Monday, April 7, 2008





Saturday, April 19, 2008

Notlob Parlor Concerts are presented at the historic Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA. 02130. Built in 1760, the venue is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been an historic house museum since 1926. Its beautiful period decor and intimate size make it an ideal setting for acoustic music.

Notlob’s twenty fourth production of the 2007-2008 season is HUNGRYTOWN, the award-winning songwriting team of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson. Married since 1994, Rebecca and Ken have toured thousands of miles over the last few years, earning their keep playing gigs throughout the United States and Europe. Their music has been greatly enriched by the places they've traveled, as evidenced by the broad range of styles on this album, which brings together bluegrass, classic country and soul, Celtic folk, old-time balladry and retro pop styles.

Rebecca Hall, who has a knack for penning tunes that sound like time-tested classics, wrote most of the songs on the album. She has been dubbed "a new folk classicist" by the Boston Herald, and her composition “Hungrytown Road” won second prize at the Minnesota Folk Festival's New Folk Songwriting Contest in 2005. That same year, legendary Nashville songsmith David Olney, who has written for Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Linda Rondstadt, included his version of Rebecca’s “O Lord” on his highly-acclaimed 2005 release, Migration. Her clear, haunting alto has prompted Roger McGuinn to rave, “I love the sound of Rebecca Hall’s voice. There’s a sweetness, and a worldly wisdom, in perfect balance.”

Ken plays multiple instruments, including drums, B3 organ, harmonica, bass and guitar as well as harmonizing in the duo’s elaborate vocal arrangements. His distinctive production style is the result of an eclectic musical education, performing in countless garage, soul and 60s-style pop bands in New York City and elsewhere. The result is no purist folk album, but a recording that demonstrates a reverence for American songcraft spanning many shades and decades. Lately, Rebecca and Ken have been combining their writing talents, and their co-written ballad, "Lucille, Lucille," won third prize at the Great Waters Folk Festival Songwriting Contest in 2007.

Hungrytown was recorded in 2007 up and down the east coast, between gigs, by way of their mobile studio, Song Catcher Recording, recalling the semi-fictionalized film about musical folklorist, Olive Dame Campbell. Rebecca and Ken believe in bringing the studio to the musician, and as a result, the album’s recording spaces include a converted barn in New York’s Catskills, a double-wide in the Blue Ridge mountains of central Virginia, and an old brick and wood meeting house on a Vermont hillside. Among the many guest players on Hungrytown are Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda (banjo and fiddle), who comprise the core of the celebrated folk supergroup, the Mammals, as well as Zack Deming (banjo), Charles Frazier (guitar), Donnie Shifflett (bass) and Jeff Vogelgesang (guitar and mandolin), who make up one of the south’s top bluegrass bands, the Virginia Ramblers.

Rebecca and Ken tour the country in the famous Blue Meanie. This remarkable, fuel efficient, solar paneled and, well, blue customized camper van was 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! When they're not kicking up dust, Rebecca & Ken live in a remote cottage deep in the hills of southern Vermont.

"Hungrytown is American folk music at its zenith....retro yet shiny and new, like a freshly minted copper penny. If you’ve been craving folk music of substance, head off to Hungrytown."

Rachelle Nones - Feminist Review

"On this self-titled debut release, the band’s lauded songwriting strength is evident. Folky balladry, upbeat country, bluegrass and even a bit of rock ’n’ roll are all featured on the album. This eclecticism serves the band well and gives the production an engaging dynamic. Hungrytown recalls a number of performances past and present — shades of Judee Sill, Emmylou Harris, Neko Case and The Byrds....It is both haunting and pleasant, delicate yet arresting. Hall and Anderson have cultivated a wonderful musical rapport that will endear them to many as they continue to tour and record."

