Since forming in Boston in 2009, Nashville-based string band Della Mae has established a reputation as a charismatic live act comprised of some of the finest players in bluegrass, Americana and beyond.
Originating from different musical backgrounds and states across the US and Canada, each member brings distinct elements that make Della Mae such a beloved band. Together they have a completely original style – sensitive yet assertive, intense yet playful, steeped in tradition yet undeniably current. Versatile instrumentalists and vocalists, they draw from a bottomless well of roots influences to create vibrant original music that conveys expansive musical vision. With timeless lyrical truth-telling and an unmistakably contemporary sensibility, they stand alongside such roots-conscious acts as the Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, the Lumineers, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
They were IBMA’s Emerging Artists of the Year in 2013, GRAMMY Nominees in 2014 for their debut album on Rounder Records, named among Rolling Stone’s “10 bands to watch for in 2015,” and have since traveled with the US State Department to over 18 countries spreading peace and understanding through music.
Through powerful experiences traveling the world together, the group discovered that Della Mae is more than a recording and touring band. Their mission to make a difference in the world emerged, and it became clearer that reflection was required to determine Della Mae’s next move.
In May 2016, after six years of extensive touring (averaging 220 days on the road per year, travel to over 30 countries and almost all US states), Della Mae took a break from the road. Each member took time to regroup, to pursue individual passions and projects, to regain footing, and to reflect on what they had just done – individually and together. This reflection revealed what Della Mae has come to mean to thousands of fans, to young girls worldwide, and to themselves.
Now, Della Mae is embarking on a new chapter together.
For summer and fall 2018, to further their mission of showcasing top female musicians, select appearances will feature special guests including GRAMMY award winning banjo player Alison Brown, Bonnie Paine of Elephant Revival, original Della Mae guitarist Avril Smith, and more.
Della Mae is also excited to be writing for their next album, to be recorded this fall/winter.
Della Mae is:
Celia Woodsmith—vocals, guitar
Kimber Ludiker—fiddle, vocals
Jenni Lyn Gardner—mandolin, vocals
Zoe Guigueno—bass, vocals
Becky Warren's sophomore album, Undesirable, is about humanity. Distilling the stories of a group of homeless and formerly homeless entrepreneurs in her home base of Nashville, Warren relays the essence of the human experience, and shines a spotlight on the relatable, common ties that bind us together, regardless of our demographic.
Following the success of her first solo album, War Surplus, the gritty love story of an Iraq War vet and his girlfriend partly inspired by Warren's own life, many asked her, "How the hell do you plan to follow that up?" After the album earned her a Veterans Day feature on NPR's All Things Considered, a regular opening slot with The Indigo Girls, and an A rating from the dean of American rock critics himself, Robert Christgau, Warren admits that even she sometimes worried she wouldn't be able to make a second record she was as happy with. With this new and inspired set of compelling, catchy, guitar-driven songs in the spirit of heartland rock n’ roll masters like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, Undesirable puts those worries to rest.
"The rewarding thing for me about the response to my last album," Warren says, "was that it gave me a chance to write about veterans—a group of people who are often seen as somehow different or 'other'—in ways that showed listeners that their struggles and lives are actually really similar." So when Warren started planning her second project, she looked around for another group of people who seemed "othered,” and right away she thought of one of her favorite things about Nashville: The Contributor, Nashville's street paper, which is sold around town by homeless and formerly homeless vendors. The vendors buy the paper from the non-profit that produces it, and then sell it for a profit. Warren went to a few "paper releases,” the weekly event where vendors can buy the new issue for the first time, but quickly realized that the best way to learn people's stories was to approach vendors as they were selling, introduce herself, and ask to talk with them while they sold the paper.
In less talented hands, the result might have been political, didactic, depressing. But for the protagonists of Warren's songs, homelessness is never a defining characteristic. Instead, they're people who are mourning loss, ditching bad relationships, striving against ruthless odds, falling in love—in other words, completely human. "I actually thought there would be a fair amount of overlap with subjects I already knew well from writing about a veteran with PTSD—mental health, substance abuse—but I learned after just a couple interviews that those were complete misconceptions," Warren admits. "To make a living selling The Contributor, you have to get up every day, no matter the weather, take a long bus ride, and stand outside for hours making a real connection with your customers, like any good salesperson. You have to be incredibly hardworking, with an unshakable belief in yourself to make it work."
Supporting Warren on Undesirable is an impressive musical cast led by producer/guitarist Dan Knobler (Lake Street Dive, Rodney Crowell, Kelsey Waldon), including Warren's longtime bassist Jeremy Middleton (also of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen) and her friend and musical mentor, Indigo Girl Amy Ray, whose vocals make the blistering first track, "We're All We Got", a standout, and an anthem for the people portrayed on Undesirable, who've been dealt a tough hand but are determined to play it and win.