Release Date 28th January 2022
Independent Shops Exclusive Marble Green Vinyl Available Initially
As funny as it may sound, Anaïs Mitchell has spent the past 15 years in some kind of hell. OK, not actual hell, but the multi-faceted world of Hadestown, a musical project she began in Vermont in 2006 that has grown into a Tony®- and Grammy®-award-winning Broadway phenomenon with touring editions now delighting audiences as far away as South Korea.
“I experienced so much joy working on Hadestown, but it just kept ramping up and up and requiring more and more attention,” Mitchell admits. “I had to become so single-minded and really put blinders on to my other creative life.” As it did for many artists, the COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly offered Mitchell a blank slate to reconnect with her own music. The result is a new self-titled album made with close collaborators from Bon Iver, The National and her own band Bonny Light Horseman, Mitchell’s first collection of all-new material under her own name since 2012’s Young Man in America.
“I was nine months pregnant when the pandemic reached New York, so we made an 11th hour decision to leave and have the baby in Vermont,” Mitchell recalls. “We left the city and had the baby a week later, and then like everyone, we were in the midst of this unprecedented stillness. It felt like I could see behind me: oh, there’s New York City. There’s Hadestown. There’s my life with just one kid. A certain kind of stress and expectations. In Vermont, we moved onto my family farm and lived in my grandparents’ old house, with a new baby. I’d look at pictures on my phone from a few months earlier and wonder, whose life was that? This record, and the songs that are on it, came out of that time. I got into a flow again that I hadn’t felt in a really long time.”
Dubbed by NPR as “one of the greatest songwriters of her generation,” Mitchell is a master of the worlds of narrative folksong, poetry and balladry. Those talents are evident from the first moments of the new album, as Mitchell narrates what she calls “an unbearably romantic” trip over the Brooklyn Bridge colored by Bon Iver member Michael Lewis’ heartstring-tugging saxophone accompaniment. “Having left New York, I was able to write a love letter to it in a way I never could when I was living there,” she says. “It was like, fuck it. This is how I feel. There is nothing more beautiful than riding over one of the New York bridges at night next to someone who inspires you.”