Raine Hamilton’s Brave Land, out today, is a concept album: inspired by the mountainous landscape they encountered while touring, it’s music made for reaching between different worlds, centering around courage, connection and wisdom, and showcasing resonant chamber-folk with prism-clear, bright vocals and strings along the way.
“It’s about the beauty of being alive and the courage that can take,” Hamilton says of the album’s title track, a theme that also weaves throughout the album as a whole.
“At first, I was confused when mountain dwellers would give directions like, ‘Go up the mountain and turn left.’ Up? We don’t have directions like that on the prairie. It is not a thing. But up really intrigued me,” Hamilton says of the album. “If the prairie was teaching me to be still, the mountains were teaching me to move. Mountains are a landscape that connects two different worlds. They are land, reaching up into the realm of the sky. Wow. That is brave, I thought. This brave land connecting the earth-bound into spirit.”
Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Hamilton grew up writing songs as part of a musical family. Their music stretches the boundaries of contemporary folk, combining the traditions of singer-songwriter, lyric-centered songs, and fiddling, with classically influenced string parts that borrow from a renaissance counterpoint.
For both Brave Land and Hamilton’s 2018 release, Night Sky, they worked with longtime collaborators Quintin Bart on double bass, and Natanielle Felicitas on cello. The three musicians have been co-composing arrangements and recording the newest album since fall 2019, interrupted in March 2020 by the pandemic and completed over the summer.
Hamilton has toured as a professional singer-songwriter and chamber folk artist since 2014, releasing two previous albums, Past Your Past in 2015, and Night Sky in 2018. They are the recipient of the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year, and have toured Canada extensively, driving, flying, and floating their way coast to coast. They have performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and festivals including Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Atlin Festival, Home County, Filberg Fest, Lilac Fest, Harvest Moon, and Trout Forest, among others.
A believer that music is for everyone, and that we all have something to share, they offer workshops in songwriting and fiddle-tune writing, and offer concerts with American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, to help make live music and the community that comes with it more accessible to the Deaf community.