Abagail Washburn's artistic aspiration of bringing traditions forward and creating music that offers "a line of connection between hearts" is more than realized in her new album "City of Refuge".
The singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who was with the bands Uncle Earle and Sparrow Quintet, collaborated with many musicians on the record including songwriter, vocalist and instrumentalist Kai Welch and producer and percussionist Tucker Martine, who has worked with Tift Merrit and Decemberists. Washburn decided to work with both Welch and Martine for their indie flair, purposefully going outside of the folk music world to get a new sound working into her music.
Washburn's voice is captivating, both in it's purity and expressiveness. The tone and presence of her banjo is perfectly suited to the Asian musical colors that infuse the album. "I wouldn't be a musician if it weren't for China", she says. She lived there for years and was to return to become a lawyer in Beijing when she got sidetracked and became a musician. The music of that country seems to be written in her soul and provides a unique sensibility here.