In just two years, Austin’s The Blue Hit has evolved to something special, something else, something extraordinary; so far, in fact, that the question of genre is answered variously as progressive folk, eclectic pop, and even easy listening. It is only a cello, a spine-tingling female voice and a guitar, delicately interlacing amid intelligent poetry. With music that is well-orchestrated, expertly executed and renders audiences speechless, they play festivals, listening rooms, bar/venues and house concerts across the country and are known to unplug when the setting is just right.
Before summer 2007, member John McGee avidly had played various instruments in many bands around Austin and San Marcos. He and Grace Rowland, who was studying music at Texas State University, had become close friends. With only a few songs before she experienced what can only be called an epiphany, she began writing music and performing publicly with friends, making a home at the Tantra Coffeehouse and Alice’s Restaurant. She and McGee were asked to play a graduation party, and they gathered some material together — it was then they discovered how fluidly they suited one another.
At their first Kerrville Folk Festival, they met a close friend’s brother, David Moss, who had gone to the University of Illinois for cello and was making a name for himself in Chicago, playing gypsy swing, jazz and blues. Realization that Moss was their third moved him to Austin, to a tiny house the trio shared with friends. That summer, in a sweltering garage, they gathered music, practiced what little they had and auditioned DJs and drummers among other musicians. But they found that no permanent fourth member was in the stars. The simple structure was fearlessly serene, and it enabled them to travel unplugged and unobtrusively.
When there was enough music for a gig, they booked their first at the Carousel Lounge down the street from their house. At the next Kerrville Folk Festival, a rainy, late-night, completely acoustic concert for more than 200 from the campground stage left the audience still, enthralled, silent — except for uproarious applause between magical, feisty, elegant, smart, singular songs. The trio’s show the next night — in the middle of the night on a blue moon, un-amplified on the main stage, only its fourth concert total — was recorded and became its first EP, printed and sold among the staff records, the entire printing of 250 copies gone quickly.
By the time of their second tour, they had recorded Rowland’s gems in a handful of studios around Texas, including MediaTech (formerly Arlyn Studios) and Sunover Studios. The best of these efforts became SUMMER 2008 EP, a collection of professionally recorded live tracks. Touring with the EP started a vast and diverse fan base growing across the United States. Finally in December 2008, the trio teamed up with Dan Workman and John Griffin of SugarHill Studios in Houston to create its dynamic debut full-length album, MOVE IN, released with a West Coast tour in May 2009 alongside John Elliott and the Hereafter.
Although The Blue Hit was named for Rowland’s late cat, Ponie, who has his own song, he is just one of many recurring themes and moods among the tracks on MOVE IN. Modern love, modern life and times, in lyrics that speak to people of all ages: an unprecedented sound that fits the American music scene right now.
Grace Rowland - Vocals
John McGee - Guitar
David Moss - Cello
Move In (May 2009)
PSA April '07
Live at Kerrville Folk Festival
The Blue Hit creates delicate, poetic songs with cello, guitar and a female voice
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November 2009 Straight From The Studio By Ward Lowe The Blue Hit Move In The Blue Hit c...November 2009
Straight From The Studio
By Ward Lowe
The Blue Hit
The Blue Hit creates delicate, poetic songs with cello, guitar and a female voice. The lineup might seem like it would yield a limited sound, but the interaction of these three elements has produced an album of full, well-orchestrated tracks. Singer Grace Rowland is equally adept at playful lyrics and soaring vocals. Check out the haunting "Out the Door," the carnival-style melody of "All the Children" and the near-anthem "If I Could."
The Blue Hit on KXAN
Progressive folk band Blue Hit plays tonight in Alexandria
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Progressive folk band Blue Hit plays tonight in Alexandria By David Dinsmore • August 21, 2009 ...Progressive folk band Blue Hit plays tonight in Alexandria
By David Dinsmore • August 21, 2009
As with seemingly many musical collaborations, The Blue Hit grew out of coincidence. The Blue Hit band will perform at Finnegan's Wake in Alexandria this weekend. (Courtesy photo)
What: The Blue Hit
When: 9 p.m., Friday
Where: Finnegan's Wake, 812 Third St., Alexandria
The Austin, Texas-based trio -- which will be performing at 9 tonight in Finnegans Wake in downtown Alexandria -- got its start with the friendship of multi-instrumentally talented John McGee and stage-shy music student Grace Rowland.
