Weekender

Parsonsfield to return to Elk Creek Cafe with new record, sound

Parsonsfield will perform at Elk Creek Cafe on Nov. 5.
Parsonsfield will perform at Elk Creek Cafe on Nov. 5. Photo provided

For Parsonsfield singer/banjo player Chris Freeman, the band’s latest release, “Blooming Through the Black,” is a new sonic direction for the alternative folk rock band. The album was recorded in an old, abandoned ax factory.

“We decided we wanted to find a cool place to record and a cool place that was going to effect the sound of the recording,” he said. “This place was all concrete walls, and it had this really long reverb on it. You could play really quietly, but it sounded really full. So, we decided to write and record the album pretty much exclusively in there. We spent six months there, and this album is what came out of that.”

Parsonsfield will bring its latest to Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim on Saturday.

Freeman says the new sounds on the album were inspired by the unique location.

“I don’t know, it sort of had this glow and ephemeral feeling to it where we know we would only be able to be there for a certain amount of time so we wanted to get the sounds that worked there as best we could,” he said. “I think that sort of informed the whole record. We’ve never done something like that before. It provided a different aesthetic than our previous albums.”

The band didn’t have a specific plan for their latest album, other than the firm attraction to the old building.

“We just wanted to make something different than what we’d ever done before,” Freeman said. “This time, the way we did that was through the sonic treatment of it. And, we also wanted to expand out of the mold of the folk songs that we began writing.”

Freeman said that the band started out playing bluegrass songs and old folk songs, and then the members began writing their own music.

“With this record, we brought in different influences and didn’t want to just stick to that structure,” he said. “We just took some risks that we hadn’t before. We also got new instruments, and we use this analog synthesizer on it, etc. We’ve been collecting all sorts of different sounds, and we tried to use many of them.”

The Leverett, Mass., band formed through mutual love of classic Americana and folk sounds, Freeman said.

“In college, I joined a folk music club, and I met Antonio (Alcorn) there, our mandolin player,” he said. “There were about six or seven of us at a huge school that really wanted to play old time music. We wanted to play like Irish tunes and Woody Guthrie tunes and all sorts of different old music. That was sort of mistaken as a band when it was really just a weekly jam session. We were asked to open a show at this pretty awesome rock club in New Haven, Conn. We went and played the show, and it became a band.”

The band’s previous trip to Elk Creek Cafe was a raucous, fun affair for all who attended, according to Freeman.

“Last time we were there, we had a really great time,” he said. “It was like a 4 p.m. show on a Sunday afternoon, and people were just going crazy. It was really, really fun to play for such an enthusiastic crowd.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Parsonsfield
  • When: 8 p.m. Nov. 5
  • Where: Elk Creek Cafe, 100 W. Main St., Millheim
  • Info: www.elkcreekcafe.com
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