A Part of the Crowd: An Interview with the Ghost of Paul Revere

Interview and Photo by Kimberly Jean

Ghost of Paul Revere

Maine’s holler-folk band The Ghost of Paul Revere and singer-songwriter Max Garcia Conover recently came through Texas during their ambitious cross country tour, playing 56 shows in 45 days. The GOPR is Max Davis, Sean McCarthy and Griffin Sherry, who are “brothers in all but name,” hailing from Maine’s Saco River. They began their set at the Saxon Pub with a fiery foot stomping delivery of “The Storm.” This was just one of several impassioned performances highlighting their mastery of soaring harmonies and haunting lyrical imagery. “The water is rising swallowing all that I see, hold me darling the storm is coming for me.”  Their songs confront a reckoning with the unforgiving natural forces of the earth. And the instrumental energy that builds in each song is not unlike a haunted freight train with razor sharp harmonica solos driving their timeless sound. “Ghostland” is tinged with a supernatural stormy voice that questions the truths of the living and beautifully delivers the haunting essence of the Ghost of Paul Revere. “So I’ll drive all night to nowhere, just to chase the sun/The battles almost over but my god which side has won?

I caught up with GOPR in Austin at the Saxon Pub to hear about their tour and plans for their Ghostland Music Festival this coming fall.

Kimberly Jean for Ovrld: Is this your first time in Austin?

GOPR: We’ve been to Austin once before and we feel like we’re developing a community here, which we’re grateful for. And it’s great to play Saxon Pub, we were just reading about Richard the sound guy here at Saxon Pub and how he has done 2500 shows here. Very cool.

Ovrld: How’s the tour going so far? I saw you recently played a house concert. How was that?

GOPR: It’s been awesome, we love being on tour. And yes, we’ve done a couple house concerts that we always enjoy because you get to play right in front of people, and the atmosphere is so different compared to when you’re on stage and singing through a microphone. One of our favorite house shows so far was The Grocery Home in Atlanta. That crowd was incredible. Matt Arnett sets up those shows, and he has a couple sound guys helping out. We had about 60 people show up, so you can play to a really good listening room.

Ovrld: How would you describe your experience playing in a holler-folk roots band?

GOPR: We started playing this music with community in mind, when you pick up an acoustic instrument that’s the natural spirit. It’s not necessarily meant to be blasted through a Marshall half stack. There’s a certain separation between a rock band and a crowd that happens. But a roots band needs to be a part of the crowd and the crowd be a part of the band. The spirit of that just can’t be replaced.

Ovrld: So tell me about your Ghostland Music Festival.

GOPR: Last fall we got together with several Maine and New England bands and played our hearts out to about 400 people at Thomas Point Beach, an amazing campground right on the water. It came together really quickly, within a couple months. We really did everything, from booking the bands to renting all the tents and setting up the grounds. We also recruited a ton of volunteers. So it was two days of music and camping and the music went to about 5am in the morning around campfires.


Ovrld: What’s it like performing at a campground?

GOPR: During the first night of Ghostland we had a smaller more private campfire show, and invited several artists including Tricky Britches and Jacob Augustine to share songs around the campfire. It was less about the performers projecting on the stage, it felt more communal. Different artists would take turns standing up to share a few songs.  It dissolved the boundaries between the audience and performers. It was a really special night that set the tone for the rest of the festival.

Ovrld: Are you working on any new songs, do you all collaborate in the writing process?

GOPR: We’re transitioning into a period where we’ll eventually be getting back into the studio. Who ever is singing lead on the song is usually the person who brought the majority of the song to the table. But we all craft the songs together until they’re done. But on this tour we’re still playing a lot of songs from Believe and North, still giving those songs some legs along with some new ones that are cooking.

Kimberly Jean is a newgrass, alt-country singer-songwiter in Austin, TX.