Announcing Ismay's debut full-length record, Songs of Sonoma Mountain
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, to be released as a podcast entitled Where the World Begins in early 2020.
Songs from a River | EP 2018
"There's an innocence and mysticism to the tune as well as how the artist delivers it. In her music, Ismay is intent on emanating the tale of her coming into her own as a singer-songwriter through her revitalized passion for the natural world. She does so with an accomplished poise and grace without losing a strand of sincerity."
- Pop Matters
"With an ear for an old-time aesthetic and artistry of indie folk, Ismay blends inventive songwriting, ethereal vocals, and dynamic fingerpicking on her new EP, 'Songs From A River'."
- No Depression
The creation of Ismay’s debut EP began with a river. After dropping out of college, Ismay (Avery Hellman) wandered from California to New Mexico and up through the Pacific Northwest. During this time she sought out a place of natural significance through which to explore her passion for the arts and the environment. Eventually she found herself on the banks of the Klamath River in far Northern California. It was in this country that Ismay became entranced by the intricate cultural landscape of the Klamath. In the following two years, she embarked on a horseback trip to document the river through film, photography and audio recordings. In addition, she wrote and recorded five original songs, both along the Klamath with an old cassette tape machine and in a studio above the Pacific Ocean.
Ismay worked with producer Tim Bluhm (Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Irion, Nicki Bluhm) and engineer Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, Chelsea Wolfe) at Panoramic Studios in Stinson Beach, CA. The field recordings were produced by Eric Drew Feldman (Polyphonic Spree, PJ Harvey), and string arrangements in Nashville with Brad Jones at Alex the Great Recording (Justin Townes Earle, Nancy Griffith, Yo La Tengo).
Weaving natural symbolism into this coming-of-age story, Ismay’s EP, Songs from a River, explores the way in which a connection to place shapes and parallels songwriting and recording.
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Read about our debut EP announcement here at NO DEPRESSION: