Zachariah Hickman: Songs and Strings pt.2
This October, Zachariah Hickman presents Songs and Strings: two nights of intimate performances featuring some of the Northeast’s favorite songwriters, accompanied by newly arranged string quintets. Each night is completely different – and most arrangements will be debuted for the very first time. The string ensemble (two violins, viola, cello, double bass) will include members of the faux-classical ensemble ROSIN. Come on out and see this one-time event!
Tuesday, October 9th features Dennis Brennan, Rose Cousins, Kris Delmhorst, Dietrich Strause, & Dave Godowsky.
Wednesday, October 10th features Lori McKenna, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Mark Erelli, Dinty Child, & Lauren Balthrop.
If you purchase tickets to both Songs and Strings shows, enter the discount code Songs&Strings at checkout to receive $5 off each ticket!
Zachariah Hickman is known as a bassist, producer and bandleader for such artists as Josh Ritter, Ray LaMontagne, Barnstar!, and many local luminaries. He once spoke to Tom Waits in an elevator, and used to wear a beret non-ironically. This is not his first time performing at Club Passim.
McKenna is home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Holed up in her basement writing room, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is reflecting on The Tree, her much-anticipated new collection of the smart roots music that has become her hallmark. The Tree takes one of McKenna’s signature themes––family––and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived and overheard, been told and dreamed up, to create a stunning ode to life’s defining relationships.
McKenna was raised in a Boston family of six children. She met her husband Gene in third grade. They have five kids. And over the last three decades, as she became a wife and mother, she has also emerged as one of the most respected, prolific singer-songwriters in popular music. Her 2016 release The Bird and the Rifle netted three Grammy nominations, along with Americana Music Association nods––all firsts for McKenna as an artist. Then, she made history: In 2016, she became the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year two years in a row thanks to co-writing Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and penning Tim McGraw’s no. 1 “Humble and Kind” solo. Both songs also clinched back-to-back Grammy wins for Best Country Song. In 2017, she became the Academy of Country Music’s first female Songwriter of the Year. The list of stars who have recorded McKenna gems continues to grow: Reba, Alison Krauss, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Hunter Hayes, and others.
The Tree is McKenna’s eleventh studio album. It’s her second collaboration with producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson), and the chemistry generated by the pair and their elite supporting cast of engineers and musicians that helped fuel The Bird and the Rifle is back.
Elizabeth & the Catapult
Elizabeth Ziman, who performs as Elizabeth and the Catapult, is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter from New York, living and working in Brooklyn. She’s toured with the likes of Sara Bareilles and Kishi Bashi; collaborated with Esperanza Spalding, Gillian Welch, Blake Mills and Ben Folds; scored, with Paul Brill, a variety of international award-winning documentaries including Trapped, a Peabody winner; and won the 2015 Independent Music Award for Songwriting, Folk category. Her songs have been featured in national television campaigns for Google, Amazon, Sky TV, and “So You Think You Can Dance”.
Always writing, Elizabeth has narrowed her vast collection of previously unrecorded material down to her fourth full-length studio album KEEPSAKE, produced by Dan Molad (Lucius) and featuring collaborations with Richard Swift (The Shins). KEEPSAKE is her most personal and cohesive record yet, comprised of both upbeat and sentimental songs, many of which came to her in dreams. The album was produced by Dan Molad and Peter Lalish (Lucius), featuring performances from Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Antony and the Johnsons, Joan as Policewoman) and Richard Swift (The Shins).
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.”
Dinty is a longtime member of the Boston roots/folk scene. A fearless multi-instrumentalist, he can most often be seen with the band Session Americana, as well as the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, the unapologetically loud and grimy Catbirds, as sensitive sideman to any number of singer/songwriters, including Rose Cousins and Kris Delmhorst, and even fronting the twenty piece party band, the Funky White Honkies.
Lauren Balthrop – Alabama grown, New York tested, and Nashville bound – quiets even the loudest room. Balthrop’s debut album, This Time Around produced by Josh Kaufman (Bob Weir, The National, Craig Finn, Clare Bowen, Trixie Whitley, Amy Helm, Hiss Golden Messenger), is beguiling in its honesty, rich in dark sonic beauty and above all, devilishly playful.
This Time Around chronicles the story of an uprooted soul. Feeling spun out of orbit, tumbling, accidents, and loss of control are recurring themes yet Balthrop finds solace in the chaos of love. There is a sneaky confidence in Balthrop’s vocals – all honey and soaring – almost as if she feels most at ease when her heart is dizzy. Each track on the album oscillates between the moodiness of experimental dark folk instrumentation, and the levity of Balthrop’s crystal-fueled voice.
From the magical realism and twisted fairy tale-nature of “Maple Tree” to the fuzzed out guitar of “Don’t Ever Forget,” and the drunken carousel-esque swooning of “Tumbleweed,” This Time Around is the poster child for rich, subversive pop music. At times Balthrop hits Beatles-like pop hooks and harmonies, and beats that would make Petty nod from the heavens.