A couple of years ago, Hannah and Ben played a delightful set in the Guildhall Theatre as part of the EFDSS Folk Rising series, and we were all captivated. It’s a treat to see them return to Derby to appear at the festival this year.
Huddled round a single microphone, singing intimate duets with just mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage are a folk duo that look and sound classically timeless, yet feel refreshingly unique. Fleetingly, they may evoke a memory of Gram & Emmylou, Shirley & Davey, or Gillian & David but their warm distilling of influences from both sides of the big pond produces a refined sound that is decidedly their own.
“Spellbinding… Hannah and Ben were born to play and sing together.” fRoots (Nominated albums of 2016 in Critics Poll)
Recorded in Toronto with award-winning Canadian producer David Travers-Smith (Ruth Moody, Wailin’ Jennys, Jason & Pharis Romero) their album Before The Sun captures all the intimacy of the pair’s live showand delicately sets it to beautifully crafted soundscapes that rise and fall immersively. The record features renowned guests from both sides of the pond, including Jon Thorne (Lamb, John Smith), Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash), Jim Causley and Katriona Gilmore (Gilmore & Roberts).
★★★★★ “An exquisite soundscape, which is the result of passion, precision and unbridled intimacy. An album to venerate” R2 Magazine
Both hailing from folk singing families in the flatlands of East Anglia, Hannah spent much of her formative years touring Europe with her family band in a converted school bus, singing folk songs acapella in the street in order to make enough money to move to the next city. However, a sea change and relocation to the US saw her soak up the influences from the American North East and take up the dulcimer. Meanwhile Ben was writing and touring with celebrated UK folk band The Willows whose albums Beneath Our Humble Soil and Amidst Fiery Skies were championed by the likes of the BBC’s Bob Harris and Mike Harding. Within weeks of moving back the UK, Hannah braved her first time out solo at The Black Fen Folk Club, Cambridge and as fate would have it, Ben had just returned from tour. Ben went on to produce Hannah’ssolo debut, Charms Against Sorrow, released inearly 2015 to critical acclaim.
★★★★ “One of the year’s best folk duo albums” Songlines Magazine
Nurturing an intuitive musical understanding and a love of the duet whilst touring the pair worked up the collection of traditional and self-penned duets that formed the basis for Before The Sun. Hannah & Ben undertook a 26-date UK tour through autumn 2016, then support for Sarah Jarosz in London’s Union Chapel before returning to Canada for tour dates with Oh Susanna!