Illustrated by fellow southern Mainer Steve Gendron, “Pinecone Pete is Not Impressed,” tells the story of the cone’s quest for a gold coin at the top of a mountain. The journey takes Pete far from home and the people he loves. He must overcome many perils. But once he wins the coin, he’s not as happy as he thought he’d be. That happiness, it turns out, is back home on the coast of Maine with his friends — a leaf and an acorn.
The allegorical kiddie tome is loosely tied into Spose’s new album “We All Got Lost.”
The dense collection of 14 interrelated tracks are all about struggling through your 20s, looking for direction, success and a sense of purpose. The alt-rock-tinged tales veer in and out of autobiography. Some songs are bleak, almost journalistic. Others sparkle with Spose’s trademark self-deprecating sarcasm and humor.
The eponymous first track sets up the rest of the album:
Look, I think they set us up to let us down
‘Cause I don’t quite know what to do, where to go.
Who I am, where I am right now?
Thought I would be on top, with a pool and a yacht by 29,
23, she’s pregnant, I’m unemployed, we gon’ be fine.
Or so I hope, will I choke, will I stay afloat?
Record label, no, let me go, got me losing hope.
I left college with no degree, oh woe is me.
This debt addressed to boulevard of broken dreams.
When Spose first got noticed — in 2009 — he was 23 and waiting tables in Ogunquit. His wife was pregnant with their first child. Then, things started happening all at once. Spose, whose real name is Ryan Peters, signed a record deal, filmed a pilot for MTV and was getting ready to move to New York.
Then, it all fizzled. But it ended up being a good thing.
Spose concentrated on building his creative life in Maine and — like Pinecone Pete — found fulfillment at home. Now, he’s a happily married, 33-year-old father of four. He’s making a living in music and loving life. He says he doesn’t like to be away from Maine for long stretches, touring, anymore. He’d rather be home, having supper with his family.
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.
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