July 6, 2005
Hem Performs as part of MASS MoCA's Alternative Cabaret Series
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Hem's debut album Rabbit Songs was an expansive exploration of traditional American music that featured harmonium, mandolin, and pedal steel guitar enveloped by a full orchestra. Their second effort, Eveningland, has this band poised on the brink of breakout stardom. As part of the museum's Alternative Cabaret series Hem will perform under the stars in MASS MoCA's Courtyard Café on Saturday, August 6, at 8 P.M. "This is the perfect act to see outside in our Courtyard C Cabaret ," said Sue Killam, MASS MoCA's general manager, "In reviews, Rolling Stone has referred to Hem's softness being readymade for nighttime and we're sure Sally Ellyson's beautiful voice will sound magical under the stars."
According to Spin Magazine, "this Brooklyn Octet weaves together haunting melodies and delicate orchestrations to craft intimate country/folk lullabies." Rolling Stone says of their latest album: "The band finds an aching humanity, exploring insecurities, heartbreak and that strange emotional uneasiness made more uneasy at nighttime. Ellyson, with just the slightest inflection, is able to capture a whole world of feeling. Hem's softness may indeed be readymade for sleepy time, but it's a softness containing endless pleasures."
Less than two years ago, Hem self-released its first album Rabbit Songs. The band outgrew its cult following as critics from Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and NPR, among many others, praised the debut. The New York Times called them "one of Manhattan's most promising...bands," and Magnet said, "American music doesn't get any better than this." In 2003 the band was signed to Dreamworks and recorded its second album for the now defunct major label. This anticipated sophomore recording Eveningland is out now on Waveland/Rounder Records.
The group consists of Sally Ellyson on vocals; Dan Messé playing piano, accordion, celeste, and glockenspiel; Gary Maurer on guitar and mandolin; Steve Curtis on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and backing vocals; Catherine Popper playing upright bass and backing vocals; Mark Brotter on drums; Bob Hoffnar on pedal steel guitar; and Heather Zimmerman playing violin. The octet is establishing itself as one of the most distinctive and emotionally rewarding bands in American music. Entertainment Weekly described the music as "...beautifully recorded, warm sounding instruments" and described singer Sally Ellyson's voice as possessing "an understated confidence that wows with serene confidence."
The concert will be moved inside to the museum's Club B-10 space in the event of rain. Indoors or out, food and drink will be available from Lickety Split and the MASS MoCA bar both before and during the performance.
Tickets for Hem are $14 in advance or $17 the day of the concert. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday (July 1 through August 31, from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113