The Burns Sisters | The Hills of Ithaca

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Folk: Alternative Folk Folk: Alternative Folk Moods: Type: Vocal
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The Hills of Ithaca

by The Burns Sisters

Folk/Americana/Roots music has yet once again emerged as an important, relevant component of musical expression. The Burns Sisters live at the epicenter of this genre and are virtuosos of its expression.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tell the Truth
4:25 $0.99
2. I Got a Woman (Man)
3:39 $0.99
3. Gas Man
5:16 $0.99
4. Your Kiss
3:17 $0.99
5. Prisoner of the Promised Land
3:27 $0.99
6. Working On a Building
3:28 $0.99
7. It Hurts Me Too
3:47 $0.99
8. Lehigh
2:26 $0.99
9. The Hills of Ithaca
4:03 $0.99
10. Underbelly Blues
3:57 $0.99
11. Don't Explain
3:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Folk/Americana/Roots music has yet once again emerged as an important, relevant component of musical expression. The Burns Sisters live at the epicenter of this genre and are virtuosos of its expression.

Born into a large Irish Catholic family, the Burns Sisters were immersed in a world of liberal democratic social consciousness and political activism. Their father, John J. Burns, Sr., was former mayor of Binghamton, Democratic State Chairman for New York, and NY campaign manager for Robert Kennedy during his presidential bid.

Their mother, Teresa Burns was a musical legacy in her own right, a classically trained opera singer and performer extraordinaire. She set the tone for a household that valued music as a daily expression of life.

In their teens and early twenties, the sisters migrated from their native Binghamton to Ithaca and its progressive music scene. Equally at home with rock and blues, folk music has always been their focus. Annie and Marie are both gifted songwriters and producers.

Marie is the soprano and sings high harmony. She loves the old-time sounds of early country and bluegrass, and her lyrically thoughtful original compositions reflect this. Marie also plays rhythm mandolin and, in addition to her work with her sisters, she has two solo albums, Free Little Bird and Good Dog and is a member of Mac Benford & the Woodshed All-Stars.

Annie is a second soprano and sings high or low harmonies depending on the song. She writes prolifically using either piano or guitar for accompaniment. She loves to belt out a rock ballad and has three solo albums to her credit - The Rain, Days in Italy, and Into the Wild.

On her solo recordings, Annie ventures between Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville to seek out the best instrumentalists that will bring her song production to life. She has worked with pianist Dave Arnay; guitar gods G.E. Smith, Jim Kimball, Larry Campbell, and Marc Shulman; bass masters Tony Garnier and Doug Robinson; master of percussion Shawn Pelton; and string magician Stevie Blake. In praise of her voice country star Rosanne Cash comments, "Annie has a bell-like, steady, warm and heartfelt voice. It is so pleasurable to listen to someone who uses her instrument in such a commanding and sensitive way."

Their new CD, "The Hills of Ithaca," is the culmination of the personal maturity and breadth of the relationships with their musical peers - Abe Guthrie, Michael Ronstadt, Bobby Sweet, Radoslav Lorkovic, Jimmy LaFave, Kevin Maul, Tony Markellis, and many others who have contributed their instrumental brilliance to the Burns Sisters latest portrait of the world around them.

Marie performs her haunting arrangement of a Bob Childers' song, "Prisoner of the Promised Land," about the emotional pain of migrant workers. On her own "Gasman," she addresses the timely issue of hydro-fracking and how this is yet another attack on America's natural beauty and public health in the name of profits. Marie sets yet another Woody Guthrie poem to music, "Lehigh," which is a second tribute to the beauty of upstate New York - that place on Earth where the sisters have called home most of their lives. Of his music, Marie says: "Woody Guthrie makes me feel good about the choices I've made in my life as an artist. When I listen to his lyrics, a spark is reignited, and I am reminded of the importance of speaking my mind, standing up for social justice, and to remember to have a good time through it all." As for Annie's effort on "Hills," well-known folk DJ and music critic Gene Shay praises her rendition of Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain": "What a marvelous performance! Lady Day would have loved it, I'm sure."

The sisters' profressional resume includes numerous tour dates with Arlo Guthrie. They have supported him with backup vocals as well as occasionally providing the opening act. This professional relationship has served to further strengthen their passion for Americana folk music.

The Burns Sisters' music presents meaning with seamless melodies and amazing vocals. Their music is filled with warmth and conviction and is equally relevant as any contemporary genre that exists. And, at the end of the day, the Burns Sisters sing together with the authority and passion of a band that knows it's place and is comfortable challenging the audience.



to write a review

Peter Trutmann

Hills of Ithaca
Excellent CD! Varied, high quality with usual unique beautiful harmonies that sets the Burns Sisters apart from the rest. The songs reflect not only deep emotions and talent, but also a strong social conscience, in like 'gas man', so badly needed in these economically and spiritually deprived times. Buy and promote this CD and not only will you invest in great music, but you will help make this a better world!

Carol Minton Morris

It isn't every band that gets to release a CD with a "new" Woody Guthrie song on it. The Burns Sisters' artful combination of original music with roots in the folk tradition, collaborations with talented musicians and straight-to-the-heart harmonies and arrangements makes their new CD a must-have for anyone who loves warm voices on quiet nights.

Betsy diFrancesca

The best 3 part harmony, ever!
I've always loved 3 part harmony, but theirs is something special. And, I love their arrangements of the different cover songs that they do. On this one, the Ray Charles and the Billy Holiday. They were definitely born to sing!