Herb van der Poll - Seven Days (Burlington, VT)

"Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, better known as Hungrytown, have combined a personal and professional relationship for more than 14 years. They’ve also traveled thousands of miles not only across America but overseas, and become one of the more celebrated acoustic duos in the country. The 12-song disc features Hall’s soothing, enticing alto on several haunting, superbly performed numbers like “One Morning in May,” “Rose Or the Briar,” “Every Day,” “Solid Ground” and “On The Other Side....[and] spotlights the sweeping harmonies and close musical ties between Hall and Anderson, plus Anderson’s impressive command of numerous instruments."

Ron Wynn - Nashville City Paper

Hungrytown is the husband and wife duo of singers and multi-instrumentalists Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson. Like the fantastic folk updaters of the late 1960s/early 1970s Pentangle and Fairport Convention, they create new but ancient-sounding deceptively simple masterpieces that include carefully chosen modern elements. Hall’s voice, as clear and beautifully suited to this plainspoken music as Joan Baez and Judy Collins were in the 1960s (and all decades since) or Karen Carpenter in the 1970s, is also a remarkable blend.

Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)

"Honest-to-goodness, down-home folk songs with an authentic old-time flair. Cast with fiddles, mandolins, banjos, bluegrass, and balladry, [Hungrytown's] self-titled debut boasts a rustic back porch feel that evokes the sounds of traditional Americana....the couple sows organic authenticity at every opportunity."

Lee Zimmerman - Miami New Times

"Hungrytown is the husband-and-wife duo of Ken Anderson and Rebecca Hall, who tour the country in a converted bus that also serves as a mobile recording studio. So it's no wonder that a rural Everywhere is the setting for many of the songs on this album. These songs speak of Home and mean so many places....Rebecca and Ken's songs are well-composed and feel as if they could belong to an earlier generation. Thus, Hungrytown is a beautifully simple album; sparse production allows the instruments and clear, sweet voices to speak for themselves."

Rebecca Lay - Signature Sounds

"This accomplished duo's style is their own, with beautiful harmonies and wonderful arrangements expertly played. Rebecca's outstanding vocals are strongly supported by Ken's fine musicianship."

“I love the sound of Rebecca Hall's voice. There's a sweetness and a worldly wisdom, in perfect balance.”

Roger McGuinn

We've been told that this is a terrific review.

Hatena Diary (Jan 19, 2008)

"Rebecca Hall is a true rarity: a new folk classicist."

Boston Herald

“Rebecca Hall claims inspirations ranging from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music to alt-country and Nick Drake. Her second album spotlights her superb songwriting craft and does honor to her varied influences.”

Sing Out!

New York neo-folk ballad singer and writer Rebecca Hall has been winning compliments from fellow musicians Laura Cantrell and even Roger McGuinn for her updated take on mid-to-late 1960s pop/folk sounds. Sunday Afternoon, her second album, recalls in style the acoustic guitar and string arrangements heard first on Judy Collins' In My Life, then on lusher turns from Leonard Cohen, and on Brit folk-rock productions from Joe Boyd.”

Barry Mazor - No Depression

"Rebecca's songs are straightforward without being simplistic. They have depth and maturity without pretentiousness.They have an innocent quality that is without any of the usual moralistic posing. In her songwriting and in her performance of those songs, Rebecca maintains a perfect balance of art and artlessness.”

David Olney

"Rebecca Hall presents one of the most enjoyable vocal performances that we have ever heard here at Roots Music Report. Her style is smooth and warm and she presents the songs she wrote with such grace and style that her emotions seem to just pour from each track. Sunday Afternoon is no run of the mill release, this album is very compelling."

Roots Music Report

“It is the story-telling that is the main attraction, as well as the delicate accompaniments and Rebecca's sweet, contemplative, lonesome tones. ‘Sunday Afternoon' would make a welcome addition to any record collection, but especially one with the likes of Nick Drake, Alex Chilton or early Byrds records in it; a special artist who deserves a lot more attention.”

