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Country - Released January 17, 2020 | Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2013 | New Rounder

This World Oft Can Be is the first Rounder release, and second full-length album, from the Boston-based Della Mae. Recorded at the old Johnny Cash studio near Nashville, the session was produced by bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton and mixed by indie rock engineer Paul Q. Kolderie. This is traditional American music, not just a bluegrass session. It's a combination of tradition and eclecticism, which has become the signature sound for the all-female band who refuse to be pigeonholed. The 12 songs, all originals, are mainly live-in-the-studio first takes, with very little overdubbing except for some of the harmony parts and solos. That first-take feel shines throughout the session, especially on the more overtly old-timey tracks "Empire," "Letter from Down the Road," and the title cut. The remaining tracks rework modern roots music with an added edge and singer/songwriter sensibilities. © Al Campbell /TiVo
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Country - Released March 1, 2019 | Rounder

Della Mae spent much of the back half the 2010s on hiatus, but their 2019 comeback EP The Butcher Shoppe finds the quartet re-introducing themselves with gusto. The Butcher Shoppe opens with the lively "Bourbon Hound," an original written by Celia Woodsmith that starts the EP off at a fast clip that's sustained by the uproarious "No-See-Um-Stomp," the two numbers emphasizing the bluegrass group's dexterous interplay. Perhaps the tempo slows a bit for a cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons," but even that slow blues swings with a swagger that emphasizes how Della Mae is back with a vigor. That impression is buttressed by how the originals are all uptempo and muscular, and how the two covers -- the second being a bold interpretation of the Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post" -- are delivered with an assurance that telegraphs that Della Mae have no doubt they can stamp these familiar tunes with their own personality. Which they do, creating cover versions that wind up illuminating the originals, since they're both connected by imagination and precision, a combination that is exhilarating throughout The Butcher Shoppe. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released October 18, 2011 | Della Mae

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Country - Released January 17, 2020 | Rounder

Following an extended hiatus, Della Mae returned in 2019 with the muscular EP The Butcher Shoppe, which turned out was a mere appetizer for Headlight. On this 2020 full-length album, Celia Woodsmith, Kimber Ludiker, and Jenni Lyn Gardner decided to charge into musical territory previously unexplored by the group. With the assistance of producer Dan Knobler -- a veteran of records by Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence, and Lake Street Dive -- Della Mae adds considerable aural texture to their sound, weaving in keyboards, electric guitar, organ, and drums, not to mention guest harmonies from the McCrary Sisters on three songs. The expanded sonic palette allows Della Mae to dig into some genres they only nodded at in the past -- "I Like It When You're Home" has a zydeco flair, "First Song Dancer" is a bawdy blues -- and the band's enthusiasm for playing with new rhythms and textures is palpable, even infectious. Still, the heart of Headlight lies in the social activism and empowerment that has been at the center of Della Mae's music since their first record. Woodsmith wrote its title track after watching Dr. Christina Blasey Ford testify during the Senate confirmation for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an event that also echoes through the mellow rallying cry "It's About Time." The songs have a welcome sense of urgency but they're paired with the slow, swaying "Working" and "The Long Game," where the members of Della Mae acknowledge how they're starting to feel the weight of their years, a sensation they choose to embrace rather than ignore. This calm acceptance of the passing of time helps ground Headlight, giving the songs of protest resonance and lending joy to the lighter moments, helping to turn it into a proud and quietly defiant statement of middle-aged purpose. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released January 10, 2020 | Rounder

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Country - Released December 6, 2019 | Rounder

Following an extended hiatus, Della Mae returned in 2019 with the muscular EP The Butcher Shoppe, which turned out was a mere appetizer for Headlight. On this 2020 full-length album, Celia Woodsmith, Kimber Ludiker, and Jenni Lyn Gardner decided to charge into musical territory previously unexplored by the group. With the assistance of producer Dan Knobler -- a veteran of records by Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence, and Lake Street Dive -- Della Mae adds considerable aural texture to their sound, weaving in keyboards, electric guitar, organ, and drums, not to mention guest harmonies from the McCrary Sisters on three songs. The expanded sonic palette allows Della Mae to dig into some genres they only nodded at in the past -- "I Like It When You're Home" has a zydeco flair, "First Song Dancer" is a bawdy blues -- and the band's enthusiasm for playing with new rhythms and textures is palpable, even infectious. Still, the heart of Headlight lies in the social activism and empowerment that has been at the center of Della Mae's music since their first record. Woodsmith wrote its title track after watching Dr. Christina Blasey Ford testify during the Senate confirmation for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an event that also echoes through the mellow rallying cry "It's About Time." The songs have a welcome sense of urgency but they're paired with the slow, swaying "Working" and "The Long Game," where the members of Della Mae acknowledge how they're starting to feel the weight of their years, a sensation they choose to embrace rather than ignore. This calm acceptance of the passing of time helps ground Headlight, giving the songs of protest resonance and lending joy to the lighter moments, helping to turn it into a proud and quietly defiant statement of middle-aged purpose. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released November 8, 2019 | Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

The Boston-based modern bluegrass quartet Della Mae received a Grammy nomination for their Rounder debut, 2013's This World Oft Can Be, their second album overall. The Del McCoury Band won it, but the nomination showed the size of the league that Della Mae plays in. On this self-titled effort, they enlist veteran producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Melissa Etheridge). Musically, they didn't need to do anything radically different -- and they don't, but there is a marked difference here. It can be attributed to the confidence that comes from playing together for six years. As a result, the songwriting and arranging have grown immensely. Adding Mark Schatz's upright bass on this date adds not only depth, but weight and emotional heft to these songs. On "Rude Awakening," his riff-like pulse adds a near rock & roll heaviness to the meld of country gospel, blues, and bluegrass. On "Can't Go Back," he plays arco, offering a harmonic and textural counterpart to Kimber Ludiker's fiddle and Jenni Lyn Gardner's chunky mandolin. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Celia Woodsmith and lead guitarist/banjoist Courtney Hartman (who also sings harmony and takes the mike on the spooky "Long Shadow") wrote these two songs (and three others) together. They are a dynamite team, intuitively aware of how to balance the group's sense of melodic adventure with their instrumental prowess and startling collective singing. They also co-authored the swinging, bluesy "Shambles" and the straight-up bluegrass number "Take One Day." There are three covers on the set as well, among them a tender, wrenching version of the Low Anthem's "To Ohio" and a world-weary version of the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations" with great slide guitar work from Hartman. The closing number, "High Away Gone," though brief, contains some real experimentation with sound and texture -- the application of reverb, a skeletal banjo, droning musical saw (courtesy of Elephant Revival's Bonnie Paine), layered harmony vocals, and Woodsmith singing both the call-and-response parts -- and it's chilling. On this album, Della Mae expand their roots-and-groove quotient, and extend the margins in their writing without sacrificing either the virtuosity and sparkle in their performance or the root persona in their sound. © Thom Jurek /TiVo