Lester White in Andover in the 1930s Supplied

ANDOVER — With both his parents from Andover and both his grandparents from Andover, it’s safe to say, according to Maine “rules,” musician and pastor Glenn Hall is a Mainer.

With his new EP entitled, Clouds Turned Black releasing on Nov. 12, it’s easy to hear his roots in his music. One of his songs titled, “Her Finger Needs a Ring,” was inspired by his grandfather’s tales of his days working in the lumber camp in the 1930s. It’s a fictional song based loosely on his grandfather. But Maine can be heard in every word.

“She longs to say those sacred vows like bluejays longs to sing …” is just one of the lines which is more delicate and beautiful vs. another lyric which is more rough and honest saying, “Silver plated pistol is about all I got to pawn.”

Hall talks about his grandfather, Lester White, saying he was on the rough side and his grandmother was a woman of faith and the song is about what drives people together. They would end up having six children.

White worked in an Andover lumber camp, and in the winter he would cut timber and they would put it in on a horse and carriage because there weren’t huge trucks at that time. He described how it was so cold then, his beard would freeze while cutting timber. He also spoke of being a cook for a week, as well as a cookie (the cook’s helper), and how even if the lumberjack men didn’t like the food, they ate it anyway.

Hall describes how most White’s stories included many names and characters of those in Maine. Some of them were family members. Hall recalls White telling the stories of these folks, and stating these names as if he, Hall, a little boy, knew them.

White would make his own tools. He’d make his own ax handles and frames for bows.

To Hall, raised in Boston, White was something from another planet, with his thick New England accent and all those stories. But something stuck. White played the harmonic. He would play Canadian fiddle tunes with his worn, tough hands from lumbering. White and his uncles would play the harmonic, fiddles, and guitar around Hall when he was a young child, often step-dancing in a way that looked like clogging.

This would lead to Hall picking up the guitar, then starting on the piano, bass, before he was songwriting, and singing. However, his roots were always in storytelling. Raised on his grandfather’s tales, it’s easy to see why.

It was during the pandemic in 2020 that Hall wanted to write about searching for hope in dark times. That was how his six-track EP, Clouds Turn Black was born.

And if you listen to, “Her Finger Needs a Ring,” you can hear that hope needed in the darkest and coldest of Western Maine’s winters, when a person can barely earn enough to eat but has hope for marriage because they’re in love. 1930 or 2021, some things just don’t change.

Hall is accompanied Jenee Fleenor, who plays the fiddle, cello, and sings. Hall’s album, ‘Clouds Turn Black’ is available on all streaming platforms on November 12. Below is a link to his music video: https://youtu.be/Evb-P2FLa44

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