Heart Hunters Plays At Charles And Myrtle's Saturday

Thursday, November 8, 2018
- photo by Mark Herndon

Heart Hunters will perform at Charles and Myrtle's Coffeehouse on Saturday at 8 p.m. The coffeehouse is inside Christ Unity Church at 105 McBrien Road.  There is a $10 suggested donation at the door.

Review for Heart Hunters:

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 Hunters—a duo with his wife, singer/songwriter Brianna Blackbird—builds 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 record’s 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 duo’s 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 tracks—“The Good Fight” and “Cristo” come to mind—drawing 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 Zeppelin’s “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 America”—a protest song shining a harsh light on the flawed notion of the American dream—sets 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 album’s more personal moments, Heart Hunters don’t 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 music—we have to recognize our platform to spread ideas and use our music to aid social movements.” 

“The Good Fight” offers another striking blend of the personal and political, indulging the dream of jackhammering parking lots and tearing down dilapidated strip malls and big-box stores in an effort to reclaim communities, trading the evils of suburban sprawl for vibrant gardens, carbon sinks, and dedicated green spaces. It’s sort of an inversion of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.” “People need a place where they can recover from the suffering and alienation of urban capitalism by loving the land,” Blackbird says.

She and de Man met while studying music therapy in Portland, Ore, and they soon began writing and recording together, releasing a couple EPs and their first full-length in 2015 (under the moniker Pretend Sweethearts). The duo played cafes, bars, and clubs on the West Coast, also bringing their music to homeless shelters, youth detention centers, prisons and rehab facilities along the way. Their wanderlust—and desire to find affordable housing—led them deep into South America, to a mountain village in Bolivia. While there, Blackbird and de Man had their son while immersing themselves in songwriting and Andean culture. Living beyond U.S. borders proved an enlightening experience for the couple, imbuing their eventual return Stateside with a new sense of purpose that is entwined throughout the songs of American Eclipse.

Having grown up in Georgia, the soundtrack to de Man’s childhood was comprised largely of country, blues, bluegrass and Southern rock, but he was also eventually inspired by a pair of odd bedfellows—the Grateful Dead and punk rock. De Man’s father—a poet with a penchant for quoting ancient mystical texts around the campfire—was also a big influence. At age 10, Drew’s mother gave him his first guitar, and he hasn’t stopped playing since.

Blackbird was raised in Oregon and spent many a rainy day getting lost in Celtic-folk cassettes. The daughter of a music teacher, she was raised on folk, classic rock and Beethoven, sang in several choirs and studied voice, piano and guitar. She went on to major in performance and social activism at Naropa College in Boulder, Colo., before moving to Brooklyn, where started writing songs. Two years ago, she added upright bass to her repertoire after learning some fundamentals from Joe Stevens of Coyote Grace.

Heart Hunters are currently based in the country outside of Atlanta, Ga. They make music, teach music, remodel houses, show up for marches, work as session players, and somehow still find time to raise two kids, who will be accompanying them in the family’s new biodiesel-fueled van on tour in support of the new record.


Pat Terry Will Be In Concert At Wired Coffee Bar May 11

Avenue Q’s Raunchy Puppets Take Over Chattanooga Theatre Centre Stage May 3-12

Jennifer Daniels Plays At Charles And Myrtle's Saturday


Pat Terry will be in concert, with Mark Kelly Hall, at Wired Coffee Bar on Saturday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Wired Coffee Bar is at 5707 Main St. in Ooltewah. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 ... (click for more)

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre will present Avenue Q May 3-12. Review for Avenue Q: What is not unusual about the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical ... (click for more)

Jennifer Daniels will be at Charles and Myrtle's Coffeehouse Saturday at 8 p.m. The coffeehouse is inside Christ Unity Church at 105 McBrien Road. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door. ... (click for more)


Entertainment

Pat Terry Will Be In Concert At Wired Coffee Bar May 11

Pat Terry will be in concert, with Mark Kelly Hall, at Wired Coffee Bar on Saturday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Wired Coffee Bar is at 5707 Main St. in Ooltewah. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. To order tickets online, go to www.patterryonline.com . The evening will feature songs written mostly for grownups but fit for the whole family; a celebration of life, love, ... (click for more)

Avenue Q’s Raunchy Puppets Take Over Chattanooga Theatre Centre Stage May 3-12

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre will present Avenue Q May 3-12. Review for Avenue Q: What is not unusual about the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy “Avenue Q” is that it follows a motley group of New York twenty-somethings who face life’s challenges together, struggling to find jobs, dates, and their elusive purpose in life. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

New Details Given On Disappearance Of Geneva Atkins, 83

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office released additional details in an effort to help the public recognize the GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by Geneva Atkins. Mrs. Atkins was last seen on Tuesday at approximately 9 p.m. driving a gray 1999 GMC Sierra with damage to the right front fender. The vehicle is registered in Tennessee and the license plate is 158-JSP. The 1999 GMC Sierra ... (click for more)

Man, 50, Shot In Road Rage Incident On Bailey Avenue; Christopher Bell, 29, Wanted For Attempted Criminal Homicide

A man, 50, was shot on Bailey Avenue on Thursday afternoon, and Christopher Bell, 29, is wanted for criminal attempted homicide. At approximately 3:20 p.m. Chattanooga Police were dispatched to a person shot call at 1050 Bailey Ave. Upon arrival, officers located a man suffering from a gunshot wound. The man stated to police that he and the suspect were involved in a vehicle ... (click for more)

Opinion

Save The Wildlife, Mr. Berke

Why in the world would there be any question regarding the wildlife at East Lake park, and the humane relocation of same? Why would anyone need to beg for the right thing to be done? Maybe if the ducks could ride scooters, there would be money for this. Or maybe if they had means to pay for one of the so-called affordable apartments we have in Chattanooga, they would rate the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As we open this week’s edition of The Saturday Funnies, it seems the best question of the day is how many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket? If you answered ‘one,’ you are as smart as our famous Little Johnny, who explained that with just one egg, the basket wasn’t empty any longer. Please understand that I do not write The Saturday Funnies; I just assemble what I find ... (click for more)