Tidbit Thursday: A Tribute to Hearth Music

Devon Léger, proprietor of Hearth Music, likes a particular kind of organic, neo-traditional folk and roots music, grounded deeply in the past yet sweet and honest enough for modern ears. He’s got great taste, too, and a knack for finding the good stuff. So the fact that the Seattle-based label which Devon runs with his family seems to have added me to their mailing list in recent months has made me happy, indeed.

It was Hearth that first made the introduction, via Nell Robinson’s most recent album, which we celebrated in July as a marvel of intimate storytelling peppered with the true grit voices of her family elders. From there, Devon and I got chatting; he recommended Lauren Sheehan’s brand new covers collection Rose City Ramble, which he’s “not promoting at all”, just because he thought I’d share his love for her wonderfully warm, gentle acoustic roots and blues covers, and pointed me to the Hearth Music blog, where he shares news of some pretty impressive roots artists that seem, too often, to be otherwise unsung. From there, I found the Listening Lounge, which features a holy host of retrofolk, bluegrass, and oldtimey artists, a treasure trove of discovery with files galore to sample and save.

Devon and co. have also impressed me to no end by picking up on other innovative musicians who I’ve raved about before, but had otherwise lost sight of. Today’s mail, for example, included the debut-as-a-duo album from tradfolk couple Pharis and Jason Romero, which finds the British Colombian folk reconstructionists and banjo-makers (previously touted here for their crystal-clear YouTube work) taking on a mixed set of traditionally sourced and original compositions to powerful effect, one that recalls the best of classic countryfolk guitar-led co-ed pairings from Johnny and June to Welch and Rawlings. The album is being paired with a new work by Romero producer Ivan Rosenberg and The Foggy Hogtown Boys, too, and it’s a great “vinyl-era” tradgrass romp.

And among other stellar artists performing in the Next Gen Folk Series which Hearth Music promotes out in Seattle, I find Nic Gareiss and Emma Beaton, a stunningly potent “transcendant traditional folk” duo who I actually did discover, before anyone, when I accidentally wandered into their first ever public performance together way back in the winter of 2009, and subsequently wrote that “if I ever had the time and guts to start producing musicians on my own, I’d start with Emma and Nic”.

And so I sing today in praise of the rarest of finds in the busy, increasingly fragmented world of music behind the scenes: a promotional agency that is perfectly genuine and personal; that presents exclusively hand-tooled, authentically crafted music in both live and recorded form; that sees the music they profit from as tied intimately to the music they love, and promotes it all, regardless of who it benefits; that sends physical media banded in brown paper, accompanied by playful yet tastefully classic postcard introductions to the artists, making the music they send a natural extension of the down-to-earth packaging experience, and vice versa.

In a world where so much spam fills the blogger’s inbox each day, such genuine thoughtfulness and prescience should not go unrewarded. So here’s some coverage from a few great artists recently touted, promoted, and/or hosted by this tiny yet growing promotion house. Check ‘em out, and then head over to Hearth Music to buy, book tickets, sample, and blogfollow.

  • Raina Rose w/ Rebecca Loebe: Mama You Been On My Mind (orig. Bob Dylan)

Cover Lay Down: on the neverending search for all the greatness in the universe. Sharing the best coverfolk we find in it with you since 2007.

Category: Elseblog, Tradfolk One comment »

One Response to “Tidbit Thursday: A Tribute to Hearth Music”

  1. 72Minute

    Nice song ..

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