Central PA’s Maitland is a band, but it is also Josh Hines – a cheerful guy with long blond hair, an outgoing demeanor, an acoustic guitar and a knockout voice. Since debuting in 2012, Hines has fluctuated between being a solo performer and working with a band. When he’s in the group setting, they do the dramatic atmospheric slow burn thing; alone, Hines pares it back to Elliot Smith style simplicity and intimacy. That’s the version of Maitland we got when the barefooted troubadour visited XPN studios this past weekend to roll out four songs that, as yet, are unreleased, but if you’ve seen the band live in the past year or so, chances are they’re familiar.
“Mothers Touch” undeniably recalls I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning-era Bright Eyes (and, of course, the older stuff that album referenced: the SoHo folk scene of the 1950s); “Luna” is dreamy, mysterious and Jeff Buckley-ish, “Glimpse” strikes a resonant Iron and Wine chord and “Cup of Love” is a fervent strummer. It’s music that, in this most minimal of arrangements, sounds complete, but at the same time you’ll hear how Maitland the band might build on this foundation – Hines’ percussive playing can hint at larger arrangements if you let it. When it stops by MilkBoy on July 11th, you’ll be able to see in person how the group of players might embellish these songs – though, given their potency, I’m hoping for a solo Hines moment or two.Maitland, The Key Studio Sessions