New Gloucester Newgrass

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Bald Hill at Davinci’s Friday night, April 15

LEWISTON, Maine — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will drop into the Grappa Room, here at Davinci’s Italian Eatery, this Friday evening, April 15, from 6-9 p.m.

Davinci’s, home to the best pizza and pasta in the Twin Cities, has started hosting live music this spring. On Thursday nights, local acts have been holding court in the expansive bar area. On Friday nights, starting with Friday’s Bald Hill show, the music will move into the Grappa Room, where two large, garage-sized doors will open — essentially connecting this erstwhile banquet space with the bar space.

Bald Hill will preside therein, around a central mic, with an acoustic set of bluegrass, alt-country and traditional tunes. Rumor has it that, come Friday evening, several new selections will be test-driven inside Davinci’s massive, brick-bedecked, former mill space.

Be advised that Bald Hill will be popping up and dropping in to play music all over Maine this spring. Fresh of its triumphant All Dead Revue, which drew 200 patrons and exhausted the glass supply at Side By Each Brewery on April 2, BH will take the Revue on the road in May — up north, to the Blue Ox Saloon in Millinocket, on May 28. That show will benefit Boreal Theater Community Arts. Three days later, the band will feature at the Music for Mavis concert series on the town green in Turner, May 31.

Bald Hill is poised to confirm several more dates for June and beyond. For news of those shows, stay glued to this space.

All Dead Revue set for Saturday, April 2 at Side By Each

AUBURN, Maine — Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will host the third annual All Dead Revue Saturday night, April 2, here at the Side By Each Brewery (www.sidebyeachbrewing.com) on Minot Avenue.

Show time is 6 p.m., the culmination of an all-day deal at SBE called “Hippie Fest.” No cover for this event or the All Dead Revue, but neither are tie-dyes or mood rings provided. Accordingly, attendees are advised to bring their own — $1 off all pints for anyone wearing tie-dye or “dirty Dead gear”! — and to encourage any and all Deadhead friends/relations to show up, pipe up, and put their money where their love is.

The All-Dead Revue is exactly what the name implies: an entire evening of songs made famous by the Grateful Dead, mainly their original work, but also those tunes covered in dedicated fashion by Jerry & the Boys during their three-plus decades on the road.

Bald Hill routinely invites fellow bands and musicians to collaborate with the Revue. This year’s Super Group for a Night includes the rhythm section from Yellow Sun Wreckers (drummer Kim Chasse and bassist Todd Burrowes), pedal steel virtuoso Tim Howie (Pocket Full of Mumbles) and SoPo vocalist Ted McHugh, formerly of 2010 darlings Mountain Avenue. Ted & the Band are scheduled to knock out renditions of “Ripple”, “Hobo Song” and, if everyone behaves, “Sugaree.” That’s all we’re prepared to share regarding the April 2 set list, which, according to All Dead Revue tradition, remains a somewhat closely guarded secret. For the record, Bald Hill last performed the Revue on Jan. 24, 2020. So, “third annual” is something of a stretch. Maybe the band will gather the tribe for another show this calendar year, to catch up…

Bald Hill Brings the Music Back: at Side By Each, Oct. 30

AUBURN, Maine — Wondering what to do the night before Halloween? Join Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, at the Side By Each Brewing Co., starting at 7 p.m.

Side By Each has quickly built an extraordinary reputation for amazing beer and food, all of it served in lively, socially responsible environs. But the award-winning brewery (home to the Humble Brag double IPA) has not hosted live music since, you know, before that thing… Bald Hill is proud bring it back this Saturday night, 30 October.

The Great State of Maine boasts so many breweries these days, it’s hard to keep them all straight. But Side By Each in Auburn, located at 110 Minot Ave. (just West of Mac’s Grille), is different. The beer is excellent, always a dozen or more on tap in a wide variety of styles. But there the ordinary falls away.

