Harpeth Rising will make their by-popular-demand return to Sundilla on Thursday, February 9; showtime is 7:30 at the AUUF. Admission at the door is $15, but advance tickets are just $12 and can be purchased at Spicer’s Music, Blooming Colors, Music Town Records, and online at www.sundillamusic.com. Free coffee, tea, water and food will be available at the show, but attendees are welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.
Harpeth Rising chose to name themselves after a river because water is both dynamic and powerful. These words also describe the music created by the three women: Jordana Greenberg (violin, vocals), Michelle Younger (banjo, vocals) and Maria Di Meglio (cello, vocals.) Unapologetic genre-benders, they fuse folk, newgrass, rock and classical into a sound that is originally unique.
Hallmarks of their music include expansive three-part harmonies, consummate musicianship and a deft, yet soulful lyrical perspective. Harpeth Rising’s roots run deep—from their varied ancestry to the musical hotbed of the mid-South they now call home, they weave together ancient and modern ideas, creating a sound that is both familiar and impossible to categorize.
“We don’t set out to create something different, we just write in a way that is true to ourselves while trying to always expand and explore the new influences in our lives,” says Greenberg. “We’re aware of genre divisions, we’re just not bound by them.”
With Harpeth Rising you get three classically trained musicians playing original music, as intricately arranged as a string quartet, lyrically rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition, and wrapped in three-part vocal harmonies reminiscent of both Appalachia and Medieval Europe. Building from the tonal depth of the cello (or is it a bass?), layer in the shimmering sounds of a violin and the strikingly natural addition of banjo to create a sound at once familiar and impossible to categorize. Unapologetic genre-benders, Harpeth Rising fuses Folk, Newgrass, Rock and Classical into something organically unique.
The three musicians each hold classical performance degrees from some of the most venerated schools in the world: Indiana University, Oberlin, Eastman School of Music. But their classical background is only one dimension of this trio’s powerful musical voice. Hailing from vastly different parts of North America, each member of Harpeth Rising brings different influences to the core sound. Cellist Maria Di Meglio was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She was drawn to the music of her first generation Italian and Balkan roots, and grew up learning Eastern European folk songs alongside classical repertoire. Michelle Younger of Charlottesville, VA comes by her modern spin on old-time infused banjo authentically; her family has been in the United States for generations, and she is a descendent of Cole Younger, a member of the James-Younger Gang and the namesake of his very own banjo tune. Jordana Greenberg, violin, grew up listening to the sounds of Stan Rogers, Leonard Cohen and Natalie McMaster in her native Canada before moving to Southern Indiana as a child. She studied classical violin by day through the pre-college program at Indiana University, and spent her nights learning the folk tunes and classic rocks songs that her family plays at the annual post-Passover jam session.
From breathtaking energy to intimate connection, their live performances are kinetic events in which their passion and their abilities re equally displayed. Harpeth Rising can create a listening room from a rowdy bar crowd, and can inspire even the weariest of audiences. After only a few months as a band, they embarked on a tour of England, which included a performance with the Bath Philharmonia. They were invited to perform at The Cambridge Folk Festival the following summer, and have since played festivals across England and the United States, including the Kerrville Folk Festival, ROMPfest, Blissfest, The Fylde Folk Festival, The Purbeck Folk Festival and dozens more. Building their fan base in the tradition of all wandering minstrels – passionately and by word of mouth – they now perform to sold-out audiences internationally.
They have released five albums — Harpeth Rising (2010), Dead Man’s Hand (2011), The End of the World (2012) and Tales From Jackson Bridge (2013.) Their fifth album, Shifted, was released in 2015 and debuted at #1 on the Folk-DJ chart.
There are very few performers who can rightfully claim that they have drawn at least 100 people every time they have played Sundilla, and Harpeth Rising is one of them. So be there for their third Sundilla appearance on Thursday, February 9; showtime is 7:30 at the AUUF. Admission at the door is $15, but advance tickets are just $12 and can be purchased at Spicer’s Music, Blooming Colors, Music Town Records, and online at www.sundillamusic.com. There will be free coffee, tea, water and food available, but attendees are welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.