McGee had played with a variety of genre-spanning groups while Rowland was beginning to blossom on-stage with some of her own originals.
The two began playing together after discovering some musical chemistry and performed for about a year as a duo, Rowland said.
While at the Kerrville Folk Fest in 2007, they connected with Chicago-based cellist David Moss, who had been working in the swing and jazz scene of the Windy City.
"I felt he was a musician that could work together with what we were trying to do," Rowland said.
Moss packed up and headed South to add his flair to the sound McGee and Rowland were trying to develop, which early on was along the trip hop lines of Portishead with a spacey, ethereal Jeff Buckley feel.
Though they auditioned drummers, the trio found they could create that feel acoustically and began crafting their own music, Rowland said. They laid down some live tracks on a limited issue EP that quickly sold out of all 250 copies.
They studio-hopped around Texas to produce their second EP effort, which went with them on tour in 2008 across the U.S., Rowland said. By the end of the year, they were in the studio recording their first full-length album, "Move In," which dropped in May.
Now the group is one its fourth tour and will perform them through seven states after a less-than-ideal start in the District of Columbia, Rowland said. While in Washington to perform one of the first shows of the circuit, the band's car was broken into and several pieces of equipment were stolen, including Rowland's microphone.
After replacing the equipment and muddling through a somewhat grumpy day, Rowland said, the band has greatly enjoyed playing for old friends and new fans.
The band has played several shows at Finnegans Wake, Rowland said, and is excited to once again be visiting Alexandria.
"We've developed a really good underground following," Rowland said. "We like it like that right now."
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July 24, 2009 Less is clearly more on TBH's proper debut. The sparse yet engaging backdrop prov...
July 24, 2009
Less is clearly more on TBH's proper debut. The sparse yet engaging backdrop provided by guitarist John McGee and cellist David Moss leaves plenty of room for the precious frailty and jazzy inflections of vocalist Grace Rowland, who recalls Regina Spektor without all the quirk.
Concert Review: The Blue Hit at The Circle Bar on August 19, 2009
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http://liveneworleans.blogspot.com/2009/08/concert-review-blue-hit-at-circle-bar.html Thursday, A...http://liveneworleans.blogspot.com/2009/08/concert-review-blue-hit-at-circle-bar.html
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Concert Review: The Blue Hit at The Circle Bar on August 19, 2009
The Blue Hit is exactly the type of indie/folk/pop band Paste Magazine would be all over, and I think I mighta scooped them for once. It felt like I was watching something special last night at The Circle Bar. Something I might tell people offhandedly three years from now, about how I saw them before they got semi-big, while sounding like a self-important ass in the process.
The Blue Hit is an Austin trio consisting of vocalist Grace Rowland, cellist David Moss, and acoustic guitarist John McGee.
Though McGee and Moss were obviously accomplished musicians that I could see playing in trad jazz bands on the side, most of my attention went to how well Rowland acted out the lyrics. She was a little too good. It was a bit uncomfortable, in a great way, as she narrated a song about cheating in a relationship while her face and voice displayed the condescension and lack of remorse in the cheater.
When she took on a character, she really took it on. If there was a martial tone to the song, she marched, and if a song displayed exasperation, she threw her right hand up to her hairline. She gave herself to the audience, leaving no comfort zone she could revert to. She was vibrant, 100% there--a method musician.
One highlight was a song of spooky, pastoral lyrics. The music boasted beautifully constructed soundscapes that were theatrical, and with or without the vocals, would have sounded great on any horror movie soundtrack.
One thing I liked about this band is that mood was diverse. Another great song from the set was a heartbreaker that showcased the coupling of Rowland's soaring voice and the bowed cello. The cello is pretty great for making things sound sad.
