Hungrytown is the new self-titled offering from celebrated musical duo Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson. Their deceptively simple compositions are rooted firmly in folk tradition; “in fact, Hungrytown’s music offers such an aura of Americana—in titles and tunes—it could be easily mistaken for traditional transcripts,” declares Lee Zimmerman of Performing Songwriter, and Rachel Nones of the Feminist Review raves “Hungrytown is American folk music at its zenith.” Independently produced and released, Hungrytown has been featured in daily rotation on XM satellite radio’s The Village, and entered the folk/bluegrass charts at number 7. It continues to receive extensive airplay throughout the U.S. and abroad. Rebecca and Ken have also been the on-air guests of legendary New York DJs Laura Cantrell and Vin Scelsa, and have made live appearances on Virgin Radio in London as well as on several BBC radio stations throughout the United Kingdom.
In Hungrytown, things are not always what they seem. In “Rose or the Briar,” a Carter-Family-style parlor ballad, a young man is drawn to a beautiful girl, but finds her lovely appearance offset by her prickly disposition. “One Morning in May,” conjuring ’60s-era folk rock, begins with a soldier marching confidently off to what he thinks will be an quick and easy victory, only to find himself mired in an endless and pointless war. The metaphorical heart of the album, “Hungrytown Road,” is a bluegrass waltz depicting a poor girl’s longing to discover her potential beyond the boundaries of her limited and difficult life. Indeed, each character in Hungrytown is a resident–the variety of musical styles reflect each of their personalities, trials and perils. Hungrytown is a place where many of us have been, and where many of us still live.
Rebecca is an award-winning songwriter whose two previous solo albums were released to much critical acclaim. She has been dubbed “a new folk classicist” by the Boston Herald and her stark ballad “O Lord,” written from the point of view of a death-row prisoner, has been covered by legendary Nashville songsmith David Olney, among others. Ken plays numerous instruments throughout the recording, as well as handling all production duties. “Anderson has a knack for crafting rich arrangements that don’t clutter things up,” writes Casey Rea of Seven Days, and his characteristic restraint is evident throughout the recording, lending graceful support to Rebecca’s plainspoken songs.
Hungrytown was recorded up and down the east coast, between live shows, by way of their mobile studio, Song Catcher. Recording spaces included a converted barn in New York’s Catskills, a double-wide in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and an old meeting house on a Vermont hillside. Rebecca and Ken tour the country in the notorious Blue Meanie, a remarkable, fuel efficient, solar-paneled and, well, blue camper van designed by Ken to serve as a fully-equipped, four-season home, office, studio and Conestoga wagon for their instruments and sound system–all in under 22 feet!
Together with folk-pop icons Pete and Maura Kennedy and Chris Thompson, Rebecca and Ken are also members of the Strangelings, a popular folk jam band. Their debut CD, Season of the Witch, showcases three songs penned by Rebecca. The Strangelings were featured acts of the 2008 Clearwater, Philadelphia and both 2007 and2008 Falcon Ridge Folk Festivals.