Hazel Ra - Photo by Nora HooverHazel Ra is a collection of the art, music, and adventures of Hazel Rickard and her collaborators. 

Since 2008, Hazel Rickard has biked across the country and worked as an artist in residence at Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC and Art Farm in Nebraska. She pieces together chance encounters and stories from those journeys in “The Shadows,” the first studio album by Hazel Ra. Hazel’s songs, at once haunting and comforting, intimate and distant, evoke the storytelling of the great American songwriters—weaving together mythologies, histories, and voices that have become distant over time.

“The Shadows” features a large cast of experienced musicians—violinists, banjoists, guitarists, horn players—each of whom lends a unique personality to the minimalist, modern chamber arrangements. Lush orchestral moments and wispy, soul-wrenching female harmony highlight the songs, which sees traditional folk through the lens of indie rock. The album captures a special and intense sonic moment: the album was recorded at Materials to Outlet in Portland, OR, where engineer Jake Kelly recorded fine talents such as Kimya Dawson, Vikesh Kapoor, and St. Even.

Born and raised in Arcata, CA, Hazel spent her early days wandering through the Redwoods and singing into the wind. When she relocated to Portland, OR in 2006, she connected with the area’s old-time folk music scene. She spent much of her time researching and interpreting American folk music, and performed regularly with the Dapper Cadavers, a dark country band. She also worked on her solo music project, developing a process and a body of work that led to her work as a bandleader for Hazel Ra.

A huge thanks to the musicians involved with this record: Lynnae Gryffin(vocals, banjo, guitar, arrangements), Russell Durham(violin, except Mabel), Jenny Estrin(violin on Mabel), Paulina Jaeger(vocals), Erin Howe(vocals), Heather Rickard(vocals), Kyle Butz(guitars, horns, accordion, arrangements), Thomas Fenallosa(bass).

Special thanks to the lovely artists, photographers, and designers who have been a part of this project: Nora Hoover, Ginny Maki, and Anna Frattalillo.