New Gloucester Newgrass

Author: Hal Phillips (Page 2 of 3)

BH Returns to Guthries with All-Dead Review, Oct. 26

LEWISTON — Bald Hill, those surprisingly down-home ‘n hep purveyors of bluegrass-inflected folk rock and Americana, return to Guthrie’s on Friday night, Oct. 26, with a twist: two full sets of Grateful Dead tunes.

The timing is propitious: Less than a week before All Saints Day, BH goes All Dead… Cassette tape recordings of the show will be made available to followers of the band after the gig, over the course of years.

“This idea came to me in a waking dream,” says mandolinist Ben Detroy, titular Bald Hill spokesman/spirit animal. “We already play a number of Dead songs as part of any typical show or set. People really dig them. Why not do the Full Monty at Guthrie’s, which is unusual and perfect in that acts there typically play two shorter sets over the course of two hours?”

Bald Hill’s Oct. 26 date at She Doesn’t Like Guthries Restaurant & Café will indeed begin at 8 p.m., while the curtain will promptly come down at 10 p.m.

DeTroy explained that, while the upcoming Dead set list remains a closely guarded secret, each singing member of the six-piece Bald Hill has chosen a few favorites to perform on Friday night. That vocal faction has swelled for this particular show: Friends of the band Ted McHugh and fiddler Mike Conant will both join Bald Hill for this DeadFest Oct. 26.

“We’ve also reserved the right to cover songs that the Dead has traditionally covered,” DeTroy said. “What’s more, anyone showing up Friday night in tie-dye will receive a commemorative Bald Hill-branded roach clip. I should say, they’ll almost certainly get one eventually… “

BH brings new meaning, heft to Oktoberfest

NEW GLOUCESTER — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will mark the shortening of days with four separate shows in the month of October, including consecutive engagements this Friday night, Oct. 5 (at South Portland’s Fore River Brewing Co.) and Saturday night, Oct. 6, at New Gloucester’s hep Village Coffeehouse.

Friday night’s SoPo gig, to run from 6-9 p.m., will include longtime FOBs (friends of the band) Ted McHugh and Mike Conant. Dress warmly but expect a raucous, coat-shedding performance outdoors in Fore River’s expansive beer garden (BH recommends the East Yard, a stellar dry hopped pale ale that well complements the brewery’s eclectic food truck rotation).

Twenty-four hours later, on Saturday night, NG-based Bald Hill will play a home game and bring the volume down. The long-running Village Coffeehouse is held the first Saturday of each month at the First Congregational Church of New Gloucester, where most performances are held in the cozy Vestry. But the anticipated crowd (and an associated potluck in the Vestry) have moved BH into larger, acoustically superior Sanctuary.

The Coffeehouse show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $10 at the door. The potluck suppah — where admission is free of charge — kicks off at 5:45 p.m.

Bald Hill will again play Hebron Academy’s Reunion Weekend later this month, but not before the band returns to Maine’s coziest venue, Lewiston’s She Doesn’t Like Guthrie’s Café & Restaurant — on Friday night, Oct. 26. Curtain at 8 p.m.

Winter is coming and it stands to be a busy one for Bald Hill. Be sure to visit and sign up for notifications, to stay abreast of upcoming engagements.


Content is King: New BH Videos Preview Contented Sole Gig July 26

LEWISTON — Bald Hill managed to purvey a heapin’ helping of surprisingly hip, blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana last Friday night at She Doesn’t Like Guthries Restaurant & Café, before a packed house. It just so happened the band took the time and care to strategically place an iPhone stage right — and turn it on! The result is a bunch of new music videos, which we invite you to experience by visiting the SOUND & VISION tab here at

The band will send out a Facebook event in due course, but Mid-Coast peeps be advised: Bald Hill will next appear (in a public setting) at The Contented Sole in New Harbor on July 26. If you’ve not visited up there, just north of South Bristol, TCS is arguably the most scenic dinner/music venue in the state, positioned halfway out a wide boulevard of a pier. Hope to see you there.

Back to the videos: The band indulged in this because, well, it’s sound marketing (it’s all about content, you know), but also because BH has worked up a shit-ton of new music of late and we’re eager to show it off. Go check it out, then ask Alice the last time anyone else dared cover the Airplane’s biggest hit — or anything off Pretzel Logic.

BH welcomes FOB Mike Conant to Gritty’s on Friday, Dec. 29, 8 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Hi all. Short and to the point: Bald Hill welcomes longtime friend of the band, fiddler and banjo demon Mike Conant, to the stage here at Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co. on Friday night. The music starts at 8 p.m. …  It’s gonna be wicked cold that night — let Bald Hill warm the soul with its surprisingly hip, blues-inflected newgrass, folk/rock and Americana. Don’t brave such a night alone, at home — come where there are plenty of other bodies huddlin’ and dancin’ together for warmth. Avail yourself of all that, plus south/central Maine’s finest pub fare and craft brews. Hope to see you there.

