Theres something so personal about a song that you can easily sing along to. But its also impersonal, because so many people feel the need to sing along just as you do, and with the Oh Hellos, sing along you will.
The Oh Hellos are a sibling duo from San Marcos, Texas made up Tyler and Maggie Heath. Theyve got the folk-country sound thatll get you clapping your hands and and tapping your feet, with a sweet southern charm. The two siblings are typically joined by a large band for their performances, including multiple guitarists, a banjo player, and a violinist, and with them all on stage, their shows come across as one big party.
Despite the help of an enormous ensemble of musicians, the Heaths self-released, recorded, and produced their first full-length record Through the Deep, Dark Valley in the fall of 2012. Though their shows are a good time, their music is much more powerful than simple fun. Theyll give you chills with their soothing harmonies, but get you jumping up and down in their most explosive moments. There is a profound relationship between these songwriters and their work that might even exceed emotional expression. They began touring for their first record with their full band in 2013, but their latest record, Dear Wormwood, was just released this year. Dear Wormwood is an album inspired both by C.S. Lewiss The Screwtape Letters and Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. Maggie and Tyler use this record to tell the story of a protagonist stuck in an abusive relationship in writing letters to the antagonist. Maggie sings with heartbreak on Bitter Water, where the painfulness of the imaginary toxic relationship becomes clear with the lyrics the terrible fire of old regret is honey on my tongue/I know I shouldn't love you/But I do.
You can hear the influence of mythology in the playfulness of the record, and their folk narrative is just what youd expect folklore to sound like. Maggie and Tyler are simply harmonious, both with angelic, clean voices that match their raw sound. They often incorporate group chants that create that unity between them and their listeners along with catchy oohs and ahs, in their brightest melodies. Despite their polished sweetness, their boldest moments are energetic and climatic. They master calm and cerebral in their Christmas album, The Oh Hellos' Family Christmas Album, yet excite in songs like Exeunt from Dear Wormwood. Though I tend to avoid banjos at all costs, the Oh Hellos find the perfect role for each of the many instruments in their music. Their bluegrass elements are intertwined with pop and folk, but with so much character and personality that its not like anything Ive heard before.
And be sure to be on the lookout for our session with the band which will be going live on the site on Tuesday of next week. Until then, dig our preview of the session below.