By: Cayley Bowman, Staff Writer
Art can come in many different forms, from paintings and drawings, sculptures, music, poetry and acting, and everything in between. For Sigrid Sibley, her art comes in the form of music. Sibley is a 2021 graduate from USM and she chose this school for its great music program, but also because it was close to home and she could continue to play with her bluegrass band.
“USM has a great location. During college, I was able to play and perform in the local music scene. I went through the music program at USM where I met and played with lots of great musicians,” said Sibley. Five years after committing to the school Sibley’s bluegrass band Flight just released their first album.
Sibley grew up in Poland, Maine and always had a love for music. When she was a teenager, she began to take guitar lessons with Carter Logan, a southern Maine musician and music teacher. Logan also founded Flight 317, a contemporary bluegrass ensemble that has rotating teenage band members. Sibley joined the band when she was in high school and then met Terra Gallo, Emi Schneider, and Adriana Whitlock and they joined together becoming the first all-female group to play as Flight 317.
“I was born and raised in Maine. I love Maine and I am glad to be making music here,” said Sibley. They have played 50 gigs since 2016, which includes opening for national and international touring acts, playing at local festivals and establishments, and performing at fundraisers.
When all four of the members graduated from high school, they had to let new members take over Flight 317. However, it was not the end for their group. They changed their band name to Flight, and continued to play music together.
Flight had been working on their new album since the summer of 2021, when they were able to get to the studio. However, Sibley notes that they have been fundraising for several years and the process was stalled due to the lockdown during the pandemic. When asked what went into making the album, Sibley answered, “It was a long, but fun process.”
The group started out by selecting eight of their favorite songs and then arranging them in the preferred order. The band rehearsed for several months and then went to the Acadia Recording Company to begin recording the album. “Our producer and engineer Jason Phelps is a great local musician and a whiz in the studio,” said Sibley. “He brought out the best in our music and we are so thankful to have worked with him during the recording process.” Once their songs were recorded, they spent several months editing, mixing, and mastering them to get the songs ready for release. They also had to figure out the logistics of copyright and distribution.
Flight released their first album in February with Sibley on the mandolin, Gallo on the fiddle, Schneider on guitar, and Whitlock on bass. Their mentor, Logan, also accompanied them on the banjo and dobro. The album’s title is “Next Wednesday,” which refers to the band’s weekly rehearsal schedule for years. The album consists of eight tracks of traditional bluegrass music, folk music, and one rock song.
Sibley says that people who are new to bluegrass music describe it as “old-fashioned barn music.” Bluegrass musicians generally play traditional acoustic instruments, such as the guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, etc. However, there is always room for newcomers within the genre. There is typically a role for each instrument, which is what gives bluegrass its distinct sound. “We play fiddle tunes, folk songs, traditional hymns—as long as it’s loud and fast we will play it!” exclaimed Sibley.
When asked what their new album meant to her, Sibley answered, “The album is a milestone for us. It’s a way of saying ‘this is where we are at this time.’ We have grown over the past few years and the album is a way to encapsulate our musical journey so far.” Sibley has an enormous passion for music and it is shown through the way her and the band play. “Music is a way to express yourself, connect with others, and build community. At the end of the day, it should be fun,” she said.
Flight’s music can be found on most streaming platforms, including Apple iTunes, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Spotify. Physical copies of the album are at 317 Main Community Music Center, or you can contact the band at [email protected] and they will send one your way.