Little Boat is Rita Hosking’s beautiful and insightful collection of seven new, all original songs, in the country-folk, Americana tradition and was recorded in November 2012 over four days in Austin, Texas at the home studio of Rich Brotherton, who also produced Rita’s highly acclaimed Burn (2011) and the award-winning Come Sunrise (2009). In contrast to those, Little Boat takes a somewhat simpler approach, with Rita on guitar and harmonica, husband Sean Feder on dobro and banjo, daughter Kora Federon clawhammer banjo, and Rich Brotherton on guitar, bass and various acoustic instruments.
The record’s title, Little Boat, comes from a lyric in the song ‘Blow Northwest Wind’ – “man and his little boat, thinkin’ bout what he’s got to show.” Says Rita of the title, “I think it appealed to me because when you’re out on the water in your little boat, you are acutely cognizant of your situation in life at the moment – what you have, and what you have not, to survive or make it where you need to go. It’s just you, mother nature, and your little boat.”
The title also points to the smaller size of the CD, seven songs that share the importance of an album’s journey and the handiness (and price) of a smaller vehicle. The first cut, ‘Parting Glass’, is an intimate, loving, but urgent reminder of mortality shared with Rita’s husband Sean on moving dobro and harmonies. Some songs feature Rita and Sean’s eldest daughter, Kora Feder (age 18) on clawhammer banjo and vocals, as well as one co-write with Rita. ‘Where Time is Reigning’ became a mother-daughter project after a visit to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and subsequent ponderings of the universe and all-powerful Time. What resulted is a poetic, tender banjo and guitar ballad with lovely harmonies and a touch of organ.
‘Clean’ meanwhile is a look inside the mind of a young housecleaner, and ‘Sierra Bound’, was written for a scientist friend of Rita’s inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and ‘Nothing Left of Me’ is reminiscent of an “old-timey Suzanne Vega song”, at least in the words of producer Rich Brotherton. You’ll also hear the lullaby-like ‘Blow Northwest Wind’ where you can imagine the northern Great Lakes, and on which Brotherton plays the tenor guitar he first played, aged eight. The final song, ‘Five Star Location’, seems to pick up where Rita’s 2011 release, Burn, left off on ‘Ballad for the Gulf of Mexico’, where she asked, “what about the war on the working man?” In Rita’s words, “working to middle class, skilled jobs continue to disappear, and we are left looking at Wal-Mart and putting on parties for the rich.”
“Her old-timey, keening vocals and simple accompaniments lie between Iris Dement and Gillian Welch, but her stoical tales and poetic touch are her own” Uncut
Burn made the Observer’s “Hidden Gems of 2011” list, received high praise from The Telegraph, “on scorching form,” and Maverick, “heartfelt country soul set from someone who’s quietly become one of the best.”
“Like Nanci Griffith she has a way of taking tales of hardship, adversity and even death and crafting them into intense and heartfelt masterpieces.” Country Music People
“There’s a grit to her songs and sinewy toughness to her voice that weave their own spell.” Q Magazine
Artist web link: http://www.ritahosking.com/fr_home.cfm
“…the best-kept secret in the country-folk traditionalist movement … it’s high time Hosking got the recognition she deserves.” R2 Magazine
If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.