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I'm not certain why it is that each September I take a cleansing breath and look back over the last 9 months, reflecting upon them as if they were a year. Perhaps it is that the crush of summer festivals and corporate mega-parties are over for another year. Or maybe it's just that this is such a great time to be alive and working in Maine, serving the best clients an old expediter like me could ever ask for. My businesses have grown each and every year since the mid-80's, when I started to figure out that playing music for a living wasn't my life's calling; but that the knowledge and contacts spawned over 20+ years of working on the road was simply setting the stage for the next chapter. I've been expecting at least a leveling off, or maybe a downturn, and so far -- luckily I suppose -- that hasn't happened. But I've been at this deal called life long enough to know that growth alone is not the mark of success; and that, in my play book at least, quality beats quantity every time. (WARNING -- it's getting mushy...) So here we are again in early fall, and I've got just enough time to appreciate my good fortune to be in a business I truly love. I feel that my staff (more about them in a minute) and I are doing very good work for a superb group of clients. And I guess I need to thank everybody, if only once a year, for the chance to be where I am, doing what I do.
Thank you.-- Chuck Kruger


(Note to reader: if you can't stand name dropping, skip this section)

Since the last newsletter, we've had some more fun shows to put together, and here are just a few highlights: Though it never came to fruition, we got to work closely putting together a string of appearances for Larry Bird in Maine. Other brushes with greatness that did come to be included speeches by Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, Marlin Fitzwater, and Dee Dee Myers. We did several dates with Sha Na Na, which is a first-rate family show. You do not need to be a survivor of the 50's and 60's to have a great time dancing and singing along with this versatile group. We also brought Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas and his team to midcoast Maine. For a client in Havre De Grace, Maryland we booked Three Dog Night, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, and The Oak Ridge Boys. To Massachusetts we brought John Sebastian, Jesse Colin Young, and Christine Lavin, among several others. To the 49th annual Maine Lobster Festival we brought country star Doug Stone. For Schooner Days in Rockland we delivered a steel band and country music festival culminating in the Tribute to Patsy Cline featuring Sandy Martin. For a grand opening in Bangor, we put together a number of national and local performers, including The Bobs, the wackiest a capella group ever. In August we did yet another concert in Portland featuring the world's favorite new folkies, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin, and Cliff Eberhardt. Though the show has previously been On A Winter's Night, that name didn't quite work this year. Patty suggested "On a Summer's Eve" (imagine the sponsorship possibilities) but Gorka vetoed that. Anyway, it was a great show, and we truly value the relationships that have developed with artists of national scope who love to come back to Maine and want to work with us year after year.

Dot O'Donnell started her third year with Entertainment Resources in March. She is more than the front line of our office now, she is our "special event specialist," the one who keeps everything on track. Phil Clement has joined the office on a more regular basis. Phil is a fine musician and very capable utility infielder for us. He will be on-site as event manager, sound technician, talent coordinator, and line producer. Jane Kerrigan, friend to many midcoast folk artists and fans, joins us on a freelance basis for clerical coordination, bookkeeping, and event assistance. Willy Ritch-Smith, when not circumnavigating the globe with his family on his yacht Arbella, has done some great work on sponsorship and business development. Darren Payson deserves mention not only for his work on sound and lighting systems, but also for his notable performances as a costume character in some of the corporate parties we've done lately.

We had yet another record year at the Waldo Theatre in Waldoboro. Highlights include the annual Pride of Maine Fiddling Festival, Shakespeare & Co. in Macbeth, Lazer Vaudeville, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Tom Rush, Jonathan Edwards, Michael Menes & Co., and The Casco Bay Tummlers, among many other successful events.

Tours in the making for '97, which you can still get dates on, include some interesting things. Many buyers tell me they want something new and different, yet tried and true. For a long time I dismissed that as a contradiction in terms, but then I set out to produce options for clients that met that standard. Here are some suggestions:
The Harvest Ragtime Revue is pure gold. Take 3 world-class Ragtime pianists fresh from appearances at the International Ragtime Festival in Toronto, throw in a song-and- dance act and a physical comedian/variety artist, tie it all together with Maine's own Glenn Jenks as host, and you have one great evening of entertainment. Glenn treats his music as an entertaining study of early American music, and that's just what this show is. We're always looking for dates in late October, but versions of the show can be put together at any time of year. The Pride of Maine Fiddling Festival is truly an orgy of fine fiddle music. Three or more fiddlers of differing styles backed by a hot band, doing separate sets and then coming together for a "bow-dacious finish" you'll never forget. This is truly a crossover show, appealing to fans of folk, traditional, classical, jazz, bluegrass, and country music. The Swordsmen, those daring gentlemen in tights, direct from the Renaissance, who specialize in the manly arts of poetry and hand-kissing, shall return for a New England tour in April and/or late October. This is a hilarious show of truly dazzling swordplay interlaced with provocative comedy and authentic (if outrageous) costumes. Josh White Jr. is the real deal. Carrying on the folk blues traditions of his legendary father, Josh is an entertaining contemporary artist who is making a rare foray into New England in May. Call soon for dates! The Persuasions are also the real deal. This a capella vocal group puts on a high-energy show that runs like a history of urban vocal music. Close your eyes, you're on a street corner in Brooklyn in the 50's. I've not see many vocal groups able to get people up and dancing like these guys. Now The Bobs - well, they're something else again. No style is safe from their treatment. Never predictable, never dull. April avails still remain. Last and certainly not least on this week's list is a Tribute to Patsy Cline featuring Sandy Martin. Sandy, her powerful voice and perfect band will take you on a journey through a wonderful chapter in traditional country music.

In February I journeyed to Los Angeles to attend the Concert Industry Consortium. This was an impressive gathering of the top artist managers, agents, and promoters from around the world. It certainly added perspective to our work here at Entertainment Resources, which is becoming more and more national in its scope. While it was thrilling to sit around a conference table as an equal with the managers of such stars as Van Halen, Harry Connick, Jr., Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos, and Shawn Colvin, it also reminded me of the importance of personalized customer service, a rare commodity on the national level. It was also instructional to hear how industry leaders envision the role of Internet in the music business.


-- Chuck Kruger & the Staff of Entertainment Resources

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