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 (www.thecontentedsole.com), 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 www.BaldHillBand.com, 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 www.baldhillband.com.
On the porch at The Blue Ox in Millinocket, June 17, 2017.