February-March Newsletter ~ Announcing the Release of "White Swan"

Announcing the Release of Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band’s new 2013 album

“White Swan”

“Glaze and company have done a wonderful job of charming us in the past but now it seems like her recent vintage live set was to clear the palette before the next stage was set. A bluegrass crew that could easily stand toe to toe with Union Station, this crew has elected to widen the lens and take newgrass into the wide open mixing in Celtic, folk, roots, Americana and a full range of indigenous sounds that blend into a wonderful down home, home grown stew. Boldly powering their way down their own new cut road, if you haven’t had the chance to enjoy the Glaze sound yet, this is the place to jump in to be totally blown away. This is the perfect record for anyone that’s ever wondered what the big deal about roots/Americana is to find out what’s what.”   Chris Spector for Midwest Record


“Exceptional musicianship… stunning, timeless ballads… like a clear mountain stream is the pure, clear voice of Susie Glaze…this is one gorgeous album – a ‘must discover.'” 

“I’ve said it before, ‘new is easy different is hard’ – many artists achieve the former, some the latter, few manage both. Well here’s one that falls into the ‘achieved both’ category. Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band have with ‘White Swan’ blended unadulterated Americana folk from a mix of influences – poetic narrative, a soupcon of bluegrass, a touch of mountain-muse and pure invention to create a folk-fusion of that’s both steeped in tradition and fresh as the sunrise…’White Swan’ blends the inspiration of tradition with the charisma of contemporary – and does it faultlessly.”
Tim Carroll, FolkWords (www.folkwords.com – UK)

“Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band continue to hone and refine their brand of rootsy Americana on their very appealing new album, White Swan. Alison Krauss and Union Station remain the most obvious reference point for this troupe which comprises Glaze on lead vocals, guitars and mountain dulcimer; Rob Carlson on guitar; Steve Rankin on mandolin and bouzouki; Mark Indicator on fiddle; and Fred Sanders on bass. But with White Swan, the band have broadened their bluegrass sound to encompass folky Celtic elements, and the results stand up well alongside the best of AKUS.
The playing throughout is supple and evocative and the choice of material is stellar, combining original (mostly penned by Carlson), traditional material and well-chosen covers. The Irish tune “Si Bheag, Si Mhor” ushers in a fine opening take on James Taylor’s “Mill Worker”; Glaze channels Joan Baez for a gripping “Fair Ellender”; Rankin takes a low-key lead on a cover of Steve Earle’s “Me and the Eagle”; and a spare, evocative reading of “The Soldier” by Jean Ritchie (about whom Glaze composed the acclaimed theatre show “Singing the Moon Up: The Voice of Jean Ritchie”) brings the album to an elegant end. The best tracks, however, are two stunning songs from the pen of Ernest Troost: the murder ballad “Evangeline”—sung from the perspective of the now-remorseful culprit—and the exceptional “Harlan County Boys” which economically traces a family history from the early 1900s to the present day. Glaze inhabits these songs with absolute conviction and subtle dramatic flair, making them the highlights of an altogether beguiling record.”
Alex Ramon, Pop Matters, London  http://www.popmatters.com/
“The net has been cast wide,” says Susie Glaze of Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band, referring to the range of influences on their latest collaboration, “White Swan.” The West Coast quintet’s eleven-track project reflects a love for bluegrass, folk and Celtic music, with five originals written by various configurations of the band, plus well-picked covers by the likes of masters, such as Steve Earle (“Me And The Eagle”) and James Taylor (“Mill Worker”).
These artists have a performance chemistry that works, with tight arrangements of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, and Glaze’s authentic Appalachian voice – by way of Southern California – is icing on their musical confection. The Ernest Troost song, “Evangeline,” allows her an opportunity to show more ache and tenderness in her confident holler style, and she sings in downright shades of Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention, Fotheringay) on the dulcimer-and-fiddle traditional English/Irish folk ballad “Fair Ellender.”
Glaze has a hand in penning “The Dark Eileen,” with its flowery recitation start, and her softer-side delivery glides over the Emerald Isle-inspired hills and valleys of its melody. The title track is where the band lives up to its high-lonesome moniker, and Jean Ritchie’s “The Soldier” closes out the set with a haunting Irish drone. SGTHB give listeners a fresh take on tradition.”   
Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville
“If Susie Glaze were a newscaster, this crazy world would be a lot easier to take. On grisly murder ballads and carefree romps alike, the Tennesse native sings smooth and sweet, her voice like buttermilk pie. Having appeared on Broadway, Glaze has a knack for theatrics, and that serves her well on “Fair Ellender”, “Evangeline” and “The Dark Eileen”, the three of this album’s darker narrative tunes. Relief comes in the form of “April Fools”, a bubbly Appalachian bossa nova love song with giddiness to spare. Wherever Glaze goes, her band is right there with her, providig impeccable acoustic instrumentation and sometimes handling lead vocals. The presentation is as seamless as the songs are engaging.” 
M Magazine for Musicians
“White Swan,” Susie Glaze’s fifth release, is truly her most eclectic and collaborative album in over ten years of her critically-acclaimed career as a bluegrass/folk recording artist.  With this CD her Hilonesome Band has veered into the realms of new Celtic-inspired folk songs that harken back to the ballad form from the pen of lead guitarist Rob Carlson, as well as re-interpreted classic cover songs from such diverse sources as James Taylor, Steve Earle and Jean Ritchie.  Also featured are two songs from Los Angeles singer-songwriter and Kerrville New Folk Winner Ernest Troost. Arrangements and new interpretations of songs you think you knew are here for re-discovery from this gifted acoustic quintet in a lush and orchestral folk setting.


