Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023
Location: The Palace Theatre
Address: 19 Clinton Ave. Albany, NY 12207
Age: All ages
The Wood Brothers have learned to trust their hearts. For the better part of two decades, they’ve cemented their reputation as freethinking songwriters, road warriors, and community builders, creating a catalog of diverse music and a loyal audience who’ve grown alongside them through the years. That evolution continues with Heart is the Hero, the band’s eighth studio album. Recorded analog to 16-track tape, this latest effort finds its three creators embracing the chemistry of their acclaimed live shows by capturing their performances in real-time direct from the studio floor with nary a computer in sight. An acoustic-driven album that electrifies, Heart is the Hero is stocked with songs that target not only the heart, but the head and hips, too.
“We love records that come from the era of less tracks and more care,” explains co-founder Oliver Wood. “When you use a computer during the tracking process, you have an infinite number of tracks at your disposal, which implies that nothing is permanent, and everything can be fixed. Tape gives you limitations that force you to be creative and intentional. You don’t look at the music on a screen; you listen to it, and you learn to focus on the feeling of the performance.”
Maya de Vitry’s dynamic and vibrant voice seems to rise out of some necessity of bringing songs to life, embracing listeners with what Folk Alley calls a “soulful intimacy”. She grew up in a musical family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, understanding music to be a place of gathering, a way to spend a summer night by a campfire. She was surrounded by bluegrass and old-time music, and country, gospel, and folk songs. She took piano lessons from her grandmother, and took up classical violin in school, but it was some combination of the haunting fiddle music of Appalachia and the vulnerable poetry in Townes Van Zandt’s songwriting that first compelled her to begin creating tunes and songs of her own – and it was around campfires that she slowly found the courage to begin singing them.
Maya first traveled and performed as a fiddling street musician, and then in bars, theaters, and on festival stages as a founding member of The Stray Birds. When the trio parted ways in 2018, Maya embarked on an ever-evolving musical path of solo work and new collaborations. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, she enjoys moving between acoustic and electric worlds, playing in the musical spaces between folk, country, and indie rock – although she thinks of it all as “song music”. Her recordings and live performances embody both sincerity and playfulness, and a compelling reverence for the power of songs to be a place of gathering – whether played on stage, or around a campfire.
As a solo artist, she has released three full-length albums and a series of singles via her own label, Mad Maker Studio.