Bootleg Theater Presents
Henry Jamison/Gracie and Rachel
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
This event is 21 and over
If you take a look through his family tree, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Henry Jamison was born to write songs. Of course there's his father, the classical composer, and his mother, the English professor, who both inspired and encouraged him directly, but if you continue tracing Jamison's lineage back even further, some interesting names start to turn up. Go back to the 1800's, for example, and you'll find "Battle Cry of Freedom" author George Frederick Root, the most popular songwriter of the Civil War era. Travel even further back in time, to 14th century England to be exact, and you'll find the poet John Gower, known to be a friend to both Chuacer and Richard II.
With his stunning debut album, 'The Wilds,' Jamison is ready to claim his place as the latest in a long line of remarkable storytellers. Blending delicate acoustic guitar and banjo with programmed percussion loops and synthesizers, the Vermont songwriter grapples with the jarring dissonances of contemporary life in his music as he struggles to reconcile the clashes between our inner and outer selves, the natural world and our fabricated society. Jamison is a solitary artist, writing, recording, and arranging everything himself on the album including the gorgeous string parts, and he pens his lyrics with cinematic precision, conjuring vivid scenes and fully realized characters wrestling with existential crises and modern malaise. His dazzling way with words and keen ear for memorable hooks at once calls to mind the baroque pop of Sufjan Stevens and the unflinching emotional honesty of Frightened Rabbit, but the delivery is uniquely his own, understated yet devastating. Jamison is a solitary artist who writes, records, and arranges everything himself, including all of the album's gorgeous string arrangements, and 'The Wilds' is a pure reflection of the world through his eyes.
Gracie and Rachel
Gracie and Rachel are a study in duality: light and dark, classical training with a pop sensibility, Californians in New York. Their music pits anxiety and tension against an almost serene self-assurance. The result is a compelling juxtaposition of Gracie’s piano and lead vocals and Rachel’s violin and voice, augmented with stark percussion.
Like their stylized color palette of black and white, their instrumentation appears simple and spare at first glance, but there’s a powerful prism effect at work that brings us back to the concept of duality: their songs are intimate and expansive, questioning and confident. The nine orchestral-pop songs on 'Gracie and Rachel' (out June 23) tell a story that’s rooted in the truth —their truth — but retain an enigmatic air that makes them relatable to anyone who has ever found their heart racing with doubt and pushed forward regardless.
“There’s a terrific tension in the sound, an underpinning of mystery set against a baroque, but modern, pop foreground.” –Bob Boilen/NPR Music
Anna Ash's sophomore record, Floodlights, is a test of tension. Tension between her sun-baked concrete present in Los Angeles, and the faint and frozen nostalgia of her northern Michigan past. Nights spent waitressing and days in the studio — love spent lonely, in a city choked with people. A lifestyle that destroys your life, and that freakish resilience that keeps you breathing. Her voice holds a rare type of hesitation, careful not to reveal too much of itself too soon, while her lyrics urgently, precisely, pleadingly, throw it all on the table, bare, under a blazing white cold light.
It’s major keys though — it’s amp buzz, tape warmth, mid-tempo back-beats — it’s kind of rock and roll, or country, or maybe even folk. Tracked live at a friend's studio in Northfield, Minnesota, and mixed with Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks, Cass McCombs) in Los Angeles, Floodlights features Joe Dart on bass (Vulfpeck), Julian Allen (Borns) on drums, James Cornelison and Brett Farkas (Aimee Mann, Lord Huron) on guitar, and Joey Dosik (Mocky, Nikka Costa) and Theo Katzman (Vulfpeck) on additional vocals, piano, and guitar.
The tape crackles under Ash's sometimes soaring, sometimes aching soprano. You can hear her fingernails against her Silvertone as the band settles into the first track. There’s no click track, no auto-tune, no string section – just a band in a room playing songs. It’s raw, simple, heartbreaking, and startlingly honest.
It’s a record seriously indebted to Ash’s childhood spent listening to Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, filtered through the lens of indie-folk contemporaries like Feist and Sharon Van Etten. Each tune's a carefully considered gift to the listener, at once spacious and tight, forgiving and fraught. It all comes to reflect Ash's life, a mirror to the sadness and joy of growing up in our strange present.
“These Holy Days, the first full-length album by Anna Ash, is an audacious vehicle for a spine-shivering voice that’s as much rooted in Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald as it is in Annie Clark and Sharon Van Etten...”