Somewhere on the musical map, where the twang of Classic Country meets the grit of Southern Soul, Hank Wonder marks a detour down a sonic stretch of unpaved road. The Boston-based trio of Annie Bartlett (fiddle and viola), Darren Buck (vocals), and Michael Loria (guitar) first came together in 2013, and have since crafted their very own soulful blend of Americana: equal parts down home and gussied up.
In November 2016, the band entered Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to record its debut album with producer and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rose (Elephant Revival, Barnstar). Little Mysteries soon emerged as a strong set of 12 originals, each penned by Buck. Skillfully engineered by Dan Cardinal (Josh Ritter, Darlingside) and mixed by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli), these tales of Downeast canoe rides, fables of reckless children, and odes to fine bourbon reward each new listen with lush layers of production, musicianship, and songcraft.
After a break of about a decade away from music, a career change and two children, Lisa Bastoni has released The Wishing Hour (2017), produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Felix McTeigue (Lori McKenna/Anais Mitchell).
During her break from music Bastoni had a “job in a cubicle,” went to graduate school, became an art teacher and for the past few years has been raising two young children. While she was on a hiatus from music, Bastoni said she found inspiration. “I played just a handful of concerts in all that time, and thought I was done with music for good,” Bastoni said. “But one afternoon, while out for a walk around the neighborhood with the kids, I started to get ideas for song lyrics. And soon it was like a flood of song ideas – and as the songs started to come back, so did the desire to perform and record them.”
For the album, Bastoni brought in her old friend Josh Kantor, who she first met in the early 2000s when she was busking in Harvard Square and on Red Line platforms. The two played together in those days, with Kantor playing upright bass.
She also reached out to Felix McTeigue, a producer and songwriter from Nashville. He had contacted Bastoni several years ago about working together. “To my surprise, he remembered me and the process was off and running pretty quickly,” Bastoni said. “There was a period of just generating ideas and material, and selecting a few songs to start working on.”
—by Charlie Breitrose, excerpted from Watertown News (MA), January 2017