Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Talented Songwriters in 24 hours

In a period of just a little more than 24 hours the WUMB Studios, and airways, will be
visited by three talented songwriters, all of whom defy categorization, and all of whom
have new albums that have just been, or are about to be, released.

Anais Mitchell, the daughter of a former professor and novelist, was raised on a farm in
Vermont. Her writing has always been adventurous but never more so than on "Hadestown"
which has been described as a "folk opera" that sets the story of Orpheus in
Post-Apocalyptic Depression-era America. Developed as a stage presentation in Vermont,
Hadestown has played to rave reviews across the country and a "cast" recording features
artists like Ani Di Franco, Justin Vernon and Greg Brown. According to Anais, her new
album, "Young Man in American" was "inspired by American Manhood, British Ballads and my
father." Anais will be chatting with me at 2 PM on Thursday.

Anne Heaton is equally hard to pin down. A pianist with classical influences that mix
easily with Jazz, Folk and classic pop songs of the "Great American Songbook," Her
lyrics carry the flavors of every thing from Elizabethan Poetry to Free Verse. In
addition to her own creations, she accepts commission for what she calls "Custom Made
Songs" and, inspired by a peace conference in Costa Rica, she has set about telling the
stories of others under the banner of "Life is Alchemy." And that's not even mentioning
the time she spent playing in a Latin Band or singing in a gospel choir in Harlem. Her
new album "Honeycomb" should be available shortly and she's joining me "Live at Noon"
this Friday.

When Barbara Kessler first graced our studios nearly 20 years ago, she had just given up
driving an ice cream truck on Cape Cod to spend more time on her music. She was one of
the centerpieces of the burgeoning songwriter scene that coalesced at the time around the
late lamented Kendell Square Cafe in Cambridge. From 1992 to the year 2000 she recorded
4 full length album and had her performances anthologized on at least a dozen
collections. Her songs have also been featured on TV shows like NCIS, Felicity and even
All My Children! And if that were not enough one of her songs appeared on the sound track
of a PlayStation game. A decade ago, she stopped touring to devote more time to her young
family. Lucky for us, not only is she performing again but she has a new album called
"What You Keep." She'll be visiting with Jay Moberg at 4 this Friday Afternoon.

-Dave Palmater

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