The Ghost of Paul Revere is breaking up after 11 years performing together. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

The Ghost of Paul Revere, the band behind Maine’s official state ballad, is calling it quits after more than 1,200 shows and nine albums.

“It didn’t seem like it was meant for everyone in the band anymore,” frontman Griffin Sherry said Tuesday. “What we’ve always tried to do is make music for our own enjoyment, for our own spirits. Once that started to be harder and harder to come by, it was a decision that felt necessary, even though the immense amount of support makes me want to do this forever.”

The well-known folk band was formed more than a decade ago by three friends who grew up together in the southern Maine towns of Buxton and Hollis. Self-described practitioners of “holler folk,” the Portland band’s music is built on a foundation of vocal harmonies and acoustic string instruments. Their sound has an old-time folk element, though their lyrics are mostly about the contemporary world.

Band members Sherry, Max Davis, Sean McCarthy and Chuck Gagne announced on their social media accounts Monday night that they will “end this strange experiment called The Ghost of Paul Revere” after their current tour, The Last Ride, which ends in September with their annual Ghostland festival at Thompson’s Point in Portland.

“It has been a wild ride filled with an abundance of trials, tribulations and joy. When we first got together eleven years ago, we never could have imagined that we would be given the incredible opportunity to share our music with all of you for this long. Over 1200 shows, 400,000 miles, 46 states, 6 countries and (soon to be) 9 albums later, our journey has finally brought us to the here and now,” the band wrote.

“Change is hard, it can be a subtle breeze that pushes you in a specific direction, or a rogue wave appearing without warning from the darkness. For the sake of our own health, our families and you, our fans, we have decided that this year’s Ghostland festival will be our last show – the end to a fantastic journey performing together – as The Ghost of Paul Revere,” the post continued.


The band described the mix of sadness and gratitude that comes with the decision, and encouraged fans to join them for shows as they finish their final tour together.

“The songs and music will always be there to share and enjoy with one another,” the band wrote. “We are excited to journey into the next chapter of our lives and will continue to keep everyone posted about our future, individual endeavors.”

As the band began touring after the pandemic, the members started to think about things like family and what life on the road meant for everyone, Sherry said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. The band recently returned from an East Coast tour that brought them through Georgia and the Carolinas and to Jersey City, New Jersey.

Sherry said he and his friends are still planning their next steps, but he will always be involved in songwriting and music in some form.

“I love what I do so much that it is hard to imagine a life without music in some regard,” he said.

The Ghost of Paul Revere formed 11 years ago, but McCarthy, who is from Hollis, and Davis and Sherry, both from Buxton, grew up together and all graduated from Bonny Eagle High School. They played in school bands and sang in school choruses together long before they thought about forming their own band or making music for a living.


After attending college in New York, Sherry returned to Maine and landed a gig singing and playing guitar once a month at Dogfish Bar & Grille in Portland. Davis and McCarthy, who would come to cheer him on, started occasionally singing backup in exchange for a couple beers.

“Sometimes we’d sing, or sometimes we wouldn’t, we’d just be there to listen to Griffin,” McCarthy, the band’s bassist, told the Press Herald in 2018. “We were just having fun.”

After about a year, they decided they enjoyed making music together so much they should form a band. They were joined by harmonica and mandolin player Matt Young, who left the band in 2017. The band’s name came from the name of Sherry’s solo act, Griffin Sherry and The Ghost of Paul Revere. Gagne, a drummer, joined the band in 2018.

Over the past decade, the band performed often in Maine and frequently toured the country. The band appeared on the late-night TV show “Conan” with Conan O’Brien in 2018.

In 2019, Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation declaring the band’s song “The Ballad of the 20th Maine” the official state ballad. The song, written by Sherry, is about the 20th Maine Regiment’s crucial role in winning the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Sherry wrote “The Ballad of the 20th Maine” because he’s a big history buff and has a keen interest in the 20th Maine. The regiment has been celebrated in books and film as crucial to the Union’s victory at Gettysburg in 1863, a battle that helped turn the tide of the war in the North’s favor.


Sherry spent about two years researching and writing the song, on which he also sings lead. He decided against writing about the 20th Maine’s commanding officer, Joshua Chamberlain, because he wanted the ballad to be from the perspective of someone else, a lesser-known Maine foot soldier.

The song is written in the voice of Andrew Tozier, a flag bearer for the 20th Maine. Tozier had grown up in Plymouth, ran away to work on ships as a youngster, then returned to Maine and enlisted when the Civil War broke out. He was wounded early in the war, losing a finger, and was later shot in the ankle, the lead bullets never removed. He was captured and spent time in Confederate prison camps before being part of a prisoner swap.

In February, fans rallied to raise money for the band after a trailer full of gear was stolen from a Colorado hotel parking lot. The band had just driven there from Maine to begin a monthlong tour of Western states. A fundraising campaign set up to recoup the cost of the lost equipment raised more than $28,000 in just the first two days.

The fundraiser brought in more than $34,000, well above the initial goal of $20,000. The band donated the extra money to four organizations: Full Plates Full Potential, Backline, Taylor James Steeves Foundation and Listen Up! Music. The band’s trailer and some of the missing equipment were later found by Denver police in an empty warehouse.

As Sherry prepared for the Facebook announcement, he said he went through old photos, reviving memories of both milestone moments and the people the band connected with along the way. He thought of their first show at the now-shuttered Port City Music Hall, the first time they played at the Newport Folk Festival and opening for Old Crow Medicine Show.

Sherry also reflected on Ghostland, the annual festival they started in 2014. That year, they set up the fencing, moved portable toilets, parked cars and cooked food for the artists before playing for a crowd of 500. Last year, 4,200 people attended the festival.

“With work ethic and passion, it turns out you can achieve incredible things,” he said.

After the band posted news about the end of The Ghost of Paul Revere on Facebook, hundreds of fans shared stories of the shows they had seen, the music they love and their hope that the musicians enjoy the next chapter in their lives. Seeing the impact the band made on people’s lives was humbling for all of them, Sherry said.

“To truly see our community is so much behind us is overwhelming. It’s joyous. It’s also heartbreaking,” he said. “I’m so happy we could give our music out to people, and I hope it lives with them forever.”

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