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?”