Martha Scanlan + Dead Horses
Anyone familiar with Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld’s unique alchemy on stage will not be surprised by the sense of being taken into the moment—their shows are in and of themselves a journey of improvisation; the way Jon Neufeld’s brilliant innovative guitar playing weaves effortlessly around Martha’s timeless songwriting is simply magical.
While currents of deep Appalachian mountain valleys and vast Montana landscapes wind through Martha’s songs, it’s really the accessibility and intimacy that defines them, and how they seem to find their way into soundtracks by TBone Burnett, pages of celebrated American novelists like Rick Bass and Joyce Carol Oates, shared mixes by Emmy Lou Harris, covers by roots musicians from Sarah Jarosz to Andrew Marlin to Solas, quiet song circles and camp fires.
Dirk Powell writes, “Martha feels the natural world, including that of human relations, to such an extent that the stories transcend themselves.”
At fifteen, Dead Horses frontwoman Sarah Vos’ world turned upside down. Raised in a strict, fundamentalist home, Vos lost everything when she and her family were expelled from the rural Wisconsin church where her father had long served as pastor. What happened next is the story of Dead Horses’ stunning album, My Mother the Moon, a record full of trauma and triumph, despair and hope, pain and resilience.
Blending elements of traditional roots with contemporary indie folk, Dead Horses writes music that is both familiar and unexpected, unflinchingly honest in its portrayal of modern American life, yet optimistic in its unshakable faith in brighter days to come.
Described by NPR Music as “evocative, empathetic storytelling,” My Mother the Moon earned a spot in No Depression‘s “Best Roots Music Albums of 2018” list, and Rolling Stone Country declared the Wisconsin-based duo an “Artist You Need to Know.”