Recorded at the 2013 Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Matt Watroba talks to Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer about their new collaboration, ‘Child Ballads.’ The pair came from across the country, Mitchell from Vermont and Hamer from Colorado, joining forces in Brooklyn and coming together over their fondness for traditional folk music from the British Isles. Their newest work was inspired in part by Martin Carthy and the CD was released in the UK ahead of its US dates, building its nest in Britain before letting it fly off into the greater world. Hear this in-depth interview and watch video performances shot in Toronto by Folk Alley and BeeHive Productions.
Anaïs Mitchell is a Vermont- and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter who recorded for Ani Difranco’s Righteous Babe Records before starting her own Wilderland label in 2012. Among her recorded work are four full-length albums, including 2010′s well-reviewed Hadestown” a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth” and 2012′s Young Man in America, which was described by the UK’s Independent as ‘an epic tale of American becoming.’ Mitchell has headlined solo and band performances worldwide as well as supporting tours for artists like Bon Iver, Ani Difranco, and the Low Anthem (all of whom appear as guest singers on Hadestown).
Jefferson Hamer began his musical career writing protest songs and brushing up on his guitar chops while touring across the vast expanses of the American West. Raised in New England, then settling in the Rocky Mountains, he recorded his first album with regional luminaries such as bassist Ben Kaufmann (YMSB), singer KC Groves (Uncle Earl), and slide guitarist Sally Van Meter. After a three-year stint with country-rock mainstay Great American Taxi, he relocated to New York City and became immersed in the city’s flourishing folk and roots music scene. In 2013 he released his first album of traditional music, The Murphy Beds, a meticulous, self-produced collaboration with Dublin-born musician Eamon O’Leary, revisiting the mystical Irish trad. sounds of the 1970s.