Hem – Tickets – Rams Head On Stage – Annapolis, MD – April 23rd, 2013

Hem

Hem

Ruut, Dawn Landes

Tue, April 23, 2013

8:00 pm

Rams Head On Stage

Annapolis, MD

$15.00

This event is 21 and over

Hem
Hem
Hem's music is calm, dreamy, elegant, and exquisitely bittersweet. "This Brooklyn quartet”, says the Washington Post, "plays sophisticated, subtle orch-pop that just happens to have a twang." The group forges a lush, poignant sound capped by the incredible voice of Sally Ellyson, a serene yet aching instrument.

The long awaited new album from Hem, Departure and Farewell, will be released April 2 on Waveland Records. “Making music that’s categorically neither country nor folk but a flexible citified mix of the two, its songs send one branch toward the hymnal, another into droning soft rock, and a third toward the kind of film music that evokes prairie sunsets…Beautiful,” writes The New York Times of the band’s process.

Hem is Sally Ellyson (vocals), Dan Messé (piano, accordion, glockenspiel), Gary Maurer (guitar, mandolin), and Steve Curtis (guitar, mandolin, banjo, back-up vocals). Departure and Farewell was co-produced by Maurer and Messé and recorded at Sear Sound. Of the new release, Messé notes, “Hem has always been about endings in one way or another (we were named after the ending of a dress, after all), but never more so than here in these songs.” Ellyson furthers, “This album is about loss, about the fear of loss and about the trajectory of life…it was one of the more emotionally resonating albums to record.”

Formed in 1999, Hem self-released their debut Rabbit Songs in 2002 to critical acclaim, establishing themselves as one of the most promising bands to emerge from Brooklyn. Since then, they’ve released four full-length albums, including the music for the 2009 Public Theatre production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, for which they received a nomination for Outstanding Music in a Play for the 2009/2010 Drama Desk Awards.
Ruut
Ruut
From the Northern country of Finland, Ruut began playing piano by ear and composing her own songs at age 8, and performed in front of thousands of people as her family traveled around Europe as missionaries. Ruut landed in Baltimore at age 16, and began her journey as a professional singer songwriter when she got a record deal in Nashville at 21. Ruut’s songs have been soundtracks on film and videos, and having shared the stage with world renowned acts, such as Passenger, Hem, Brett Dennen and Kat Edmondson, she continues to inspire her audiences with her deep lyrics, lush piano arrangements and soulful voice. Ruut’s new fan funded album, “Untold Stories” releases in early 2016.
Dawn Landes
Dawn Landes
Twangy indie folk sweetheart Dawn Landes landed in New York City in 2000 from Louisville, Kentucky. Starting off working as an audio engineer for the likes of Philip Glass, Ryan Adams, and Joseph Arthur, Dawn recently co-founded Saltlands, a studio in Brooklyn where she now produces and records bands. In 2004 Dawn released her first solo record, earning her gigs with Feist, Andrew Bird, and Jose Gonzalez. She has since toured the world with her band The Hounds (Ray Rizzo on drums, Josh Kaufman on guitar) playing alongside contemporaries like Alexi Murdoch, Elvis Perkins and Midlake. Dawn's music can frequently be heard on TV series, commercials and film soundtracks. Her latest LP Sweet Heart Rodeo was released to wide acclaim in early 2010.
"I guess you could say each song is like its own bull," the twenty-eight-year-old deadpans, "each ride its own love-story…you know, trying to hang on to a wild thing isn't always graceful." Her feminist approach proved problematic when it came to turning up images of feisty cowgirls for the artwork. "There aren't many female bull riders," she admits. And with good reason. "I went to a few rodeos as research. They don't stay on those things very long."

Though she grew up in Louisville her perfect variations on country and folk music have all been recorded in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn. The culture clash of urban and rural traditions is an intriguing base for Landes' material and audience. She spent most of 2008 touring with a variety of country/folk and indie-rock stalwarts like The Tindersticks, Midlake, Josh Ritter, Jason Isbell (of the Drive by Truckers), Alexi Murdoch and the Swell Season, to name a few. And though she might recognize kindred spirits in contemporaries like Conor Oberst and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Landes is blessed with a voice as pure and ringing as any folk or country diva.

The voice has always been there, but it's taken a while to be heard. Her first self-released records, simply called Dawn's Music and the EP two three four effectively proved her talent, but it was 2008's acclaimed Fireproof that revealed it to the world. Around that time her splendid bluegrass cover of Peter Bjorn and John's instant classic "Young Folks," performed with an elderly group of Texans called The WST Band ("It stands for 'we sorta tried'"), became a YouTube favorite. "Straight Lines," one of her best-known songs, sound-tracked in adverts on both sides of the Atlantic. Here it accompanied a cute campaign to encourage urban cycling. There it promoted Axe, the local equivalent of Lynx and the preferred perfume of adolescent males. Its writer was bemused. "The same song was used to promote bicycling in a childlike way and men's deodorant in a sexual way. What does that mean?" she once pondered. For a while she lived in France, learning to love Gainsbourg, Brassens and Francoise Hardy, and spent her time in Paris at the most unlikely joints. "I found myself in a lot of situations I wouldn't have been invited to otherwise," she says, "I played a lot of parties, fashion parties, one in a hotel where there was a bubble bath filled with champagne!" As you can imagine this is a world she doesn't usually inhabit.

Since her last release, Landes (her surname has two syllables) has finished fitting out her own studio, Saltlands in Brooklyn. "I actually built it! Some friends and I put up the walls and floated the floors," she declares proudly, christening it with the recording of Sweet Heart Rodeo. Again working with regular collaborator, drummer and all-rounder Ray Rizzo, her recording outfit was completed by guitarist Josh Kaufman and bassist Annie Nero, a couple (of musicians) that she met on the road. A cover of Kaufman's composition, the charming, gentle "Dance Area" fits perfectly alongside Landes' own material.

"Sweet Heart Rodeo" is packed with fine tunes, again beautifully sung. The opener "Young Girl" ponders gender stereotyping—competitive boys, jealous girls—over a reductive and distorted keyboard riff. The deceptively cutting "Romeo" berates a certain someone who ruined one of Landes' birthdays by standing her up. No wonder she borrows a hook from "16 Tons," Tennessee Ernie Ford's fifties nugget of resignation. The haunting 'Money In The Bank' marries down-home hippie wisdom ('the night before you die, what are you gonna buy?') to a glorious chorus bolstered by a wistful French horn. Dawn even drums on an unlikely cover of Margo Guryan's already unlikely "Love," a 1968 collision of cool jazz and nascent psychedelia. "She's amazing, one of these unsung geniuses like Vashti Bunyan was, who made one fabulous record then disappeared," she says of the woman behind the lost classic "Take A Picture."

Rizzo's idiosyncratic harmonica style ("kinda cloudy—the opposite of ethereal") boosts the quirky "Wandering Eye," a rare song that combines sex and travel without causing offence, while "Little Miss Holiday" imagines a conversation between Jodie Foster and the teenage hooker that inspired her character in Scorsese's unhinged "Taxi Driver." It's tender rather than bleak. "Brighton" is a tribute to a magical day in that great Southern (English) town, yet it could hardly sound more American, Appalachian even. "I hope I captured it in the song," she says. By the album's conclusion, the wobbly wedding march of "All Dressed In White," you'll probably be thinking of giving love a try. Even if it does hurt when you fall off.
Venue Information:
Rams Head On Stage
33 West St.
Annapolis, MD, 21401
http://www.ramsheadonstage.com/

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