BH Returns to Guthries Friday Night, with Special Guest Christie Ray

LEWISTON, Maine — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hip purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk/rock and Americana, return to She Doesn’t Like Guthrie’s Restaurant & Café on Friday night, with a special guest in tow.

New Gloucester-based Bald Hill will welcome fellow resident Christie Ray to the stage tomorrow night. This will be the Guthrie’s debut for Ms. Ray, who will play alongside BH and perform several of her own, original tunes.

Showtime on Dec. 15 is 8 p.m., and festivities wrap up promptly at 10 p.m. So arrive early and avail yourself of a local brew, one of Guthrie’s signature burritos, and enjoy the song stylings of New Gloucester’s finest.

Mark you calendars as well for Bald Hill’s Dec. 29 show at Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company, across the Mighty Androscoggin River in Auburn. BH will welcome another special guest for that first-Friday-post-Christmas show: fiddler, banjo artist and yet another New Gloucesterite in good standing, Mike Conant.

Bald Hill to perform Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Saturday night at Gritty’s

AUBURN, Maine — Actually, Bald Hill will not be doing any such thing. That was a just a cynical bit of click-bait. The person responsible for that headline has been sacked. 

While you’re here: Be advised that Bald Hill, those surprisingly hip purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will play a live show on Nov. 18 — a triumphant return to Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co., home to the Twin Cities’ finest pub fare and craft beers. Doors are open all day long; the band goes on at 8 p.m.

Saturday night’s engagement kicks off a busy holiday season for the New Gloucester-based Bald Hill [none of whom, so far as we know, have anything against Samuel Barber or the music he so deftly wrought from romantic structures and post-Straussian chromaticism]. Several band members will participate in the second annual holiday extravaganza, A New Gloucester Christmas, on Dec. 2 in the stunning-but-serene sanctuary of the NG First Congregational Church. A potluck dinner is planned for 5:30 p.m.; the concert begins at 7 p.m.

What’s more:

  • Bald Hill will return to She Doesn’t Like Guthries Restaurant & Café on Friday night, Dec. 15, in Lewiston.
  • The band plays another date back across the mighty Androscoggin River, at Gritty’s, on Friday night, Dec. 29.
  • [To be clear: Not a single  Samuel Barber opus will be undertaken during any of these shows.]

That said, in preparation for the long winter to come, Bald Hill has restocked its set list with new material from the likes of The Devil Makes Three, Billy Bragg & Wilco, The Jayhawks, Steely Dan, John Lincoln Wright, Robert Earl Keen and none other than BH mandolin/fiddle artist Ben DeTroy, known in Maine bluegrass circles as “The Samuel Barber of South/Central Maine”. 

BH follows guerilla-style gig with traditional New Harbor date, Aug. 3

The Contented Sole in New Harbor, site of two Bald Hill shows in August.

NEW HARBOR, Maine — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hip purveyors of swingin’ blues-inflected newgrass and Americana, will resume that high-spirited purveyance (following a brief summer hiatus) Thursday, Aug. 3, here at The Contented Sole.

On a warm summer evening, few places on God’s green earth provide a more picturesque setting (or better eating) than TCS (, where a restaurant, bar & pier don’t so much sit beside New Harbor as unfurl onto it. New Gloucester-based Bald Hill will perform there from 6-9 p.m.

The band will return to The Contented Sole Aug. 24, for a return engagement. Showtime will again be 6 p.m.

After a busy winter and spring, Bald Hill took much of June and July to work on new material and do what Mainers are entitled to do come summer: remove the mittens and recreate. But there was one musical engagement for which there was no promotion here at, and therein lies a tale worth telling.

BH percussion master Kim Chasse hails from Millinocket, some 75 minutes north of Bangor, deep in the unspoilt Maine landscape, so it’s not surprising that Bald Hill was invited to spend a weekend of down time there, in mid June, relaxing at Kitty’s Lake House. A great time — including some truly epic jams — was had by all.

But Saturday night brought a twist.

At the drummer’s behest and direction, Bald Hill — half in the bag but always up for a challenge — decamped for The Blue Ox, a Main Street bar owned by a childhood friend of Chasse’s. “He doesn’t know we’re coming,” explained Chasse, who had something specific in mind: a pop-up acoustic show, a musical flash mob right there in downtown Millinocket.

The band simply showed up, surreptitiously (via the back alley, to a spot on the porch Chasse had scouted), and started playing. It’s not clear exactly why, but there was a uniquely infectious, carefree energy to the band’s performance that night.

