Anne Hills has become one of the better known voices of the contemporary folk music scene, receiving awards and recognition for her live performances (2009 Bound for Glory live radio show favorite- Ithaca, NY), her unique solo and collaborative recording projects (2001 WAMMIE for duet CD with Tom Paxton, Under American Skies), and her overall artistry and benefit work (2002 Kate Wolf Award, Carole Robertson Award & Kerrville Female Vocalist of the Year 1997).
During her career she has received many additional honors including the 2006 Pennsylvania Partner’s in the Arts Project Stream grant award (for the 2007 premiere of An Evening of James Whitcomb Riley). In 2005 she received the same grant for her premiere of The Heartsongs of Opal Whiteley. Her duet children’s recording, Never Grow Up, released in 1998 with Cindy Mangsen on Flying Fish Records, was chosen for the coveted Parents’ Choice Award.
Her song “Follow That Road” was the title cut of the Martha’s Vineyard Songwriter Retreat and has enchanted audiences for over a decade. Whether she is singing her own song, the words of 6 year old Opal Whiteley, or the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley; accompanied with her guitar, banjo, or simply a Tibetan bell, she puts her whole heart and soul into the moment. So, even if you haven’t become familiar with her voice (featured often on XM/Sirius Folk Radio, The Midnight Special & many other folk shows) you won’t want to miss a chance to hear her songs and stories in person. She’s just begun touring more extensively, winning over audiences with her warm, lively and humorous performances.
The AllMusic Guide says, “A stunning soprano tone has made Anne Hills one of contemporary music’s premiere vocalists … Her knack for writing heartfelt songs [has] brought her to the upper echelon of her craft.” and Tom Paxton says, “Anne Hills is such an exquisite singer that it’s understandable that people might be swept up in the pure beauty of her voice and thereby overlook her writing. That would be a mistake. For me, Anne’s writing, in songs like ‘Follow That Road’ and many others, is as direct, melodic and deep as any work being done today. She is quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters.”
For this evening's performance, Anne will be accompanied by Jay Ansill on Celtic Harp, violin and mandolin. Since 1980, Jay has been playing professionally in various situations; He was a Scottish fiddler at Busch Gardens in VA, he has toured extensively with several folksingers including Saul Broudy and Priscilla Herdman. He has performed with such diverse musicians as Robin Williamson, Tony Trischka, Maria del Mar Bonet, Rodney Anonymous (of the Dead Milkmen) and many others. He plays on recordings by Anne Hills, Kevin Roth, Barry Mitterhoff and others. He has also worked quite a bit in theatre as a musician, music director and composer.
“One of the most glorious voices in all of contemporary folk music.”
The Chicago Tribune
“A singer of superb vocal purity ...
she gives songs a life of their own.
Anne Hills could sing the week’s cable listings
and make them sound marvelous.” Martin Keller, Minnesota Monthly
Joy has been involved in folk music most of her life. As a member of the quartet Water Sign for 13 years and the all-female acapella group The Johnson Girls for 17 years, she explored the close-knit harmonies of both traditional and contemporary folk music. Joy has performed at many festivals and concert venues in the US, the UK, Portugal, Canada, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
Chris has been singing folk music since his early teens. He comes from a family rich in maritime traditions, and his lullabies as a child were traditional songs of the sea. He has performed concerts in many States along the eastern seaboard, has led numerous traditional music workshops, and can be heard accompanying himself on guitar, banjo, fiddle, concertina, and other things common to an average garage sale. A public school music teacher by trade, Chris spends his summers and other free time as a Chanteyman at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, one of the few places left where museum visitors can hear the songs and see the work for which they were used.