Mark Phillips -

Hall and Anderson are a traveling duo based in Vermont. They bill themselves as “retro folk,” and with their impeccable turtlenecks, thick-rimmed glasses, and vintage equipment, it’s clear they enjoy looking the part. But doll it up however you want–this pair makes some amazing music. Hall’s voice lilts from hallowed to twangy and back again. Anderson plays harmonica while plucking an electric bass that sounds more like a stand-up, and frequently offers backup harmonies that make the songs even more verdant. They’re impressively well-read in folk literature, to the point that Hall’s murder ballads and sing-alongs sound like they could have been handed down by a generation or three.

Dan Barry - Hartford Advocate

“Hall has created songs that sound timeworn and classic straight off the page. . . . What makes songs traditional, is how well they resonate with the listener. Each song on this album hits that resonance perfectly. These are songs that beg to be learned by heart, hummed during the chores and passed on through families. In sorrow or exaltation, Hall's clear voice carries an almost spiritual clarity that still leaves room for the songs to be shaped by other voices. Classic and unique Rebecca Hall Sings! promises to become a tradition in its own right.”

Sarah Meador - Rambles

“Rebecca Hall's songs are uncannily like the timeless traditional songs that inspire her. Indeed, Hall's debut brings to mind recordings of the late-‘50s and early-‘60s, with its spare, heart-felt simplicity.”

- Sing Out!

“Delicately brooding and filled with muted passion, Sunday Afternoon showcases an accomplished singer-songwriter and an impeccable arranger/producer doing what comes naturally. The result is a durable testament to the power of a good song.”

Casey Rea - Seven Days

“How refreshing it is to find an artist who still believes in the power and beauty of a well-written song, and who puts total focus into making that song as effective as possible. Rebecca Hall is that kind of an artist."

Michael Lynch -

There's always a tinge of uncertainty when a great traditional performer begins to develop on her own work. In the case of Rebecca Hall's Sunday Afternoon, that uncertainty vanishes in the bright perceptions of the opening "Come Around," to be replaced with a new doubt. It's hard to believe these are modern songs; it seems more plausible that they are traditional classics that have somehow never been heard before. . . .Few artists ever create songs that might reasonably survive beyond their own memory. Not a track on Sunday Afternoon couldn't survive on its own."

Sarah Meador - Rambles

“With but two exceptions, all of ‘Sunday Afternoon’ is penned by Hall herself, though they all sound as though they’ve been fermenting in a lost Woody Guthrie notebook, or one mislaid by Davey Graham. . . . Hall understands folk, while her singular voice is surely on loan from an Archangel.”

Gillian Nash - Logo

“. . . I settled back to listen. Within twenty minutes, I had visited a Greenwich Village folk club in 1964, a Virginian mountain shack porch and a Tennessee speakeasy, transported by the purity and simplicity of Rebecca Hall's glorious and haunting traditional American sound.”

Tom Sheriff - Comes With a Smile


Artists’ websites:

Date: Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doors: 7:00pm

Concert: 7:30pm

Suggested minimum donation: $12.50 at the door ($10 if reservation is made at least 24 hours in advance).

Notlob website:

Artist information:

Reservations: As seating is limited to 40, reservations are recommended. Email Reservations expire 15 minutes before concert time, when unclaimed seats will be released to walk-ins.

Venue & accessibility: Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, the large yellow house at the intersection of Centre and South Streets, across the street from the Civil War monument. Handicap accessible; call 617-524-3158 for more information. Please do not call the venue for any other reason.


Parking: The Loring-Greenough House lot holds 12 cars, gates are closed when full. Parking is also available on the street and in the public lots located behind Blanchard’s liquors, one block away and the Mellon bank, two blocks away.

MBTA: Take #39 bus from either Back Bay Station or Forest Hills Station to the Monument stop, directly in front of the Loring-Greenough House, at the intersections of Centre and South Streets.

Dining: There are several fine restaurants on Centre Street within 2-3 blocks, with on street parking and a large public parking lot behind Blanchard’s. At Centre Street Café - (669A Centre Street, 617-524-9217), show proof of your reservation and get 10% off. More information at

Coffee, tea, water and pastries are available for a donation.

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