If you missed the Shape Shifters on Sunday, September 3rd, at the Rangeley gazebo then you missed their final performance for the season. They have provided a high-quality summer series of eclectic music since June. This quartet, with an occasional visitor, have been grooving together since Covid hit two years ago. The barefoot Jeff Voorhees bangs his primal drums with his trusty puppy, Maxi, lounging by his side. Mike Blythe plays the full range of guitar licks, going from spacey floaters to picked notes of the usual three chords (plus a few hundred others), and from screaming rock ballads to bluesy dirges conjuring Muddy Waters. His rhythmic soul lives beside his raw heart. Sam Meehan infuses the varied song list with his brassy blues. Sam will be heading back to Minnesota with his slide trombone this October after a four year stint with us here in Rangeley. His grade-A musicianship has been a reminder of just how lucky we are to have so many talented musicians in our midst, both homegrown and visitors from far-off lands.

And then there’s Mike Schrader, the de facto leader of this band of ne’er-do-wells. Mike is renowned for his multi-genre reach as well as his command over woodwinds and strings. This man can have his pipe and play it too. He can shooby-doo and lead you away from the scrape of daily life with his Bukowski-esque baritone. All the while smiling from his scruffy visage that says, “Life is good, baby.”

All four share singing duties and when they go at it together it’s like the naughty angels in Heaven have been given a momentary stage for others to swing by and be reminded about the eternal gift of music. Stragglers come and go as the band slides from song to song, some stop for a squat on the grass or in an Adirondack chair outside of Snow Source. Some even go so far as to place a few dollars in the tip jar. No doubt this is to keep Maxi in righteous treats. Thanks, boys, for sharing your love of music with us all. Our ears and souls sure do appreciate the cleansing. And a special thanks to the local businesses, including The Rangeley Adventure Company, for sponsoring this musical series, and for bringing this gift to us every summer Sunday.

L.-R.: Sam Meehan, Mike Blythe, Jeff Voorhees, and Mike Schrader Tim Straub

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