by Dan Ferguson
Righteous Babe Records
On her latest release, Vermont-based songwriter and singer Anais Mitchell turns to Greek mythology and in particular, the poet Orpheus, to deliver an ambitious and striking creation called Hadestown. Written by Mitchell, she brings the story up to the Depression era. Dubbed a folk opera, Hadestown debuted in 2006 and played to audiences throughout New England. For the recorded version, Mitchell, in the role of Eurydice, is joined by a who's who of talents including Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, Hen Knox Miller (Low Anthem), and the Haden Triplets. Visit www.anaismitchell.com.
Anais Mitchell appears at 8 pm at Speakeasy at Local 121 in Providence on Wednesday, April 14.
Lightning Rod Records
First impressions go a long way. Roots music cognoscenti out there who double as pals of mine can't speak highly enough about singer/songwriter Joe Pug. Hailing from the Windy City, The Messenger is Pug's debut full-length and it's geared to be his breakout release. Only in his mid-20s, Pug's a poet first and foremost and there's little chaff to be found in any of his songs. Set to a backdrop of folk and country, The Messenger sees Pug applies his beyond-his-years baritone to 10 keepers that deliver the goods in spades. Visit www.joepugmusic.com.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 - 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)