The Oh Hellos
Saturday, July 26, 2014
In December 2012 I fell in love. I fell in love with the music of a band called The Oh Hellos. Maggie and Tyler Heath, the core of the band, are sibling composers whose talents and voices have acted as magnets, drawing a group in to join them to craft a extraordinary sound.
They know when to feature a solo voice or sing in unison to highlight their lyrics. They know when rhythm needs to drive a song and its message. They know when to shift to a poignant ballad with layering resplendent harmonies. They know when to let the banjo, accordion, guitar, viola, drums, cello and hand claps make you dance. But most of all they give you plenty of “ohs” and “ahs” for when the feeling of the music moves you to the core and singing the words just can’t do it justice.
The Oh Hellos’ first full-length album, Through the Deep, Dark Valley, is a concept album, produced (intentionally) independently. And when I discovered it, I followed the band’s directions and listened to it “in its entirety, in chronological order, in one sitting,” per the band’s intention. And then I kept listening….. for 5 straight hours.
When The Oh Hellos came to a small room in Boston, they were fantastic: live, energetic, passionate and sincere. They seemed truly honored about sharing their music with their fellow band-mates and us, the audience. As soon as that night ended, I knew that I needed to see them live again. Since the band is based in Austin, they do not often tour the east coast, but I thought maybe they would come back for something special- something like an invitation to the Newport Folk Festival, because they perfectly capture the collaborative spirit and musical caliber of Newport.
When I wrote NFF, begging them to invite The Oh Hellos to the festival, they were already one step ahead of me. The festival responded to let me know that the invitation had already been sent and offered me the opportunity and incredible honor of introducing this band to you Folks.
Newport, I hope you are ready to be inspired; enjoy falling in love with The Oh Hellos.
– Alissa Brandon