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Film Soundtracks - Released July 26, 2019 | Sing It Again Records

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Folk - Released April 26, 2010 | Wilderland Records

Singer and songwriter Anais Mitchell wrote the first draft of her “folk opera” Hadestown in 2006 with arranger Michael Chorney and director Ben T. Matchstick. After numerous drafts and performances, it is set in stone here. Hadestown retells the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in an America of hard times economically, socially, and politically. (There is a hint of the great Depression as a setting, but only a hint.) The cast includes Mitchell as Eurydice, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) as Orpheus, Ani DiFranco as Persephone, Greg Brown as Hades, Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) as Hermes, and the Haden Triplets -- Petra, Rachel, and Tanya) as the Fates. The large band includes Rob Burger, Jim Black, Josh Roseman, Nate Wooley, Todd Sickafoose, Marika Hughes, and Tanya Kalmanovich, to name a few. Hadestown's narrative, like the myth, steeps itself in ambiguities more than dead certainties. It moves past dualities of good and evil, life and death, hope and despair, while examining how commonly held beliefs about class reinforce poverty, how our desire for security is complicit in giving away our freedoms, and what real generosity in love actually is. Nowhere is this more evident than a Brown showcase number, “Why We Build the Wall.” (With the cast/chorus unintentionally answering Woody Guthrie's “This Land Is Your Land” anthem that would make him weep with grief.) There isn’t a weak track here, but high points include “Our Lady of the Underground,” sung by DiFranco; the fierce, yet tender “How Long” with Brown and DiFranco; both parts of Vernon’s “Epic,” Mitchell's and Vernon’s “Doubt Comes In,” and “I Raise My Cup to Him,” by Mitchell with DiFranco. Everything here is ambitious, nothing is excessive. The music ranges with classic American folk forms: country gospel, ragtime, blues, and early jazz, to approximations of rock, swing, and avant-garde -- all of it immediate, accessible, and inviting. Vernon’s vocal range -- husky baritone to sweet falsetto -- does justice to Orpheus. Only a singer like this could write a song beautiful enough to rescue his lover from the Underworld. Mitchell doesn’t make herself the star, but is nonetheless. She is convincing as Eurydice; her lyrics are poetic, and her melodies unpretentious, yet sophisticated thanks to Chorney’s arrangements. This 57-minute work goes by in a flash. Artfully conceived, articulated, and produced, Hadestown raises Mitchell's creative bar exponentially: there isn't anything else remotely like it. ~ Thom Jurek
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Folk - Released October 6, 2014 | Wilderland Records

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Folk - Released May 12, 2008 | Wilderland Records

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Folk - Released February 13, 2007 | Wilderland Records

Anaïs Mitchell is a bundle of contradictions. She has the earthiness of Shawn Colvin, the child-like bite of Joanna Newsom, and the urban jumpiness of Ani DiFranco. Her lyrics are sprinkled with rosy similes ("you roll like the rolling waters/you rise like the bright morning stars") while they simultaneously touch on everything from politics ("Hobo's Lullaby") to literature ("Namesake," a reference to Mitchell's namesake, Anais Nin) to mythology ("Hades & Persephone"). These elements, as disparate as they might seem, come together as nicely as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and from the sound of it Mitchell is poised to live up to her new record label, Righteous Babe, on The Brightness. This is a decidedly, ahem, brighter album than her previous effort, opening with a joyful summons ("Come out, come on, come outside"). The Brightness finds Mitchell with a newfound confidence. Not that she skirts pain or sadness on this outing; songs like "Of a Friday Night," a meditation on a departed poet, and "Shenandoah," a ballad about the loss of a friend, dip into isolation and loss. On Hymns for the Exiled, Mitchell might have approached these songs with a helping of self-consciousness and timidity, but on The Brightness they're approached with a kind of sympathetic energy that lifts them nearly to the level of exaltation. This is, granted, incredibly earnest music, but it's hard to hold that against Mitchell given how well she writes, how honest she is, and how far she's come in such a short period of time. ~ Margaret Reges
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Folk - Released June 14, 2019 | Brassland

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Folk - Released November 1, 2019 | Brassland

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Pop - Released October 22, 2019 | Brassland

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Christmas Music - To be released November 22, 2019 | Brassland

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Christmas Music - To be released December 6, 2019 | Brassland