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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Transatlantic Quartet, Corner House, Unveils Reflective Debut Album 'How Beautiful It's Been'

How Beautiful It's Been is the observational debut album from Corner House, a young American quartet with Scottish ties. The record, which has a unique blend of traditional, indie-pop and rock sounds, with bluegrass, Celtic and old-time influences, will be released on Friday 27 May.

Corner House is a roots band, which sees Orkney-born fiddler Louise Bichan join forces with mandolin player Ethan Setiawan, cellist Casey Murray and guitarist Ethan Hawkins. The group, who met studying together at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, write and arrange material inspired by Irish, Scottish, Appalachian Stringband and bluegrass music.

How Beautiful It's Been is a record about growing up and subtly explores the topics of equality and human rights. All tracks are self-composed, bar Rollin’ Home, a bluegrass-inspired song written by Ethan Hawkins’ songwriting mentor Nathan Moore.

The first single from the record was Mags’ 21st, a funky roots track that first brought the band together. The album also includes the single South Of The City, an upbeat and nostalgic sounding track reflecting on insecurities in a burgeoning relationship, released on Friday 29 April. The third single Angel Falls, out on Friday 13 May, is a bittersweet ballad about equality and the human experience.

Louise Bichan said: “This record is a reflection of our collective experience and a sort of ‘coming of age’ for us as a band. Conversations, observations, and our thoughts on issues such as equality and human rights have all inspired us.

We draw from our varied musical backgrounds – in Scottish, Irish, old-time, bluegrass and Americana, as well as many other adjacent fiddle styles, and those who we have learned from, played with and enjoy listening to. We felt it was finally time to put out a full-length album, which really represents us and the work we have done to get to this point over the past five years.”

The record features Corner House members Louise Bichan on fiddle, five-string fiddle and vocals, Ethan Setiawan on mandolin, octave mandolin, five-string electric mandocello and vocals, Casey Murray on cello and clawhammer banjo, and Ethan Hawkins on guitar and vocals. They are joined by Jordan Perlson on drums, Viktor Krauss on double bass and minimoog, Maeve Gilchrist on clarsach and Eli Crews on noseflute.

How Beautiful It's Been was recorded at Spillway Sounds Studio in West Hurley, New York with the owner and engineer Eli Crews, who has worked with the likes of Californian indie-pop duo Tune-Yards. Dave Sinko, who has worked with the likes of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, mastered the album in Nashville, Tennessee and Scottish harpist Maeve Gilchrist produced the record.

The album artwork was created by the Canadian musician and artist Jenny Ritter and was inspired by the band’s adventurous spirit, both musically and personally.

How Beautiful It's Been will be available to buy on CD, stream and download on all major digital platforms on Friday 27th May.


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