After a song or two, patrons inside The Blue Ox started drinking it in. First they poked their heads onto the porch. Then they started streaming out to join  this… this happening. Soon the piped-in bar music was turned off and there were 30-40 folks enjoying an impromptu 90-minute show (cover-free).

It was quite something: part performance, part performance art, part musical installation… Indeed, it occurred to some BH members afterward the band may have stumbled upon a new calling, i.e. showing up unannounced at bars and restaurants (or perhaps private homes) for guerilla-style gigs. If you’d like to book such a show, or perhaps spring one on a friend or loved one, feel free to contact the band via

On the porch at The Blue Ox in Millinocket, June 17, 2017.



Bald Hill to unveil The Americana Sessions, Vol. I, at Guthries May 5

Session Americana, the inspiration for Bald Hill’s Americana Sessions: Vol. I, on display Friday night at Guthries in Lewiston.

LEWISTON, Maine — Bald Hill, those deceptively hip purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will wade hip-deep into the avant-garde Friday night when the sextet returns to the  She Doesn’t Like Guthries Restaurant & Café. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Guthries, located here at 115 Middle St., is just about the coziest music venue in Maine. It’s basically an oversized living room kitted out with a bar, great food and live music. Indeed, this intimate setting is part of the inspiration for Friday’s unconventional performance — to be delivered seated, in shape of a half-moon, around a single condenser microphone.

“Several of us experienced this approach as audience members when we saw Session Americana at One Longfellow Square last month in Portland,” said Bald Hill mandolin player and fiddler Ben DeTroy, Esq. “There were tons of people up there on stage, all of them arrayed around a small, round table. At first, it was a bit disorienting — but it sounded great. We came to dig the casual vibe and you could tell the musicians felt the same way. That’s what we’re going for Friday, and Guthries is pretty much tailor made for it.”

In a move as accurate as it is derivative, Bald Hill has dubbed the May 5 show The Americana Sessions: Vol. I.

“Our bassist, the inimitable Todd Burrowes, may have said it best,” DeTroy added. “He made the point that we always practice in some manner of circle or half-circle. We’re all sitting down, we’re all looking at each other, and it’s in that context that we often produce some of our best sounds. Why not try to bring that to a performance?”


Cabin-Fever Reliever: BH to rock Gritty’s Saturday night


AUBURN, Maine — Okay, so there’s a bit of snow forecast for Saturday. And yes, by then it will be April.

However, not going out that Saturday night — NOT coming to see Bald Hill lay down its surprisingly hip purveyance of blues-inflected newgrass, folk and Americana — would be like giving up.

Don’t let the meteorologists win.

Come on out to Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co. here in Auburn — on the banks of the Mighty Androscoggin — and let Bald Hill entertain you this Saturday night, April 1, starting at 8 p.m.

Don’t worry about the snow. The forecast calls for the storm to have well passed by show time. Even if it hasn’t, you can throw your car in the garage across the street! That’s right: Park it in these luxurious, covered confines and leave your dual scraper/snow brush at home.

Did we mention that parking in this municipal garage — positioned directly across from Gritty’s, with entrances on both Main Street and Mechanics Row — is free? Well, it is.

So come on down, park for nothin’, have a pint and listen to a couple sets of Bald Hill takes on John Prine, Van Morrison, Nancy Sinatra, Gillian Welch, Prince, Clapton, Richard Thompson, the Seldom Scene, the Dead, Hank Williams, Youngbloods, Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, Son Volt, Credence, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn and even a timely homage to that Handsome Brown-Eyed Man, the dearly departed Chuck Berry.

Feb. 11: BH to build a wall we can be proud of…

AUBURN, Maine — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hip purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will welcome a pair of guest artists Saturday night with the intention of blowing the lid off  Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co. Doors open at lunch and stay open all day/night; the band will preside starting at 8 p.m.

With the addition guest guitarist Frank Fotusky and keyboardist Matthew Detroy, Bald Hill plans to build a veritable wall of sound on the banks of the Mighty Androscoggin. Longtime followers of the band may well recognize Matthew as the brother of BH mando savant Ben Detroy. Rumor has it there will be several more Detroys in the audience Saturday night. So you’ve been warned…

Fotusky, nationally renowned for his stellar Piedmont blues stylings, is no stranger to Bald Hill, having sat in on several occasions, including an early January gig across the river at Guthries, in Lewiston. We were fortunate to capture some rich content from that performance. Check out the Sound & Vision page here at to see the videos, all of which feature Frank holding forth.

That was essentially an acoustic show, mind you. Frank will be playing a lot of electric on Saturday night and we’ll all be plugged in beside him. With the full drum kit and Matthew on organ (filling all the cracks), we will indeed build a wall — one Phil Spector would be proud of. And don’t worry: It’s all paid for in advance!

Quick reminder: This Feb. 11 gig is the first of several coming up this spring. Come out and see Bald Hill:



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