About this Event
Watkins Family Hour
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Returning to the studio as Watkins Family Hour, Sean and Sara Watkins consider brother sister a duo-centric record—yet one that feels bigger than just two people. With Sean primarily on guitar and Sara on fiddle, and with both of them sharing vocals, the siblings enlisted producer Mike Viola (Jenny Lewis, Mandy Moore, J.S. Ondara) and mixer-engineer Clay Blair to harness the energy and honesty of their live sound.
“From the beginning, our goal was to work on these songs to be as strong as they could be, just the two of us,” Sara explains. “And with a few exceptions on the record, that’s really how things were. It was a tight little group of us, working dense days where we could squeeze them in.”
Sean (who is four years older than Sara) adds, “Because of the limited amount of time we had collectively to spend in the studio, there was a general sense of urgency, which I think the three of us (Sara, Mike and I) kinda strive for on these days. We didn’t have that much time and that made it fun and exciting. It was just us, in one room, facing each other with some really great mics, often playing and singing at the same time, trying to capture what Sara and I do in a real way.”
For the first time, the Los Angeles-based siblings carved out time to write with each other, often during the naptime of Sara’s toddler. They took early versions of the new songs to Viola, who instinctively rearranged some of the song structures in an effort to draw attention to interesting lyrics or surprising arrangements.
“Going into this record, we wanted to focus on the duo-centric thing, but this was a chance to lean into the group aspect, and have some of the people that have been a part of the Family Hour but weren't on the first record that we made years ago," Sean says.
However, brother sister remains exactly that—the result of a brother and sister creating music.
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The debut album from singer/songwriter Courtney Hartman, Ready Reckoner opens with the understated yet undeniable glory of “Hollow,” a track whose title traces back to her recent fascination with the concept of resonance. “The definition is perfect: ‘a resounding from the sides of a hollow instrument of music; a sound returned,’” says Hartman, who wrote “Hollow” while walking the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage route across Spain. “This whole record comes from a hollowing-out within myself—from being quiet and learning to listen again, allowing space for a resonance.”
With Ready Reckoner, Hartman ultimately provides the listener with a conduit for self-exploration—a factor that fulfills one of her greatest hopes in sharing the album with the world. “If you listen to any of these songs and step away feeling lifted or carried to a different place, that is a real and true honor,” she says. Indeed, for Hartman herself, the process of creating Ready Reckoner helped bring about a newfound devotion to deep listening, as revealed in the truly singular sound and sensibilities of the album. “Slowly I am allowing myself to be completely who I am, with whatever sounds and stories that stirs up,” she says. “If I can claim all those things as my own—without shame or fear—then maybe it will begin to take away any need to be someone else.”
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Swallow Hill Music at First Baptist Church, 1373 Grant St., Denver, United States
USD 30.00 to USD 32.00