Heart Hunters Drew de Man founded his first band, No River City, in 2001 and spent the next several years making records, touring the country and sharing bills with artists such as Iron & Wine, Calexico, and Alejandro Escovedo. After a decade away from the spotlight, his new project Heart Huntersa duo with his wife, singer/songwriter Brianna Blackbirdbuilds on the moody indie/alt-country sound de Man explored with No River City, updating them for a new era with debut LP American Eclipse. The records alternately haunting and wistful folk songs find De Man and Blackbird engaging in potent social and spiritual commentary, clinging to silver linings while wrestling with an increasingly turbulent country. But while the subject matter is often heavy, the duos hook-laden melodicism offers all the balance the record needs
Produced by Peter Case (T-Bone Burnett, John Hiatt, Mike Campbell), American Eclipse puts Heart Hunters gorgeously wounded harmonies front-and-center. Sonically, the record ranges from sparse acoustic ruminations to lush, complex Americana anthems, some tracksThe Good Fight and Cristo come to minddrawing not just from the country-music tradition, but also Celtic and Eastern influences, taking cues from songs like The Beatles Within You Without You and Led Zeppelins Kashmir.
Born of the American zeitgeist, as well as the personal experiences of Blackbird and de Man, American Eclipse is simultaneously a deeply personal and overtly political album. Opener Normal Americaa protest song shining a harsh light on the flawed notion of the American dreamsets the tone for the record from the start, while a track like Angels represents a more autobiographical side of the family band, exploring parenthood from the eyes of a touring musician. But even in the albums more personal moments, Heart Hunters dont shy away from what they see as their responsibility to confront injustice. The last verse of Angels is the crux of it all, de Man says, citing lyrics that address racism, mass incarceration, homelessness and the Native American water protectors at Standing Rock. We can't just indulge in driving around playing musicwe have to recognize our platform to spread ideas and use our music to aid social movements.
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