Anaïs Mitchell is a Vermont and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter who comes from the world of narrative folksong, poetry and balladry. She recorded for Ani Difranco's Righteous Babe Records for several years before starting her own Wilderland label in 2012. Among her recorded works are six full-length albums, including 2010's sensationally-reviewed Hadestown, a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth; 2012's Young Man in America, which was described by the UK's Independent as 'an epic tale of American becoming’; and 2013’s Child Ballads, a collaboration with Jefferson Hamer, which won a BBC Radio Two Folk Award. Mitchell has headlined shows worldwide as well as supporting tours for Bon Iver, Ani Difranco, Patty Griffin, Josh Ritter and Punch Brothers. She was the winner of a Folk Alliance 2018 Spirit of Folk Award.
Mitchell's stage show of Hadestown, which was over a decade in the making, was first produced off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop and in Canada at Edmonton's The Citadel, with record-breaking runs at both. In 2018 the show opened at London's prestigious National Theatre, before transferring to Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre in April 2019. The musical has garnered rave reviews. The New York Times called it “inventive, beguiling and spellbinding” while Vogue announced that “Hadestown will be your new theater obsession.” If there’s a common thread in Mitchell’s work – from her earliest acoustic records to the Hadestown show – it’s that she’s as interested in the world around her as the one inside her. She has a way of tackling big themes with the same emotional intimacy most artists use to describe their inner lives. That’s perhaps why the New York Times noted that her songs “address contemporary angst with uncanny vision…. a formidable songwriting talent.”
Rachel Ries (duo): In 2013, after two and a half years of marriage, Ries found herself touring a record around the world, accompanied by a stack of divorce papers in a pocket of her suitcase. She had left her marriage and a good man in New York City and leapt into the untethered unknown. What transpired was in turns euphoria and despondence; old lessons learned in new ways. The songs on To Love To Leave To Live are a compassionate and at times wry catalogue of those tumultuous years, unflinchingly captured in the studio with co-producer Shane Leonard. Several collaborators, some of whom Ries met while touring with Anaïs Mitchell, helped create the vast and varied soundscape: Brian Joseph (Sufjan Stevens, Paul Simon), Rob Moose (yMusic, Alabama Shakes), Mike Lewis (Bon Iver), Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic), Pat Keen, John DeHaven, Ben Lester and Rachel’s own siblings.