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Ismay’s songwriting connects deeply to the land. Melding the experience of taming wild horses, escaping wildfires, and birthing lambs with the mystical soundscape that nature inspires, Ismay has sharpened their musical craft over the last decade while living and working on their family ranch in Northern California. With Songs of Sonoma Mountain, their debut full length album recorded in the family barn and released in 2020, Ismay realized a contemplative vision blending field recordings and intricate melodies with live, inventive composition. In the wake of Songs of Sonoma Mountain, Ismay has developed the sound further, letting their singular melodies breathe, interact, and come to fruition through a full band groove with psychedelic color in upcoming releases. Ismay represents the collaborative work driven by singer-songwriter Avery Hellman, who grew 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.

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Debut Full-length Record

SONGS OF SONOMA MOUNTAIN out

 

"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

Five 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 to examine gender identity, loss, and a search for belonging. The record interweaves field recordings with intricate songwriting and experimental production. Ismay has also compiled a series of narrative documentary stories about Sonoma Mountain to accompany the record, as a podcast entitled Where the World Begins which premiered in 2020.

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