The Wild Unrest
-Frank Gutch Jr., NoDepression.com
From the deep woods, Beth Whitney emerges with a stunning follow up to The Wild Unrest. Recorded just weeks before lockdown in 2020 with her long-time producer, Brandon Bee, Into the Ground, examines unlamented laments and uncovers wisdom from the wilderness with orchestral sweeps on a bed of simmering strings and earthy rhythms. Beth introduced the album’s first single “Wild Roses” on her late brother’s birthday in August of 2020, and will release the full album in 2021 with Tone Tree Music.
“We talk so much as a culture about flying and souring into the sky,” the Pacific Northwest singer notices, “but it's really been a season of digging into the ground for wisdom, acknowledging needed work and healing, and hopefully, planting healthier things for tomorrow.” Full of humming strength and earthy resilience, Into the Ground picks up where The Wild Unrest left off, venturing further into the high country and into the ground beneath with an awakened patience and surrender.
Beth Whitney’s songs, written mostly in a log cabin outside Leavenworth, WA, with husband/upright bassist, Aaron Fishburn, hum with whispering and broken tones and what No Depression called an “almost medieval approach” to modern folk. Born to a poetic carpenter and a singing painter, Beth was raised with her five siblings at a much lower elevation on a small farm nestled between dark waters of the Puget Sound and sleepy foothills of western Washington.
As an athlete in high school, Beth wasn’t involved in choir or band, but took up the guitar at 15 after a compound fracture on her right hand took her out for a season. “I was a pitcher so that specific injury put a nice dent in my softball career” she laughs. “Then Leroy, a kind old man at church, gave me a guitar and said, ‘Could you use this?’ And I decided that I could.” So with fingers splinted and taped together, she put her glove aside and picked up the guitar instead.
“I’ve spent quite some time trying to figure out how I could use the guitar Leroy gave to me. One of the first things I did was write a song for my sophomore English project. Later I used it to chisel at mysteries like love and grief and all that. I’ve used it to earn attention, hoping, I think, that might translate to love or acceptance. I use it to pray. I use it to lean against and hide behind if my voice shakes. I use it as a bridge and a landscape for poetry. I use it to tell stories. I use it because it was given to me.”
Beth found an appreciative ear with Malamute Records in 2007 and with the support of the Malamute team, Beth and Aaron recorded and toured Leave Your Shoes which was featured on local Seattle stations such as 90.3 KEXP, and over 250 stations across the US. The pair married in late 2008, and soon after, Yellow was recorded with producer Brandon Bee and released independently in 2010, as was Ukulele (2012.) Both independent albums were put into heavy rotation by local AAA stations, won several songwriting awards, and paved the way for multiple west coast tours in an awkward white conversion van they affectionately named, Valcor.
In 2013, after the birth of their son, Beth partnered with neighbor and fellow artist, Bradford Loomis, to write and record a self-titled album, The Banner Days (2014) and Hand Me A Hymnal (2015.) The collaboration garnered critical acclaim while they toured extensively across the nation including a performance at the Lincoln Center in New York, and reached over 2 million streams on Spotify for their co-write, "My Beloved."
Beth had their second child in 2017, and a few happy but sleepless months later, released The Wild Unrest, a seasoned collection of songs with “sweeping dark elegance…and imagery nothing short of breathtaking” -The Daily Vault. Though Beth and Aaron decided to forgo touring and only perform regionally with the new baby in tow, the album was released at The Triple Door in Seattle, earned placements on network tv shows, and earned a featured performance of “Raven” with the Wenatchee Valley Symphony.
Beth has shared stages with friends and heroes such as Courtney Marie Andrews, Brett Dennen, Anna Tivel, Jeffrey Martin, Damien Jurado, JJ Heller, and Jamestown Revival.
Sounds like: Sarah Watkins, Of Monsters and Men, Hayley Williams (Paramore), Audrey Assad, Ben Harper, Ingrid Michaelson, and Allison Krauss.