8.7.09

Hem

This was a Pandora find from last fall. I think it was under a Patty Griffin genre. But have you heard them yet?! Their first album Rabbit Songs was released in 2002 and they are currently doing music for New York City’s “Shakespeare in the Park” event. They are creating the score to “Twelfth Night.”

They are not your ordinary country-folk band. This is no George Straight or Dixie Chicks. I don’t even like country music and I like Hem. It’s that good. As every reviewer seems to say, each song is a world in itself with its pensive lyrics and winsome melodies. Hem is a four-man band with five more musicians that regularly contribute on harmonizing vocals, mandolins, dobros, and glockenspiel. If you know what those last two are then you should already be listening to Hem. If you don’t, then it is high time you found out what delicious instruments they are!

They’ve performed with Wilco, Beth Orton, and Elvis Costello. One reviewer says of them,
[At times they] recall the emotionally stirring sweep of movie music from an age when the best pictures were shot in Cinemascope and orchestras crowded onto sound stages to perform the scores.
Their music is perfect for a prairie sunset, a stroll through the acres of Texas, or a rainy summer day on the porch. “Half Acre” feels like an epic movie in 3 and ½ minutes. There is an oboe that pipes up in the margins that will just melt your soul like butter! And when the glockenspiel comes in, you’ll be a goner for sure. The song that sealed the deal for me was “He Came to Meet Me”—a blushing country love song that makes Louisiana in July sound like a perfect place to find Prince Charming. The poetry will enchant you with lines like,
But there is no one who
Could wake my heart like this
Could break my world in two
I felt a suddenness
I’ve used the word “suddenness” regularly since last fall. The invention of a word that everyone can understand is what poetry is all about. Hem is the eyelet lacing to the perfect sundress. It is also a name of a band. Check them out and you might end up wanting to marry a cowboy or cowgirl. By the sounds of it, this is a very good thing.

2 comments:

  1. Betsy,

    My day was fast going down the crapper when I clicked on the old neighborhood here and read your nicely sewn words about Hem. I'd never heard of them before. I plucked the web a little, found some of their music, and the beast was soothed by that gal's "September morning of a voice." Lord have mercy...

    I appreciate posts like yours which lead me and us toward that known as beauty...I believe Jesus appreciates it too.

    Grace,
    John

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  2. I adore HEM! I was introduced to them on NPR one evening about 7 years ago. I was left breathless by her voice. Part of the charm was hearing story told of how Sally became the lead singer. I am so glad they are doing so well.

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