Hadestown, an extensive, collaborative "folk opera" written by Vermont based singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, features some of the biggest names in folk today. With contributions from Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, influential folk veteran Greg Brown, The Low Anthem's Ben Knox Miller, and the multi-talented Haden Sisters (who have contributed to countless projects from The Decemberists to The Rentals), Mitchell's opera re-envisions the familiar Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice onto the landscape of post-Depression America with each contributor cast in a different role. Mitchell updates the ancient myth by substituting an "exploitative company town" for the Greek underworld and increases the folk factor by swapping out Orpheus' lyre for a banjo. Even so, Hadestown maintains the original tragedy's central focus on love and the power of human emotion. Moody in a playful way, the album is sometimes reminiscent of Tom Waits' dark theatricality but is still optimistic and confident in the power of love. The opera is sure to satisfy anyone in the mood for a timeless tale with modern musical talent to accompany it. Available now on DiFranco's Righteous Babe label.
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