Eveningland

Eveningland

4.3 3
by Hem
     
 

Thanks to the success of Rabbit Songs, Brooklyn-based Hem's first release, one suspects co-founder Dan Messé did not have to sell personal possessions this time around to afford the Slovak National Radio Orchestra, Eveningland’s equivalent of Rabbit Songs' 18-piece ensemble. The result is no less gratifying: 15See more details below

Overview

Thanks to the success of Rabbit Songs, Brooklyn-based Hem's first release, one suspects co-founder Dan Messé did not have to sell personal possessions this time around to afford the Slovak National Radio Orchestra, Eveningland’s equivalent of Rabbit Songs' 18-piece ensemble. The result is no less gratifying: 15 new, even more lushly textured original songs in the folk-pop/alt-country tradition, each equally lovely in its own way, along with a wonderful version of Jerry Leiber and Billy-Edd Wheeler’s "Jackson," formerly recorded by such legendary artists as Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Sally Ellyson's soothing, hypnotic vocals are reminiscent of Margot Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, but delivered with more soul and less ennui. And her delivery is more important than the lyrics, on the whole, although their collective imagery (cornflowers, lawn chairs, schoolyards, rooftops, smoke, sparrows, rye fields) is key to Hem's mystique: Think gauzy nights inhabited by star-crossed, or double-crossed, lovers, or perfect but lonely summer days spent staring at the clouds. The instrumentation, generous with mandolin, pedal steel, and the aforementioned orchestra, also goes a long way toward creating the languid, countrypolitan sound that Messé describes as the band's benchmark. Intelligent arrangements and attention to production detail, courtesy of Messé and guitarist Gary Maurer, allow the artistry of each song to reveal itself gradually, a new layer of appreciation accruing with each exquisite listen.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Hem made a quiet stir with their 2001 release Rabbit Songs, notable for its lush orchestral backdrop and the casually sexy and innocent whisperings of vocalist Sally Ellyson. The fact that a gentle folk ensemble could even be heard amidst the Britneys and Xtinas of the new millennium is a testament to Hem's intangible qualities. Fans of their debut will be happy to hear that their 2004 follow-up Eveningland is completely devoid of techno drum loops, pitch-corrected teen angst, and the only super-famous guest star is the quietly brilliant (and unobtrusive) Josh Rouse. Clarinets provide reedy countermelodies to the sighing violins, and campfire acoustic guitars buoy Ellyson's lullabies along on burlap mists through dusty woodcut images. Largely orchestrated by songwriter Dan Messé, the songs retain the timeless quality of Appalachian folk music without ever sounding dated. The music occasionally ranges through blissful '70s AM pop (the Carpenters), with hints of the big British folk ensembles (Pentangle, Fairport Convention), and sighing pedal steel reminiscent of terrific '90s Americana (Cowboy Junkies, Mojave Three) and dreamy pop (Mazzy Star, the Sundays) all of which assemble on the same wooden front porch for a starry evening of acoustic introspection. The album begins subtly with the understated "The Fire Thief," moving slowly into the bright ballad "Receiver" and through a warmly subdued version of the Johnny Cash/June Carter duet "Jackson." The only fault with the album may be that it is not as surprising as their debut, and since it is simply more of the same terrific music, it doesn't broadside the listener in the same new and fresh way. The Hem project began as an attempt to create something lasting, and Eveningland proves that their debut was no fluke. While Hem will probably never appear on MTV (not even early in the morning) or get 30 spins a week on Hot Hits Z-101, their music may sneak into the hearts of unassuming listeners through NPR's All Things Considered and maybe on a CD sampler in a roots music magazine, and those lucky listeners will cherish these songs, holding them close to their hearts with eyes closed and smiles wide, knowing that they hold something truly precious.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/05/2004
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661324022
catalogNumber:
613240

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hem   Primary Artist
Matt Keating   Organ,Vocal Harmony
Bob Hoffnar   Pedal Steel Guitar
Fats Kaplin   Fiddle
Josh Rouse   Vocal Harmony
Gary Maurer   Guitar,Mandolin
Heather Zimmerman   Violin
Mark Brotter   Drums
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Dawn Landes   Vocal Harmony
Dan Messe   Piano,Celeste,Glockenspiel
Steve Curtis   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocal Harmony
Sally Ellyson   Vocals
Greg Pliska   Piano,Conductor
Catherine Popper   Upright Bass,Vocal Harmony
Viktor Simcisko   Concert Master
Pavol Puchovsk   Clarinet
Milan Teleckz   Viola
Ivan Tvrdík   Cello
Misha Vitenson   Violin
Victor Zimzisko   Violin

Technical Credits

Jerry Leiber   Composer
Greg Calbi   Mastering
Erik Hanson   Engineer
Otto Nopp   Engineer
Suzanne Kapa   Engineer
Gary Maurer   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Geoff Sanoff   Engineer
Dawn Landes   Engineer
Dan Messe   Composer,Producer
Steve Curtis   Composer
Greg Pliska   Arranger
Rudyard Lee Cullers   Engineer
Mary Moyer   Public Relations
Arjun Agerwala   Engineer

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