Monday, April 7, 2014

Emma Hill House Concert


Let me first say this about Emma Hill. She was born and raised in Sleetmute, Alaska, a village of 100 people, give or take, on the salmon-fed upper Kuskokwim River. She's well-traveled, and has toured the world sharing her exquisite musical talents with eager listeners everywhere. And reviewers have compared her music to that of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (no, really....I'm not kidding!) 

As young as she is, Emma Hill has learned boatloads about the pains of first love (and second and third), the tragic loss of loved ones, and the rigors of being on the road in service to her art. Lucky for us it is from these experiences she so soulfully shares the rhythms of her life. 


Brian Daste and Emma Hill
But she never forgot her home ground. After living in Portland for five years, Emma returned home because she missed the land and people that made her who she is. I say this without sentimentality. Alaska...the rivers, mountains, coastlines...the sweep and scope of the place is like a character in a story, not just a point on the map. Its mystique runs deep in your heart, and holds a mighty tight grip you just can't shake. 

Emma will tell you so. She grew up singing and writing songs, and remembers sitting in the back of her Dad's Cessna  jotting down words to songs as they flew up and downriver in their travels from the village. That was many years ago, and she's still cranking out great music. Take a listen to this tribute to her uncle/pilot Steve Hill, who lost his life in a small aircraft accident. For Alaskans listening tonight, you understand. Everyone of us knows someone who has encountered the same fate in a land where airplanes are as common as taxis and buses. Emma pours out her heart with grit, grace and passion on this song titled, "A Pilot's Goodbye." 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO7DBrerdlA




House concerts are a marvelous way to get to know your favorite artists face-to-face. To enjoy their music and stories right in your own living room. As singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris once said, though she's played the world over, her fondest memories are those when she played and sang in the living rooms of friends and family, enjoying the intimacy and comfort of their homes.



Tonight Emma brought the memories of her home and life into ours, and it was indeed, a memorable show. 





Thank you Brian and Emma, and thanks to all the friends who came over to hang out with us in the living room. 

To hear more of Emma's music, click here:  http://www.emmahillmusic.com/listen/




6 comments:

  1. I have so much love for Emma and Bryan and to see these beautiful pictures is just so wonderful! Thank you for recording the moments and writing such a lovely piece about them. I'm going to share your post, in the hopes that more folks find this wonderful writing and also to share the talent of Emma and Bryan.

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  2. Yes, they are wildly talented, and everyone who attended absolutely loved the concert. Thank you for taking a look!

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  3. First, the video is wonderful. The combination of that stunning photography with the music is perfect, and the ending footage of the silhouette over the mountains pretty much says it all: here, there, and everywhere. I have a cousin who's a pilot and who does test flights for recommissioned aircraft. Back in the day, he landed in a few trees, but he's all grown up and responsible now. He'll not only enjoy the music, he'll understand the context.

    And yes, house concerts are great. Do you know Iris DeMent's work? Oh, of course, you must. Her recording of "Our Town" was used on the last episode of "Northern Exposure". There are a few videos of her performing in a house setting. They're a strange combination of heart-rending, nostalgic and flat funny. Here's one example.

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  4. Oh, Iris DeMent! I remember listening to her music so many years ago; I especially loved her duets with Emmylou Harris. Thank you for directing me back to her music...what a treat.

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  5. Cool song. And a neat tribute to her uncle. I've heard of house concerts before. There are local artists here in Bozeman who do that sort of thing. How cool to actually have someone come and sing at your house.

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    1. Initially I was worried about space; our living room isn't that big. But when we removed the furniture and put in folding chairs (borrowed from neighbors), voila! it was perfect.

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