ABOUT THE BAND
"Watching Sometymes Why is like watching a Victorian magic show staged in a luxury hotel orbiting *Ganymede. There is an air of friendly sleight-of-hand. Entranced by the wordplay in the songs, one suddenly realizes that there is more silence than sound. And of course the magic of the three “Lovely Assistants,” who require no other assistance to spin this spell. One of my favorite bands ever."
- Darol Anger
Sometymes Why first came to be in the dark, quiet corners of the string band renaissance. Fans of each other's respective stringbands (Uncle Earl, The Mammals, Crooked Still), Andreassen, Merenda, and O'Donovan had performed together in various contexts, both formal and informal, for years. "In 2004," Andreassen recalls, "we went to an afterparty in Brooklyn. I sang 'The Seasick Dawn,' and those two harmonized. It sounded too dreamy to not want to do it again.”
With Sometymes Why, Aoife, Kristin & Ruth create music that moves past the "stringband" label entirely. They sing their own songs and back each other up on Wurlitzer, glockenspiel, high hat & tambourine. They appeal to a part of their audience (and a part of themselves) that's more aligned with Feist, Joni Mitchell, and Bessie Smith than Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys.
Their home-made debut album (a set of rehearsal recordings which they ultimately released) "became a hot item among fans of all three women's regular bands, and not just for its racy semi-novelty track 'Too Repressed,'" says No Depression (referring to O'Donovan's ballad in which she fantasizes about a blue eyed singer in a bluegrass band).
But the band is best heard live. "There's an instantly appealing quality to the trio-harmony blend of their voices, and in live performance they relate to each other with a charm and ease that radiates to the audience," said No Depression, which claimed that Sometymes Why's impromptu Sunday morning set in a parking lot at North Carolina's epic festival Merlefest "stole the show."
Since their first show at the Sidewalk Café in New York City in 2005, Sometymes Why has toured elusively in the Northeast, across Ireland, and joined the Punch Brothers as the opener on two sold out tours.
* Gan•y•mede\ˈga-ni-mēd\ Astronomy. One of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the seventh closest satellite to the planet and the largest satellite in the solar system with a diameter of 3,268 miles (5,260 km).
ABOUT THE ALBUM
They were songs that fell through the cracks - written & then forgotten, ignored, or locked away in some special place for a later use that may never come. These songs finally emerged as the basis of something new in 2004, when Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl), Ruth Ungar Merenda (the Mammals), and Aoife O'Donovan (Crooked Still) decided to begin performing together. By some unagreed-upon combination of coincidence, design, and accident - the trio took those secret songs and, via an arresting DIY debut album and a series of riveting live performances, gave birth to an underground sensation they called Sometymes Why.
Sometimes Why is the debut, self-titled album for this trio (the spelling hearkens to the days before the band realized that a Toronto pop band had beat them to the name…). A limited edition of 2,000 cardboard “origami” style packages were printed, lovingly hand-assembled and long since sold. The album is now only available via digital download. We offer the music on a “pay-what-you-want” basis and we very much appreciate your contribution at any level. Perhaps we’ll use the proceeds to make another record one day!
released July 10, 2005
All arrangements © Sometymes Why
All songs engineered by Michael Merenda and Sometymes Why with a pair of Audio Technica 4033 Microphones
Tracks 1,2,4,6,9,10 recorded before dinner on May 20th at Allaire Studios, Great Hall
Tracks 3,5,7,8 recorded before dawn on May 21st at Humble Abode Music, Studio B
Mixed by Sometymes Why at Humble Abode Music, Studio A
Mastered by Scott Petito at NRS in Woodstock, NY
Cover drawing by Ruth Ungar
Layout and design by Kristin Andreassen
Aiofe O’Donovan: lead vocals (1,4,7,10), baritone ukelele (1,3), wurlitzer (4,6), piano (10), guitar (7), soprano ukelele (5), glockenspiel (8), cowbell (6)
Kristin Andreassen: lead vocals (3,5,9), harmonica (2,7), guitar (3,5,9), glockenspiel (1), tambourine (6), cymbal (8)
Ruth Ungar: lead vocals (2,6,8), fiddle (1,5,9), soprano ukelele (3,6,), guitar (2), baritone ukelele (7,8), glockenspiel (4), high hat (7)
Michael Merenda, Brian O’Donovan, Randall Wallace, Mark McKenna, Pierre Sprey & Eldon Baldwin at Mapleshade Recordings, Lach & The Sidewalk Café, The Iron Horse, Crooked Still, The Mammals, Uncle Earl, Rick Easton & King Wilkie, Rushad Eggleston & to Ian Duncan for the bright ideas.
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