After years of singing in close harmony together, raiding family songbooks and sharing tunes, Earthwork musicians Samantha Cooper and Elisabeth Pixley-Fink created Hearth & Hymn as a channel for their exploration of old songs.
Cooper (fiddle/guitar) and Pixley-Fink (piano/guitar) grew up in a tradition of “kitchen music,” singing and making music with their families. Pixley-Fink grew up singing hymns in the Episcopal Church and at Sacred Harp conventions. Cooper grew up mimicking the jazz singers in her dad's big bands, fiddling and harmonizing at family sing-alongs.
The close harmony duo have reworked old standards and re-imagined the music of their childhoods. Their sound is inspired by hymns, contemplative music, the sacred harp tradition, kitchen music and vintage Americana stylings.
Winter 2013, the pair released their debut album, recorded at the Double Phelix Studio in Kalamazoo and around the Pixley-Fink family piano in the summer of 2013. The disc highlights Cooper and Pixley-Fink’s vocal chemistry, accompanied by piano and violin. Pixley-Fink and Cooper recorded the majority of this album shortly after their bandmate, and Sam's former partner, Pat Carroll, passed. The practice of embodying these songs was an intuitive exercise in music therapy, one borne of great necessity during Pat's battle with cystic fibrosis, and on into his passing.
At performances, Cooper and Pixley-Fink captivate audiences with stunning harmonies, and by telling stories and leading a few familiar singalongs.
Listen to the record here: hearthandhymn.bandcamp.com
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.