Corner House (Chenango Sessions)
Tue 12 May
Abiding by a love for adventure, Corner House finds purpose and solace in the beauty of earth and music. Clinging whole heartedly to studied traditions, the Boston-based band writes and arranges music liberally comprised of Irish, Scottish, Appalachian Stringband, and Bluegrass influences. — www.cornerhouseband.com
The singular roots music scene of Boston, Massachusetts, has long been a destination for musicians seeking level footing to build upon. On Winter eves most suited for warm tea and blankets, Ethan Hawkins (guitar), Louise Bichan (fiddle), and Ethan Setiawan (mandolin), found a musical home in one another. In the autumn of 2017, Corner House debuted at FreshGrass Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts, before recording an EP and touring Scotland the following year. Returning from overseas, the three found the illustrious cellist, Casey Murray, living just down the street and invited the contra-dance influenced player to join the fold.
Smart Folks (released September 13, 2019) is the first EP from Corner House that includes Casey Murray on cello and clawhammer banjo, and the second overall from the group. With four originals from the group and two contemporary Irish numbers, the EP is a diverse mix of sounds and textures, songs and tunes. The first cut, a collection of Irish slip jigs (“Farewell to Whaley Range” and “Soggy’s Slip Jig”) combines swirling melody and counterpoint. Following that is one of two Hawkins-penned tunes on the recording. “Happy Now” is a musing on family and depression, brought to life by the band. The title track, “Smart Folks”, penned by Setiawan, works with odd phrase lengths and a singing melody to create a unique profile, characteristic to his writing. The album closes with a banjo tune by Murray; “Through the Snow-Covered Pines” evokes the Appalachian stringband side of the band, finishing the album on an uplifting note.
The tunes and songs that make up Smart Folks came to be over a period of several months, before being committed to recordings in March 2019. After the writing process, the whole band sits down with the music, and every voice is vital to the final product. This collection of tunes is a bright introduction to Corner House, with the promise of much more to come.
“Corner House’s music is thoughtful and inspired…points straight in the direction of where roots music is headed, and it’s a great and bright destination.” – Bruce Molsky
“These fine musicians and lovely people think about each note they make and it comes together in something bigger. Simply beautiful music.” – Maeve Gilchrist
“…expertly played instruments and beautifully arranged vocal harmonies. Lilting, high flying and leaving a flutter in your chest.” – Red Line Roots
“It’s warm, beautiful, and earthly, and feels like it comes straight from the soul.” – Divide and Conquer
“It’s brilliant!” Alex Cumming, WMFO Radio
“minimalist spooked..musically shape-shifting” Folking.com
The Chenango Sessions, hosted by Andru Bemis, is a weekly, one-hour, nationally syndicated radio program which features world-class musicians playing in intimate spaces—living rooms, galleries, and listening rooms—for small, enthusiastic audiences, mostly around Binghamton, New York. Audiences and artists are encouraged to interact, and the spirit of the live show is preserved in the radio program and recordings. If you would like to attend a session, contact Andru.