Story, Photos by Richard Sassaman
The Ghost of Paul Revere, in one of their most popular songs, sings about losing your heart “in the heat of San Antone.” This self-described ‘holler folk’ quartet from Buxton, Maine, brought its own special heat to Bar Harbor on the 23rd, delighting an enthusiastic January audience at the Criterion Theater with its “traditional music played in a non-traditional way.”
MDI’s own Blake Rosso Band opened the show with original material, like Pale Moon and The Builder, inspired by life on this island. Thanks no doubt to their frequent appearances at the Side Street Cafe (not to mention the Criterion sound system directed by Steve Lambert), the Rosso Band sounded tighter than ever, all the way to their rousing finale Liberation.
The group also proved to be an excellent fit with Ghost. Both foursomes include the traditional instruments of the Americana style: guitar, bass, and mandolin, then differ slightly with Jim Coffman’s fiddle playing and Beau Lisy on cajon and assorted percussion for the locals, and Matt Young’s harmonica as an integral part of the Ghost sound. (For Young, the night was a homecoming of sorts – along with Criterion director Heather Martin, he graduated from the College of the Atlantic, class of 1993.)
In addition to San Antone, other Ghost highlights included the supercharged Hey Girl, a gorgeous reworking of The Who classic Baba O’Riley, and the Civil War-era Ballad of the 20th Maine, about ‘the boys of Maine’ who turned the tide at the battle of Gettysburg and saved the Union. Ghost’s set list includes a perfect closer, This Is the End, but the concert didn’t stop until all eight musicians assembled on stage, in true ‘holler folk’ style, for a rendition of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
Sing on, ye boys of Maine.