Side By Each is a socially responsible, sustainable operation. What does that mean? In addition to beers on tap, the growler culture is strongly fostered here. Glass jugs (and kegs) are filled to order, on site, via a handy-dandy apparatus that preserves beer quality far longer than your average tap-filled jug. The space itself is sprawling, to allow for a socially distanced experience. If that’s what you want. If not, belly up to the giant horseshoe-shaped bar.

Here’s another thing: No tipping at Side By Each, because the owners, both veterans of Maine’s elite brewing culture, are committed to paying their employees a living wage. Starting early in the morning, said staff brews up CBD coffee and espresso drinks, to sell alongside locally made pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Pinky D’s Poutine Factory, recently called out by Downeast magazine as one of Maine’s top 5 food trucks, prepares lunch and dinner from its new kitchen inside the Side By Each space.

As a New Gloucester-based 5 piece, Bald Hill has (you may have noticed) developed a real fondness for the beer, space, ethos and food at Side By Each. We recommend the Korean-style BBQ poutine, the Kuriro rice lager (Kuriro is Japanese for “Auburn”), and the German Weissbier known as Jam on Toast.  We also recommend you try them Saturday night, starting at around 7 p.m.

SoPo Revisited: Bald Hill at Fore River Brewery, July 25

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — After a long, pandemic-necessitated hiatus, Bald Hill is back on stage. Private parties have so far dominated the band’s schedule, as formal music venues are still sorting the new realities, inside and outside.

While private parties are great fun, they don’t well serve the band’s adoring public. So here’s the good news, friends:

Bald Hill will return to the Fore River Brewery on Sunday July 25. The New Gloucester 5-piece will hold forth in South Portland’s finest beer garden, on Alton Street, from 2-5 p.m.

Stay tuned to this space for more show info, as July and August are shaping up as very busy months for South/Central Maine’s surprisingly hip purveyors of blues-inflected new grass, folk and Americana.

Bald Hill returns to the stage! Will play Music for Mavis series in Turner, June 15

TURNER, Maine — Are you sitting down? Bald Hill will play a live and in-person performance here starting at 6:30-8 p.m. on June 15 2021.

The band will appear publicly for the first time in 15 months as part of the popular, long-running weekly series, Music for Mavis. The outdoor performance will take place at the Gazebo, on the town green fronting the Turner Public Library. This idyllic venue sits at the corner of Matthews Road and Route 117/Turner Center Road.

It’s been very long 15 months for anyone who enjoys live music. Bald Hill last played “out” on March 7, 2020 at Gritty McDuff’s in Auburn, and dared not even practice out of doors, in the same space, until August of 2020. Since that time, however, the band has done nothing but practice, in the open air, in various open-doored garages, even cavernous religious sanctuaries — shout out to the New Gloucester First Congregational Church!

Fully vaccinated and having fully integrated new bassist, Rod Pervier, Bald Hill is ready to update and confirm its established reputation as surprisingly hip purveyors of bluegrass/newgrass, blues-inflected folk-rock and Americana.

Music for Mavis is a Turner institution, a non-profit organization designed to bring music and the arts to “our rural communities”. The organizers provided Bald Hill the following information, to share with folks thinking of attending on June 15, or any show this summer:

“Masks are encouraged for entering and leaving the space and when donating, for safety and comfort of both you and your neighbors. If you feel vulnerable or compromised, please wear your mask the entire time. Please sit with the people you came with, otherwise establish and maintain at least a 6-foot distance to others. And please respectfully make your needs known. Please stay home and take care if you don’t feel well, or have possibly been exposed to the virus. No one may approach the band or the gazebo. There will be no rain venue and the music will likely carry on in the mist. For more information, call 207-754-0954.”

