10 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Musicians From Maine

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Famous for its lobster and lighthouses, Maine also has a thriving music scene, with the state being home to the Bangor Symphony Orchestra as well as the Maine Country Music Association Hall of Fame.

On top of that, many music festivals are hosted in the state, including the American Folk Festival in Bangor, the Saddleback Mountain Bluegrass Festival, and the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland.

To celebrate the Pine Tree State, in this post, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the greatest and most famous musicians from Maine. Learn more by reading on!

Related: Read about more American musicians here.

1. Patty Griffin

We begin this list with the folk singer and songwriter Patty Griffin. Born in Old Town, Maine, she is known for her deep, soulful voice and guitar and piano skills.

Griffin debuted in 1996 with the album Living with Ghosts was released in 1996. Following this, she released ten more, many of which received Grammy nominations. Two of them, Downtown Church and Patty Griffin, received Grammys for Traditional Gospel Album and Best Folk Album, respectively.

Over the years, many of her songs have been featured in television shows. For instance, “Heavenly Day” has been featured in Smallville and Haunting of Hill House, “Rowing Song” in One Tree Hill, “Rain” in Bones, and “Go Wherever You Wanna Go.” 

2. Juliana Hatfield

Born in Wiscasset, Maine, vocalist and guitarist Juliana Hatfield is also a songwriter, drummer, and keyboard player. Before she embarked on a solo career, Hatfield was part of Blake Babies, Some Girls, The Lemonheads, and even her own The Juliana Hatfield Three.

Then, in 1992, she released her debut solo album, Hey Babe. She followed this up with Become What You Are a year later, which topped the Heatseekers chart. It features her greatest song, “My Sister.”

The song, which peaked at #1 on Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart, was featured in the popular rom-com Reality Bites, starring Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.

3. Clark Gesner

Next up, we have lyricist and composer Clark Gesner, who was born in Augusta, Maine. He started his career in the 1950s as a composer for the popular children’s television show Captain Kangaroo.

Gesner also worked with the hit children’s show Sesame Street, but he is probably best known for his musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. This show had its start in New York in 1967 and was performed in many cities throughout the United States.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, first in 1968 and again in 2000.

4. Clarence White

Our next musician is Clarence White, who hailed from Lewiston, Maine. A singer and guitarist, he played a variety of music, including bluegrass, country, and rock.

He was best known as part of the Kentucky Colonels and The Byrds, as well as a pioneer of country rock in the late 1960s.

The Kentucky Colonels was active from 1954 until 1965. White was their guitarist until their separation in 1965. He then joined The Byrds, helping to release some of their best-known albums, like (Untitled) and Byrdmaniax.

Sadly, White passed away after a drunk driver struck him on July 15, 1973. The musician was only 29. His legacy remains, however, as in 2016, he was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

5. Bill Flagg

Born and raised in Waterville, Maine, Bill Flagg was a country and folk musician. He was famous for coining the term “rockabilly,” which refers to a combination of rock and roll and hillbilly music.

In the early 1950s, Flagg formed a band called Bill Flagg and the Prairie Drifters. This band played a pivotal role in popularizing the rockabilly genre. His individual talents extended beyond singing; he was also proficient in playing the guitar, further enhancing his performances and recordings.

His discography includes numerous songs that have made their mark in rockabilly music. Some of his most popular works include “Go Cat, Go” and “A Good Woman’s Leavin’.” These songs, among others, have solidified his place in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

6. Spencer Albee

Next up we have Spencer Albee, a vocalist, guitarist, drummer, pianist, and keyboardist from Portland, Maine. He attended the University of Southern Maine before starting his pop and rock music career.

Albee was a member of the band Rustic Overtones, who released their first album, Long Division, in 1995. Songs from the album included “About a Kid” and “Simple Song.”

Albee was also part of the band As Fast As, which was originally called Rocktopus. Their debut album, I Love You Good Morning, came out in 2002.

In addition to these acts, Albee has also had a solo career spanning almost two decades. He began in 2000 with The Popsicko, and his most recent album came out in 2017, called Relentlessly Yours.

7. Corey Beaulieu

Hailing from Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, Corey Beaulieu is a heavy metal guitarist and vocalist. At 14, he began to play the guitar and was influenced by Guns N’ Roses and Metallica to pursue a career in music, which led to him trying out for the rock band Trivium.

He joined the group in 2003, and the first album, Trivium, released after Beaulieu joined, was Ascendancy in 2005. More recently, they came out with What the Dead Men Say in 2020 and In the Court of the Dragon in 2021.

In 2014, the band was nominated for three World Music Awards, including Best Group, Best Live Act, and Best Album for Vengeance Falls.

8. Howie Day

The acclaimed American singer and songwriter Howie Day is known for his emotive lyrics and blends of acoustic and electronic music. The Bangor, Maine, native also plays the piano and guitar.

Day’s music career started in 1993, and released his debut album, Australia, in 2000. This was followed by Stop All the World Now. The Gold-certified album contains the songs “Perfect Time of Days,” “She Says,” and “Collide.”

This last song eventually became Day’s first Platinum single and was featured in many TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and Bones. In 2001, the drama movie I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfieffer, featured Day’s version of the Beatles’ song “Help.”

9. Lenny Breau

We have next Lenny Breau, who was born to musician parents in Auburn, Maine, in 1941. With his background, it wasn’t surprising he learned to play guitar at a young age and quickly demonstrated an exceptional talent.

Breau’s professional career began in the late 1950s when he joined his parents’ country band, “The Breau Family.” However, his interest in jazz led him to branch out and develop his unique style that blended different music genres.

Though he tragically passed away in 1984, Breau’s influence on guitar playing continues to be felt today. He was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1997.

10. Rebecca Martin

And finally, Rebecca Martin is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player who hails from the small town of Rumford, Maine.

She plays an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, and pop music with some of her popular songs, including “Don’t Mean a Thing at All,” “The Space in a Song to Think,” and “Just as in Spring.”

She released her debut album, Thoroughfare, in 1998, which was followed by Middlehope two years later. She has since released additional albums, including her most recent, After Midnight, in 2022. 

In addition to making music, Martin also provides private lessons on songwriting, recording, and performing. She co-founded We Always Swing, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting jazz music.

Summing Up Our List OF Great Musicians From Maine

As you have read, country, folk, and heavy metal are just some of the genres you can listen to from musicians from Maine. With so many of them coming out of the state of Maine, you’re sure to find an artist that suits your taste.

We hope this article has been both informative and enjoyable and perhaps introduced you to some new favorites.

If there are any notable musicians from Maine that you believe should have been included, please share your recommendations, and we’ll add them here! Happy listening!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.