The Blue Hit play Laurelthirst
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Austin based trio, The Blue Hit, bring their compelling sound to The Laurelthirst. The Blue Hit hav...Austin based trio, The Blue Hit, bring their compelling sound to The Laurelthirst. The Blue Hit have an imaginative, elastic sound that careens from a hushed whisper to a gypsy sideshow carnival with mysteriously creeky rides. Vocalist, Grace Rowland moves audiences with thoughtful, powerful lyrics that linger long in the mind of the listener. Her melodies are intriguing and are the perfect compliment to complex arrangements written by band-mates, David Moss and John McGee. Though classically trained, Moss plays a very untraditional style of cello, making the instrument sing in new and unusual ways. The Blue Hit creates a unique sound with unpredictable progressions, intricate counter-melodies and haunting lyrics. They are an inspiring soundtrack to a fantastic movie that references these contemporary times in unpredictable ways.
- The SouthEast Examiner -
- Portland, Oregon-
The Blue Hit 12/18
The Blue Hit CD Review
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The Blue Hit Self-released Blue Hit’s self-released EP is the product of a guitarist, a cellist,...The Blue Hit
Blue Hit’s self-released EP is the product of a guitarist, a cellist, and a vocalist, but their sound is more striking than their small roster might suggest. The Austin-based trio makes music that is at turns light and sweet or dark and brooding, all infused with a twinge of otherworldliness. Singer Grace Rowland’s voice is the centerpiece of The Blue Hit’s sound. She sounds like a Disney princess, if that princess were to leave the forest, take up residence in jazz bars, and learn to hold her liquor. Her voice simultaneously evokes the smoky female vocals ’50s jazz and of ’90s trip-hop: it is interesting and effortlessly beautiful. David Moss’s cello adds a deep and obliquely sad element to the overall sound, and John McGee’s guitar mediates the two. The product is a beautiful album that pits sweetness against loneliness, and positions itself somewhere in between.
The five-track EP starts with “If I Could”, a song that interrupts its swirling, bluesy lows with gently sweeping highs. “Every Morning” suggests a sunnier scene than its predecessor, and “Boys and Girls” is more of an upbeat jazz offering, embellished with strings. “Sad Song” cools down again, focusing on Rowland’s controlled vocals and the mellow instrumentation. “Alone” spins itself darker, and leaves a listener on a lonely and unsettled note. With that, The Blue Hit ends. The album’s trajectory is a bell curve of mood—mellow to warmer to dark again—all in under twenty minutes.
The Blue Hit’s EP is a morsel of honey-sweetened melancholia. The band is currently working on their full-length, due out in April ’08. In the mean time, this EP—plus a version with a few extra live tracks—is available online and at their live shows. Though the EP is just a taste of The Blue Hit’s sound, it is lovely.
The Blue Hit and Aly Tadros pack Momo's in Austin Saturday
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About a week ago, we received a Facebook invite from a friend to see Aly Tadros at Momo's Club in Au...About a week ago, we received a Facebook invite from a friend to see Aly Tadros at Momo's Club in Austin Saturday. Our source had mentioned her before so we checked out a few of her songs and videos. After giving Aly's music a thumbs up ( like the stand-up bass), we contacted her about covering the show. Ms. Tadros graciously replied and we accepted the invitation. Not only was Aly fantastic on stage, she reminded Examiner to stick around for The Blue Hit. Her enthusiasm was such that we took notice and opted to stay and see what Aly was so excited about.
It was Grace. By that, we mean the laviciously, beautiful, crooning voice of Grace Rowland, who is the focal point of The Blue Hit. It's not just Grace's voice that is captivating, it is her undeniable command of the performance. She does these whimsical turns about the stage, stands respectfully to the side to feature her band, David Moss on Cello and John McGee playing the guitar. And she sings with this out-of-this-world dreamyness. Together, the three musicians make spectacularly, gorgeous songs that allow Grace to lead the audience into her fantastical musical world.
See a wonderful video recorded by BalconyTV on Saturday here.
Currently Tadros is scheduled for a couple SxSW showcases, a second European tour and a U.S. Midwest tour. See details here.
The Blue Hit have upcoming shows in Denton, Dallas and San Marcos, Texas. See tour schedule here.
Follow Greg Ackerman - Austin Concerts Examiner on Twitter, Facebook and more here.
The Blue Hit's set is no more than 2 hours, and includes no more than one cover song.
If I Could
Exit The Show
Still In Love
All The Children
Boys and Girls
Out the Door
You Don't Own Me
Five Cent Fare
Two Lovely Young Men
Colors of the Wind
Lights on Mars
There are no upcoming dates at this time.