Mark Erelli, Jake Armerding, Lisa Bastoni, & Hayley Sabella
Bearing witness to small details and fleeting moments is what dignifies our everyday stories, rendering the mundane profound.
This principle has governed Erelli’s approach to his two decade career, including 11 solo albums, stints accompanying Josh Ritter, Paula Cole and Anais Mitchell, and a pair of records he produced for GRAMMY-winning songwriter Lori McKenna. Ever since Billboard magazine heralded the “simple, atmospheric grace” of his Signature Sounds debut, Erelli’s belief in the sacredness of an examined life has driven him between the ostensible extremes of lullabies and murder ballads, western swing and protest anthems. Whether he’s holding a pen or a Telecaster, Erelli’s music welcomes even the casual listener, but those who choose to dig more deeply are richly rewarded.
Perhaps that is what Folk Alley hears in Erelli’s songs, when it encourages people to “listen close; there’s sure to be something in there to break your heart a split second before it leads you straight to grace.”
Violinist-composer Jake Armerding creates an unholy racket of 80’s pop, Suzuki classical and New England bluegrass.
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
Hayley Sabella hails mostly from the New England coast. Inspired by the dramatic landscape and vast seasonal changes that range as much in temperature as they do in color, she reaches for the earth itself in its various forms to give her a sense of belonging. As the daughter of musicians and missionaries, this brought her to experience pivotal years of her childhood in Central America. Naturally, music became a tool through which she could make sense of the world and put down roots, despite a lingering feeling of displacement.
As evidenced in her songs, there is a lustrous display of tension and relief; a relationship between vulnerability and strength, death and rebirth, pain and love. Existing in performance as much as in song, this ongoing conflict allows audiences to gain a glimpse of Sabella’s true persona; she may break your heart, but shortly thereafter will invite you in for a cup of tea, enjoyed most with whiskey.