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Time in Collinsville Helped Inspire Parsonsfield

April 14, 2016 Arts and Entertainment No Comments
Parsonsfield in Collinsville. Winter Caplanson

Parsonsfield in Collinsville.
Winter Caplanson

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — For members of the band Parsonsfield, recording and rehearsing at an old factory complex, in the shadow of the Farmington River Trail, certainly had its highs and lows.

From May to October of 2015, the self-described alt/folk band set up shop in a space at the former Collins Company complex.

“Having a dedicated space for our creativity and our work was something we hadn’t really experience before,” said Chris Freeman, (vocals, guitar, banjo, pump organ and saw). “It was an inspiring place (but) creepy at night.”

But the band took advantage of that ambience, letting some of the sounds from the creaky buildings, barking dogs, and rumblings from the rail trail bleed on to recorded takes.

“It’s totally part of the album and reflected on it,” Freeman said, adding that it could be too much at times. “Some things were ruined and some were helped by people going over the bike path.”

Fans will have to wait until September to hear the new album, about half of which was recorded in Collinsville but April 22 will afford a chance to see them live at Infinity Hall in Norfolk.

A Parsonsfield song list in their former Collinsville space, now occupied by True North Teen Learning Alternative. Photo by John Fitts

A Parsonsfield song list in their former Collinsville space, now occupied by True North Teen Learning Alternative.
Photo by John Fitts

It’s no huge stretch that Parsonsfield found their way to Collinsville as Freeman is native to Farmington, mandolinist Antonio Alcorn is from West Hartford and member Max Shakun (vocals, pump organ, guitar), grew up in West Hartford and Farmington. Rounding out the band are bassist Harrison Goodale, aka Whale, and drummer Erik Hischmann.

Freeman, 26, said he played many LaSalle open mics growing up.

Today the band is based in Western Mass. and are currently on a tour that will take them to places like Bozeman, MT, Toledo, Ohio and Winnipeg, Canada.

The band is also gaining the attention of those outside their touring circle.

In March, their song “Weeds or Wildflowers” was featured on The Walking Dead (season 6, episode 12)

The show’s producers heard the song online, perhaps via YouTube, Freeman said.

“It’s an interesting blending of fiction and reality to watch a TV show and here your own song on it,” he said.

Parsonsfield got its start in 2010 at the University of Connecticut after Freeman and Alcorn met and began jamming with a widening circle of friends.

Someone mistook an early iteration of a jam session as a full-time band and it soon was.

Under the name Poor Old Shine, they played some early shows by the Spring of 2011, including one at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville. The band gained momentum and in July of 2014, after learning that Poor Old Shine could be associated with an obscure derogatory term, sometimes with racial overtones, the band changed its name to Parsonsfield, inspired by the Maine town where they had also spent recorded and met their current drummer, Erik Hischmann.

From a promotional perspective it’s always difficult to change a name but the new moniker and the addition of Hischmann really spread up a process that had begun already – an ever evolving sound that expands and deviates from their traditional roots

“It’s changed quite a bit even since our first album came out,” Freeman said. “We’re really excited to share those new sounds. We use the elements of more traditional songwriting to go from but don’t consider any limitations. Everyone has different influences so it’s been kind of inevitable.”

The Infinity Hall Norfolk show takes place at 8 p.m. on April 22 with special guest Heather Maloney. Purchase tickets here.

On April 23, they will be part of the multi-band Nameaug Gathering in New London. See more at http://nameauggathering.org

For more on Parsonsfield, visit http://www.parsonsfield.com or follow them on facebook.

Parsonsfield rehearses in their former space in Collinsville, now home to True North Teen Learning Alternative. Photo by Winter Caplanson

Parsonsfield rehearses in their former space in Collinsville, now home to True North Teen Learning Alternative.
Photo by Winter Caplanson

 

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