The music of Portland musician Sara Hallie Richardson is a combination of folk, indie and electronic. On Friday night, she will host a CD-release show for her new album “Restless” at One Longfellow Square. GO caught up with her to chat about “Restless” and a whole mess of other stuff.

Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?

I am from Washington, Maine, but I lived in New York City for a bit and then moved back, and have lived in Portland for a little over two years.

Where and when was “Restless” recorded? How long did it take? What were some of the challenges?

When I first started recording “Restless,” I was living in New York and my producer, Mike Flannery, was living in Maine. Then when I moved back to Maine, Mike moved to Brooklyn, so needless to say, the recording process took a bit of time. In all, it took about a year and a half to finish.

You released it digitally in January 2012, but the physical CD-release show is this weekend. What held things up?

During the recording of “Restless,” I fell into a bit of a slump, which made it hard to find the energy to put into releasing this record with the confidence and vision that I originally had in mind. I released the record online to create some buzz in town and to push myself to get things moving. Thankfully, it helped, and I soon booked myself a CD-release show, put together a band, and here we are today!

What was the first instrument you learned to play?

Piano. My dad is, among many things, a classical and jazz pianist who was brave enough to try and teach me. Adolescence really ruined it for me.

When did you first start writing songs? Has your process changed over time?

I first started writing songs when I got my first guitar in college. I really enjoy writing melodies and harmonies, so if I found two chords to play on the guitar, I was able to write a pretty intricate vocal line. Not much has changed since, except that I entered the world of Midi, and computers became a fun musical outlet.

When and how did you first become interested in electronic music?

I had a wonderful mentor at UMaine, Beth Wiemann. I expressed interest in working with computer programs, such as Reason and Cubase, so we came up with an independent study that allowed me to learn about the programs and eventually write my own songs with them, which led to a performance at the UMaine Woman’s Composer Concert and the Dean’s Award for Research and Creative Achievement.

What was the last album you bought?

The Story’s “Angel in the House” (1993). This is a really old album that I grew up listening to. It includes Jonatha Brooke, who is a great melodist and vocalist. It’s a bit dated, but I’m obsessed with the vocal arrangements. I’d say it was the first album that taught me how to harmonize in the first place, so I have a real soft spot for it. Having no use for the cassette tape, I recently bought it online.

What can we expect at the One Longfellow show? Who will be playing with you, or is it a solo performance?

Opening the night is jazz pianist extraordinaire Ahmad Hassan Mahammad, who also plays as part of the beloved Jaw Gems. Then I will perform with a full band, including Sean Morin, Andrew Scherzer, Jonny Venom and Dan Boydan, as well as three female vocalists — Jocelyn Emery, Megan Jo Wilson and Anna Lombard McGeachey — so get ready for lots of complex harmonies. I am so excited to see these songs come into fruition.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]

 

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