See here the Music for Mavis 2021 Summer Schedule, as of May 3:

May 25 – Mary Murphy (blues, jazz)

June 1 – Jodi and the Gang (Americana)

June 8 – Patrick Libby (rock/bluegrass)

June 15 – Bald Hill (bluegrass/newgrass, blues-inflected folk-rock and Americana)

June 22 – Marty Lang and Pip (jazz)

June 29 – Hurry Down Sunshine (folk)

July 4 – Pat Colwell and friends (tentative)

Stay tuned to this space for more Bald Hill news and show information re. what is sure to be a busy summer for music lovers across south/central Maine. Hope to see y’all in Turner on June 15.

BH Salutes Gig Site Turned Essential Service Provider

PORTLAND — It was only a year ago that Bald Hill, those surprisingly hip purveyors of blues inflected newgrass, folk and Americana, rocked the house at Maine Craft Distilling (MCD) for the first time. You know a gig is going well when the place is packed, which it was that April night — but also when the wait and bar staff have that frantic, slightly overburdened look in their eyes. It’s a sure sign the crowd is happy and our hosts are making money.

That evening seems a world away this April morning, and indeed it is. Bald Hill is not playing much music, not together, and the staff at MCD is probably wishing for steadier work.

During this strange and stressful time, we at BH wanted to send along our best wishes to the staffs at all the venues we wish we were playing this spring. We’ll be back with you so soon as we are able. In the meantime, we wanted to alert you to the good works now being undertaken by Maine Craft Distilling, which has cannily shifted its production from spirits to… hand sanitizer.

“Our customers and all Mainers are dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic, and it’s important for us to give back to our community and those in need,” the distillery’s founder and CEO Luke Davidson said in a statement. “We will keep producing the hand sanitizer as long as we need to.”

To assist with its new production line, the distillery has hired five new employees, who now work at the distiller’s Washington Avenue distillery and Public House in Portland. Customers have been visiting on a daily basis to pick up product — so we encourage all our Portland peeps to drop by. Davidson and MCD are also channeling donations to nonprofits serving Maine communities.

Manufactured in accordance with the World Health Organization’s formula, the MCD hand sanitizer consists of 80 percent denatured alcohol plus hydrogen peroxide and glycerin. It can be used in spray bottles or applied directly on hands. Davidson said it has produced more than 4,000 quarts of hand sanitizer in a matter of weeks, and raised more than $15,000 for several nonprofits.

Bravo.

Bald Hill back at Gritty’s Saturday night, March 7

AUBURN — Bald Hill, those surprising hep purveyors of blues-infused newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will return to Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co. for a pair of shows this spring — the first being this Saturday night, March 7.

The music runs from 8-11 p.m., but no harm in arriving beforehand to secure primo seating, indulge in some of Gritty’s stellar pub fare, and partake of the beers that pioneered Maine’s craft-brew scene.

Bald Hill will return to Gritty’s in Auburn for another show on May 9, so mark your calendars accordingly.

For those of you who’ve never visited, the Gritty’s in Auburn is the most sumptuous and scenic of all the Gritty locations. It fronts on Main Street but the picture windows out back look out over the pub’s sprawling deck, Great Falls and the Mighty Androscoggin River. For those of you who’ve not partaken of the Bald Hill experience, well… get ready for songs from the varied likes of Patsy Montana, Prince, Richard Thompson, Dolly Parton, Elvis, Son Volt, The Stones, The Dead, Hank Williams, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Band and Delbert McClinton.

And that’s just the first set…

Hunter to Attend Second Annual Dead Tribute Jan. 24 in Lewiston

LEWISTON – Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues-infected newgrass, folk rock and Americana, will present the second annual All Dead Revue here at the She Doesn’t Like Guthrie’s Restaurant & Café on Friday night, Jan. 24.

This Grateful Dead tribute show (All Dead inclusive of their covers, songs performed by the Jerry Garcia Band and other offshoots) will start promptly at 8 p.m. — maybe sooner, as the line-up and set list are jam-packed. Be sure to arrive early so as to avail yourself of Guthrie’s signature burritos, panini, craft brews and fine wines.

