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There’s music you hear and there’s music you see, the best kind achieves both. ISMAY creates intimate folk/Americana songs that transport you straight to the land where they were  written - deeply rooted in the heart of Sonoma Mountain. Melding the experience of taming wild horses, escaping wildfires, and birthing lambs with warm guitars and delicately graceful vocals, it is an original soundscape that is a delight to the ears as well as the imagination.


Driven by singer/songwriter Avery Hellman, ISMAY released their debut full length album Songs Of Sonoma Mountain in 2020, to widespread acclaim. It was named one of the 10 best Albums in the Bay Area and garnered features in American Songwriter, No Depression, Sonoma Magazine, and more. Blending field recordings and intricate melodies with live, guitar-based inventive composition, it is a proper introduction to the old-world charm of ISMAY. 

In March of 2023, Ismay was featured as one of a select group of artists from around the world participating in the Apple TV+ Show My Kind of Country, produced by Kacey Musgraves and Reese Witherspoon.


Hellman’s musical talent is no surprise, growing up backstage at their grandfather’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, where they were inspired early on by artists such as Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Hazel Dickens. Since then, ISMAY has appeared throughout the West Coast at music festivals such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festival, The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, The Lantern Tour, and at renowned venues such as the Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, the Golden State Theater, and the Mystic Theater. They have opened for acclaimed artists including Steve Earle, Watchhouse (fka Mandolin Orange), Justin Townes Earle, Robert Earl Keen, John Doe, and Chuck Prophet. 

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New Single


out May 2nd


The first original music release from ISMAY in three years was Produced by Andrew Marlin (of Watchhouse/Mandolin Orange) and recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville NC.

"Stranger in the Barn" takes listeners on a journey with ISMAY down to their family barn--a place of familiarity and comfort where they encounter a stranger. The story is based on a real experience ISMAY had at their family's ranch, but the song is an allegorical journey into the nature of encountering the unknown with compassion and empathy. In ISMAY's own words, "The story is about taking down our walls, and rather than meeting the unknown with contempt and anger, instead offering curiosity."

ISMAY's Debut Full-length Record:



"An enchanting composition that reflects the storybook wistfulness of Aldous Harding and Weyes Blood. ISMAY helps usher in an era of mystical folk that is both incisive and playful and somewhat mysterious."

-- Glide Magazine

"Every song weaved around the sights, sounds, and feel of the surrounding land and guided gently by ISMAY's meticulous guitar and delicately captivating vocals."
-American Songwriter

Years spent working and living on the family ranch informs ISMAY's debut full-length record, Songs of Sonoma Mountain. This album was recorded in a 100-year-old sheep barn at the ranch, seeking to immerse the listener in the world of Sonoma Mountain, and to evoke the sense that we aren’t as separate from nature as we may think. Co-produced by Robert Cheek (Engineer: Band of Horses, Chelsea Wolfe) and Avery Hellman, Songs of Sonoma Mountain features live vulnerable performances that bring out the character of the space. These songs tell stories from the perspective of the mountain, the animals upon it, and Ismay themself. The record interweaves field recordings with intricate songwriting and experimental production.

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