

South Windsor

Here's a picture of the great crowd in South Windsor, CT. Can you spot our biggest fan? Clicky, clicky to see it bigger.

We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd than the one we had at the South Windsor Public Library Saturday night in Connecticut. They were lively. They smelled nice. They sang along. They even threw their hands in the air and waved them around like they just didn’t care. Our sincere thanks go out to Mary and Pat for giving us the call, getting us in the game and taking such good care of us. We hope we’ll see you again, soon.


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