How is it that the music of Rita Hosking keeps getting better and better? Maybe that’s not a surprise to some, but I have another question: how is it that she is not a household name among we folk music enthusiasts? She should be by now.
We know her music around this house. Fiddlefreak has reviewed the last three of her previous 6 albums, and we were thrilled when she sent us her seventh record, titled For Real. Set for release on April 10, the new album was recorded and mixed by Steve O’Neill at Foxtail Sound in Dixon, California. Rita produced it, and her husband Sean Feder played a big part, as usual. All songs were written by Rita except “Honey’s Home” by Rita Hosking and Kora Feder, and the bonus track, written by Kate Wolf. Supported by a wonderful blend of guitar, banjo, dobro, and harmonica, Rita’s voice sounds as tender and compelling as ever. The sound of this record is gorgeous and real.
With these songs, she has put her finger on the pulse of America by addessing some of the issues that face us today: fake news, racism, homelessness, environmental destruction, and the disconnects created by rampant technology. The triumph of For Real is that these tragedies do not overcome her. Instead, she finds hope and renewal in her family, the natural world, and simple melodies. The same things that have always sustained women and men on this precious earth that we all share.
For me, songs are about truth. It feels good to sing it, it feels good to give it a home. I am alarmed by the frightening war on documented facts and sound data, so this record got the name, “For Real.” Along those lines, one of the songs, called “Maybe Elvis,” toys with the idea of what is real, and the dangers of our vulnerability to Facebook memes and other propaganda. I aspire to give my truest self in music, and am rewarded with audiences who in turn share their true selves with me. As the last song on the album says, there are good people wherever you go. –Rita Hosking
LISTEN: Maybe Elvis
LISTEN: Good People