Anna Tivel reaches for that thread of understanding with her music, that moment of recognition, of shared experience. There are thousands of miles on her touring odometer and each town is a tangled web of heartache and small reasons to believe. She gravitates toward the quiet stories of ordinary life. A homeless veteran sitting on a bench to watch the construction of a luxury hotel. A woman wondering about the life of the daughter she had to give up for adoption. Someone changing shape, someone falling in love, someone all alone.
“Tivel’s characters are both common and unforgettable,” Ann Powers of NPR writes, “She possesses a genuine poet's sense that words matter more than persona, or a showy performance. Her images linger, and become populated with the energy of the real.”
With three full-length albums out on Portland’s well-loved Fluff & Gravy Records and a fourth due out this April, Tivel continues to touch on a common human thread. Her latest release, ‘Small Believer’ was heralded by NPR as an “album that repeatedly achieves this exquisite balance of the quotidian and the sublime.” Her newest album ‘The Question’ was recorded mostly live at Hive studio in Eau Claire, WI, engineered by the esteemed Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens) and produced by drummer and multi-instrumentalist Shane Leonard.
Dietrich Strause’s songs are a mix of timeless melody, literate lyricism, and a “virtuosic command of imagery.” (The Artery, WBUR) In less than one year Strause released two albums — How Cruel That Hunger Binds and Dietrich Strause & The Blue Ribbons. His blend of midcentury modern pop and atomic-age folk has drawn comparisons to M. Ward and a young Paul Simon and has garnered him invitations to support folk luminaries such as Sarah Jarosz and Anais Mitchell, to indie pop acts like Darlingside and Lake Street Dive.