Passim Monday Discovery Series with Bella Hardy & Rachael Kilgour sponsored by Nine Athens Music

August 14, 2017 8PM
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$10 / 0

Bella Hardy’s latest album With The Dawn – her first since being named BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer Of The Year in 2014– isn’t just the latest collection of songs from this prolific and ingenious artist. The album is an account of one year of her life. Where previously Bella has adapted and explored traditional ballads and fables to tell her contemporary folk tales, the stories that inspired these songs are her own experiences: good and bad, happy or sad.

With The Dawn is a more intimate and reflective album than before. Working with producer Ben Seal, the arrangements are more instinctive, more reactive, as befits the mind-set that informed the lyrics. Vivid brass gives way to lonesome piano; choral voices peal; banjos emerge out of beats and blips. Elements of the initial demos, sometimes recorded into a phone as the thoughts occurred, have been kept. Whatever instrument was nearest to hand was grabbed and deployed whenever and wherever (even on one occasion in the bath) giving With The Dawn its striking immediacy.

These are songs written on the road, full of that sense of displacement, longing and contemplation that all itinerant musicians know. This was a time for a turning-30 Bella where nothing was stable. Documenting that flux as an album was a way to make sense of it all. On With The Dawn, Bella Hardy’s soaring kite-like voice is married to lyrics that poetically question everything she’s seen and done up till now; letting go of expectations, both other people’s and her own. But with closing lullaby And We Begin there’s a light at the end... or rather the beginning.

Only one song didn’t spring directly from Bella’s year of touring and tumult. Jolly Good Luck To The Girl That Loves A Soldier was commissioned by Songs For The Voiceless, a project which gathered the country’s best folk artists to sing some of the lesser known stories of World War I. The resulting album was one of many bold paths Bella Hardy’s career has taken in recent years. From collaborating with Martin Simpson, John Smith and others on the hugely acclaimed Elizabethan Sessions, to a joint tour with Edinburgh miserablist Blue Rose Code, and an international songwriter exchange with Canada’s Cara Luft who also guests on this album.

Bella grew up in Edale in the Peak District, and now lives in Glasgow. Although the Hardy family sang in the local choir, it was a combination of her childhood love for ballad books and visits to local folk festivals that decided her future. At 13 she began performing at Cambridge and Sidmouth festivals and in 2004 reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Award, having taught herself to fiddle sing. Following a BA in English Literature and a Masters degree in Music, Bella released her debut album Night Visiting in 2007. One of its songs, Three Black Feathers was nominated for a BBC Folk Award. It was her first original composition.

 

http://www.bellahardy.com/
 

Rachael Kilgour is a Minnesota-based songwriter and performing artist whose sincere, lyric-driven work has been called both brave and humane. The 2015 grand prize winner of the esteemed international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition and 2017 winner of the Kerrville Grassyhill New Folk Contest, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center and by the ASCAP Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival. A versatile performer, Kilgour has shared stages with the likes of indie artists Haley Bonar & Jeremy Messersmith as well as folk legends Greg Brown, Cheryl Wheeler & Lucy Kaplansky. 

Married in her early twenties, Kilgour devoted her young adulthood to parenting her stepchild and building family and community. Her work from that time (Self-Titled 2008, Will You Marry Me? 2011, Whistleblower’s Manifesto 2013) chronicled her life as a young parent in a same-sex partnership and addressed sociopolitical issues from government corruption to income inequality and religious hypocrisy. Kilgour’s music career took a backseat during those years as she lived a slow, home-focused life. 

In 2014, divorce brought an unwanted end to her role as a member of the family she had helped to grow. In the months following, Kilgour found solace in songwriting. Rabbit in the Road, was born out of that time: the love, loss, betrayal, disorientation and the profound sense of resilience that followed.

“While I have always felt a strong pull to address social injustices from the stage, this new collection of work requires something new of me,” Kilgour shared. “I feel called to use my platform to address emotion and grief and forgiveness in a way that is not often done in our culture.” 

Though the album was instigated by a particular event in her life, each track explores a different aspect of Kilgour’s emotional journey. “I was taught from a young age that a person’s hurtful behavior is almost always a sign of inner pain and not a reflection of your self-worth. The second track on the album, ‘Deep Bruises’, was my attempt to put that belief into practice under the most difficult circumstances.” 

Rabbit in the Road was released March 3rd, 2017 on NewSong Recordings. It was produced by Catie Curtis with help from sound engineer, Crit Harmon and mixed by Gar Ragland at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC. The album takes an intimate and often painful look at the failed marriage and loss of family. Kilgour’s writing and delivery cut deep, with resolute simplicity. Sorrow, rage, resilience and compassion exist side by side within a series of honest and memorable melodies. The collection of work stands tall on a foundation of vulnerability and opens the door to moments of profound connection.

 

https://www.rachaelkilgour.com/

 

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Please note that the seating chart has recently been updated, so be sure you are purchasing the seats you want.  If you do not purchase all seats at your table, other patrons may be seated with you.  Your ticket reserves you a place at the table you select but not a specific location at that table.  There is no food or beverage minimum.  All tickets are non-refundable.

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