Susie states about this album:  “The fine players of the Hilonesome Band and I have created these tracks together and on this album you hear their voices alongside my own.  We’ve come a long way from the early years of our band’s inception.  We reached for the sounds of bluegrass because it was the music we loved ~ we were drawn to the stories, the romance, the warnings, the humor and the tragedies.  Now we have found our sound branching out with a natural evolution ~ it came with exploring the older stories and longing for more complex music.  Rob has been inspired to capture the darkness and mysteriously tragic elements of balladry from Ireland, England and Scotland. With the integration of real historical elements along with new and deeper complexity in music, our sound has made a most interestingly subtle shift:  we’ve cast a wider net to discover a sound unlike anything we’ve done before.  What is here is a true melting pot of influences that move us, from bluegrass to country to Celtic to Appalachia, and we’ve found our true home in this, our new, unique sound.”


The eclectic range takes the listener from bluegrass (“Little Rabbit”) to pensive country (“Evangeline”) to Bossa Nova (“April Fools”) to Celtic-inspired torch song (“Dark Eileen”).  The album begins with a newly-interpreted “Mill Worker,” James Taylor’s classic, introduced by Mark Indictor’s beautiful fiddle on the traditional “Si Bheag, Si Mhor.”  Indictor’s fiddle is featured again on Carlson’s new take on the old “Polly Vonn” story, this time as the title track “White Swan.”  Jean Ritchie’s little-known but powerful “The Soldier” sends a message about the costs of war on the soul.

The innovation of this formerly-bluegrass band is taking them to a distinctly folk-driven Americana music, the sounds that came to America with the first immigrants:  Appalachia, old-English balladry, Irish barn-burner fiddle music (the outro of “White Swan” was penned in the studio) and tender stories of family and legacy (“Harlan County Boys”).

One great album bonus is the inclusion of a previously-recorded live onstage sound track of the classic Childe ballad, “Fair Ellender,” arranged by Jean Ritchie, with Susie accompanied by Ritchie sons Peter and Jon Pickow and famed East coast fiddler, Kenny Kosek.  At this concert, the Hilonesome Band will re-interpret “Fair Ellender” in their own way with bouzouki, guitar, fiddle and bowed bass.


The album is now released and available for purchase on CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon.


Source: The Susie Glaze New Folk Ensemble Blog