'I CALLED YOU UP'
"Working with producer Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse, the song has that same effortless magic as early Lucinda Williams or Mary Lou Lord; jangling 90’s alt-country with the kind of modern polish that have made recent records from Janet Simpson and Waxahatchee so captivating." - Holler Country
STRANGER IN THE BARN
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."
SONGS OF SONOMA MOUNTAIN named one of
"The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2020" by KQED Arts
"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."
"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
"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."
Off Shelf Magazine Editor's Top 10 Records of 2020 alongside Death Valley Girls, Guided by Voices and more
ISMAY featured in the 2020 Fall Print Edition of
Going Green Edition following release of debut LP
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 will be 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.
ISMAY in Sonoma Magazine Spring 2021 Print Edition
KQED Arts -- 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2020
No Depression Fall 2020 Print Edition, Going Green Issue--"Finding their Place"
10 Acts Not to Miss at Hardly Strictly 2019
Ismay Delivers Enchanting & Incisive Folk Beauty “100 Mile View From Virginia City”
Ismay Draws Inspiration from Nature on New Song "Oh Precious Light" (premiere)
Ismay Announces 'Songs From A River' EP and Premieres the Track "River Of Light"