There's no right or wrong way to come to songwriting. For Barry Crannell and Julianna Waters, they took the long way around. Barry is a former Marine who learned to play guitar in the moveable feasts of traditional Celtic, bluegrass and folk music, teaching guitar and performing since the early 1970s in bands like In Cahoots, Wildgeese, and Crannell & Krevans. He's shared the stage with Clive Gregson, Kevin Burke, Michael O'Dohmnaill, Kate Wolf and Bill Staines.
On the other side of the duo, Julianna Waters studied opera and poetry as a young woman. She started writing songs, poetry and prose as a teen, then got her master's degree in social work, and spent 20 years as a psychotherapist. During that time, she continued writing, sang in the duo Rattleheart, and won numerous honors as a songwriter including the Great American Song Contest, Kerrville New Folk, and Mountain Stage New Song Contests.
Where Crannell had a life of accompaniment, Waters had a life of listening. When they found each other, Heart & Hammer began.
With Julianna's strong vocals and Barry's expert touch on the guitar, Heart & Hammer embodies everything that's right about songwriting. Whether leaning on country tunes, taking poetic license with folk sensibilities, or plumbing the raw depths of the blues, Heart & Hammer's music tears down the vagaries of language in favor of simplicity about the biggest of human concerns: love, loss, time, hope and emotional survival.
"It's more about the craft of songwriting and believing in the general emotional truth that songs can convey." Listeners can hear that devotion to songwriting in any Heart & Hammer composition. For example, "That's What I Do" paints a portrait of a man who "brings home dinner, though it ain't much," a man prepared to make the sacrifices that real love requires. "Dave" is a somber but uplifting song about scars and the people who leave them. In "Wide Wyoming Skies," Julianna conjures a desolate trailer park of "cracker boxes with flimsy locks." Little ghosts, unwashed kids and un-kept hounds live under the haunting gaze of "phantoms of the past," while an eight-year-old girl in a ponytail plays horse with a jump rope in her teeth.
Julianna's adds unusual polish to her songwriting. Her vocals are sure, at times rising an octave to offer a glimpse of the operatic training she mastered many years ago. And although her delivery is unquestionably strong, she includes undertones of human frailty—a bit of lilt and rounded corner. "I like to sing," Julianna says, "But I love to write. A singer's voice may fade, but the voice of a writer remains."
Lucky for us, the voices of Heart & Hammer have finally come together.
Where does this band fit in? They're not strictly devoted to any one musical form. Literate without the pomp and circumstance, Heart & Hammer know penny beer nights, but they know wine and cheese, too. It's the music of sunny afternoons and late-night last rounds, growth and harvest, like a journal of poetry mixed with the book of wisdom.
Some songwriters take years to emerge. The important thing is that we continue to listen for them. Heart & Hammer are worth that listen, mainly because they've kept track of time for us. They are telling us stories, a bit about what we've all seen and heard. From strength to strings, from piercing vocals to tender thumbpicking, Heart & Hammer echoes the soul.
Julianna Waters - vocals
Barry Crannell - vocals, guitar, banjo
[+ Show ]
“Poetically resonant and stylistically diverse, Heart & Hammer communicates the many dimensions of t...“Poetically resonant and stylistically diverse, Heart & Hammer communicates the many dimensions of the human heart through the delicate power of remarkable songs.”
--Steve Cahill-- President, Songwriters Resource Network
[+ Show ]
“Moving songs about life and love sung with passion, warmth, and restraint in all the right places.....“Moving songs about life and love sung with passion, warmth, and restraint in all the right places...it's hard not to be empowered by this music...”
--Steve Seskin-- #1 Hit Songwriter - “Don't Laugh At Me”
[+ Show ]
"...Julianna's warm and clear vocals and Barry's acoustic guitar are a treat for the ears...Hopefull..."...Julianna's warm and clear vocals and Barry's acoustic guitar are a treat for the ears...Hopefully, we'll be hearing a lot more from Heart and HAMMER."
--Rindy Ross--Quarterflash, the Trail Band
In a perfect world, we'd go for 2-45 minute sets of our own music, with the occasional cover or traditional tune thrown in the mix.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.
|Jul 8, 2010 Thursday||6:00 PM||Courthouse Concert Series||Enterprise, OR, US|
|May 15, 2010 Saturday||7:00 PM||Fishstock||The Dalles, OR, US|
|Mar 27, 2010 Saturday||5:30 PM||Inn at White Salmon||White Salmon, WA, US|
|Feb 27, 2010 Saturday||7:00 PM||Artichoke Backgate Stage||Portland, OR, US|