Davey Terwilliger (from left) Logan Boyd and Max Hansen stand amongst the record bins at the Bull Moose store in South Portland on Feb. 2, 2023. The three are behind a new local music web series filmed in the store, after hours. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Seated between two long bins of vinyl records, wearing a set of white, cloth wings, Abbeth Russell rubbed a violin bow across the smooth edge of a handsaw clamped tight between her knees. While the tool emitted a wobbling whine, Russell’s partner, John Supinski, played guitar, wearing a blue wig.

The pair sang together, “I woke up in the morning in an old time, wicked town with a picnic on the blanket and blizzard on the ground.”

Together, Russell and Supinski are known as The Bumbling Woohas. Their performance, among the 12-inch record covers, was captured on video for a new online, live music series called “Between the Bins.” It features Maine artists and is filmed after hours at the Mill Creek Bull Moose store in South Portland.

The project, which began its second season last week, is meant to showcase what organizers see as an under-publicized local music scene while rededicating the chain to its musical roots after online streaming forced it to diversify its offerings in recent years.

Brett Wickard founded Bull Moose Music as a record and CD store in Brunswick in 1989. In recent years, with the rise of cloud-based services such as Spotify, the business diversified into video games, gifts, books and novelties, even dropping the “music” part of its name.

There are now 11 Bull Moose locations in Maine and New Hampshire. In January 2022, Wickard sold the company to its employees after one store made moves to unionize.

Mick Werkhoven, Bull Moose’s marketing and events manager, is quick to point out that while the company sells a lot of books, video games and novelties, it never stopped selling music.

“And now the vinyl resurgence is a big part of our business,” Werkhoven said. “These videos are a reaffirmation — we’re still a music store.”

The videos started last year when Mill Creek location Assistant Manager Davey Tewilliger began filming friend and musician Logan Boyd playing at various locations around Portland. They eventually ended up in the store after hours, playing music amongst the record bins and the idea was born.

“It was really by accident,” Boyd said.

The two then brought the notion to store manager Max Hansen, who is also a veteran drummer and guitar player with many local bands such as Mouth Washington and The Bumbling Woohas.

“I loved the idea,” Hansen said. “I thought it was great and a good opportunity to showcase the Portland music scene. It’s something Bull Moose was really good at before the pandemic, with local performances and in-store appearances.”

Now, Terwilliger does the filming while Boyd handles the sound for each band appearing in the Between the Bins series. Hansen acts as a producer.

The videos offer stripped-down, mostly acoustic, live performances. The feel is intimate, like a living room concert. Warm lighting and lively camera work help set a friendly but professional tone.

Season one featured 13 separate performers. Season two’s first episode was released last week. A new installment will be posted every other Friday at 2 p.m.

The Bumbling Woohas describe their music as “death folk” although Russell admits that’s a term they made up.

“I usually say it’s high-energy and kind of circus-ey,” she said. “It ranges from being mystical all the way to screaming and punkish.”

Along with playing the saw, Russell often juggles and plays harmonica while Supinski holds down guitar duties. The pair started their careers busking on Portland sidewalks and have since released several albums and toured the country more than once.

Still, they are grateful for the support from the video crew at the Mill Creek store.

 “They made it super fun and easy for us,” Russell said.

Like Bull Moose, The Bumbling Woohas are also recommitting themselves to physical, recorded objects. They plan to release their next album on a cassette tape. Also, Russell and Supinski are about to embark on a unique, vinyl record project.

Woohas fans can pre-order their favorite song, then the duo will record each one, directly-to-vinyl, for each customer.

“So every individual record is a unique take,” Supinski said. “We’re going to be going to the studio for three or four hours and, say we have 15 pre orders of one song, we’re going to do 15 unique takes for the people that ordered the pre orders.”

Other artist features in Bull Moose’s Between the Bins series include Kurt Baker, Seepeoples, Brock Gither and Jimmy Dority.

Terwilliger said that while he enjoys drawing attention to established local artists such as The Bumbling Woohas with the videos, he especially likes helping emerging artists make their first forays into the live music scene.

“The music business attention has shifted to marketing and promotion and giving people a hand in that has been rewarding,” Terwilliger said. “Almost everyone has creativity worth showcasing and a few just need a little help getting their music out of their bedrooms.”

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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.