The Ghost of Paul Revere
with Aubrey Haddard
February 9, 2019 @ Paradise Rock Club
The self-proclaimed holler folk trio from Portland, Maine created such a weighty sense of place in their music that I felt immersed in their world, even nostalgic for somewhere I’ve never been.
As I stood in a sold-out crowd at Paradise Rock Club listening to the vibrant sounds of The Ghost of Paul Revere, I suddenly became overwhelmed with a feeling of nostalgia for Portland, Maine. This would have been normal except for the fact that I’ve never been there. The self-proclaimed holler folk trio from Portland, Maine pulled me right in and created such a weighty sense of place in their music that I felt immersed in their world, even nostalgic for somewhere I’ve never been.
While vastly different in genre, The Ghost of Paul Revere’s opener Aubrey Haddard had the same ability to fully immerse the audience. With her genre-bending songs that thoughtfully flowed between indie-soul and jazzy alt-rock, she continually captivated the audience with her emphatic, rich tone and honey-soaked vibrato.
Haddard certainly isn’t just a pretty voice though, her stage presence and instrumentation was empowered and confident with quirky flourishes of tambourine and driving bass. Her arrangements were mesmerizing with an ease of phrasing that enabled potent story-telling through her lyrics and vocals.
This sense of immersion led perfectly into The Ghost of Paul Revere.
Playing together as The Ghost of Paul Revere for the past seven years and having known each other for 30 years, Max Davis, Sean McCarthy and Griffin Sherry carried a sense of home and family throughout their set.
Opening with a stripped-back arrangement featuring a simple drum beat, their vocals and an accordion, the band transformed Paradise Rock Club from a room full of strangers into a living room with family and friends gathered around the balcony and the ground floor, leaning in close to join in.
If anyone in the audience still wasn’t sure about the connection between the band members, the band’s performance of “Little Bird” would have resolved their questions. With Sherry leading on acoustic guitars and vocals, Davis on banjo, McCarthy on bass and a fellow touring member on accordion, the band serenaded the room, throwing in some choreographed moves that emphasized the warm sense of camaraderie between the guys on stage.
The Ghost of Paul Revere didn’t want to keep the dancing to themselves though. While introducing one of their slower songs McCarthy invited the audience to find a spot and get up the nerve to ask their chosen guy or girl to slow dance. Despite the venue being sold out, several cozy couples managed to find some room to take advantage of the sweet serenade.
I was impressed not only with The Ghost of Paul Revere’s inclusive stage presence, but the quality and liveliness of their performance. Despite Sherry admitting midway through the set that he had been battling a cold, all members of the band held nothing back and performed with a vigor that led Sherry at one point, after a high-intensity song, to exclaim, “Well f***, boys! That was fast!”
Their enthusiastic performance was best summed up through the performance of their song “Ballad of the 20th Maine” which was a proud, driving anthem declaring, “Take your northern heart with you to the grave… stand fast ye are the boys of Maine.”
Their enthusiasm was evident until the very last moment, the band came out for an encore and serenaded the crowd with not one song, but three. They even performed “Ghostland” as a trio arrangement for a member of the audience who called out the request many times during their main set.
I would definitely see these guys play again and will be keeping an eye on Aubrey Haddard, that girl is going places.
Photos by Jannah Bell