Earthwork musicians Elisabeth Pixley-Fink and Samantha Cooper digitally released the first in their new album series, Hearth & Hymn, on December 17, 2013. Physical CD's will be available during their six-date tour, and via the Earthwork website starting on December 21, 2013 (CD pre-orders are available now via Earthwork.) The Kalamazoo, MI based close harmony duo have reworked old standards and re-imagined the music of their childhoods. After years of raiding family songbooks and sharing tunes, the pair created Hearth and Hymn as a channel to interpret old songs. Their sound is inspired by hymns, contemplative music, the sacred harp tradition, kitchen music and vintage Americana stylings.
Multi-instrumentalists 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.
This album was 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.
Cooper and Pixley-Fink are celebrating this release with winter concerts throughout Michigan. They'll be performing the songs of Hearth & Hymn, along with some Vintage Americana tinged originals. Cooper and Pixley-Fink will bring audiences into the performance by telling stories, sharing new verses and leading a few familiar singalongs.
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.