While New Gloucester-based Bald Hill will preside on 24 January, several special guests will participate — in order to execute the wide-ranging, sure-to-be-crowd-pleasing set list (whose contents nevertheless remains a closely guarded secret). Those performers include multi-instrumentalists Mike Conant and Ted McHugh, in addition to very special guest: Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, whose bodily presence left this mortal coil in September 2019, but whose astral presence will participate next Friday night in the form of a microphone stand positioned stage left.

“We’re excited to have Mr. Hunter participating,” BH mandolinist Ben DeTroy said. “We nearly landed Jerry – in the form of an XLR cable. But he’s attending the Senate impeachment hearings instead, as an angel on the shoulder of Justice Roberts. Apparently.”

Bald Hill sets routinely include Grateful Dead covers (the band’s next gig: a return to Gritty’s McDuff’s Brewing Co. in Auburn, on March 7) but its presentation of the All Dead Revue is a natural outgrowth of the band’s own roots. BH started out as a bluegrass band, and while there will be plenty of rockin’ Dead interpretations Jan. 24, some may be surprised to learn just how much bluegrass and other traditional genres similarly influenced The Grateful Dead.

Jerry Garcia started out as a banjo player in a bluegrass lineup (a role he reprised in the ‘70s bluegrass “super group” Old & In the Way), and the Dead routinely covered bluegrass and otherwise traditional tunes — even if they became more famous later as “Dead tunes”. Think Pig in a Pen or Cold Rain & Snow. The band’s very first single (from their debut, self-titled 1967 album) was Sitting on Top of the World, a song made famous by bluegrass legend Doc Watson (but first recorded by the Mississippi Sheiks in 1930). Many Grateful Dead originals also make allusions to classic folk tunes. Deal, for example, incorporates themes and phrases found in Sam and Kirk McGee’s Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down, while the classic Casey Jones riffs off The Ballad of Casey Jones, a song that describes a real-life train wreck that happened in 1900.

Casey Jones didn’t start out as a song,” Hunter told Rolling Stone in 2015. “It just suddenly popped into my mind: ‘driving that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones, you better watch your speed…’ I just wrote that down and I went on to whatever else I was doing, and some time later I came across it and thought, ‘That’s the germ of a pretty good song.’ ”

Jam-packed August and September on tap for Bald Hill

The baroque concert venue upstairs at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston

NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — The late-summer show dates keep piling up for Bald Hill, those surprisingly hep purveyors of blues-inflected newgrass, folk rock and Americana. So go get your calendars (or whip out the ol’ iCal-equipped smartphone) and make a note of this:

• Saturday, Aug. 17: BH will play the New Gloucester Fair with a two-hour show beginning at 10 a.m. and featuring old friend/special guest Mike Conant on fiddle, banjo and guitar. The Fair itself, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will take place at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds on Bald Hill Road, making it the first time NG-based Bald Hill has ever played a proper gig ON Bald Hill.

• Sunday, Aug. 25: The band will head east to Rockport for a 7 p.m. date at the Samoset Resort. This is technically a private party but it will take place in the resort’s very public, main bar area downstairs. Mid-coast BH peeps and all revelers pure of heart are encouraged to stop by, say hello and join the festivities.

• Saturday, Aug. 31: Bald Hill returns to the Fore River Brewing Co. in South Portland for its annual, late-summer gig in the brewery’s expansive beer garden. Once and future “Friend of the Band” Ted McHugh will again preside. Show time is 6 p.m. We recommend the East Yard pale ale.

Thursday, Sept. 12: It’s confirmed: Bald Hill will be the featured performer upstairs in the concert hall during a special evening of music at the Gendron Franco Center on Cedar Street in Lewiston. For those unfamiliar, the Franco is housed in the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which has been converted into a Franco-American cultural hub. Join BH for an Open House reception at 6 p.m., followed by a move upstairs — into the beautifully ornate concert hall — for an hour of music beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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