Advertisement

Album Review: The Emilees – Self-Titled


The Emilees
Self-Titled
theemilees.com/

Emallee Hunnicutt and Emily Hall write and perform acoustic folk music. A lot of people do that, and many of them learn to do it well enough to build an audience. Tune in any Saturday to “A Prairie Home Companion” on Public Radio and you’ll hear someone who can play a mean guitar and carry a tune. But most of them don’t really hold my attention; there’s nothing wrong with them, but they don’t grab you by the throat and make you care.

The Emilees are among a few local luminaries (like Milk & Eggs and Gilded Bats) that escape the trap of comfortable folkiness. Their songs are quiet and gentle, but there’s nothing gentle about how they demand your attention. They both have lilting, agile voices that make simple songs lovely. Their lyrics are plain-spoken but hint at a home-made dreamy weirdness just outside the frame. “In The Valley of Enna” begins “It’s a valley of flowers where mother finds me, crying alone in the dirt. She picks up my hand and brushes off sand, and understands all of my hurt.” Short words, spare images, the Emilees raise more questions than they answer.

Emmalee Hunnicutt is “classically trained,” but that would signify nothing with respect to these songs if not for the way her deeply emotional musicality haunts them. Cello isn’t unknown in folk music, but it is unusual, and it’s rare to hear it played in a way so crucial to the songs.

“We wax and we wane like the moon, we are thoughts but we’re animals too” they sing on “Wish You Well.” What that means I can’t tell you, but when they sing it it feels revelatory. The Emilees are witchily seductive. The recording work of Pete Becker and Luke Tweedy is some of their best work in acoustic music. I suspect they fell in love with the Emilees while they were recording, now it’s your turn.


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu/events

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.