Listening to Hannah Bethel is like being trusted with a secret. Switching seamlessly between stripped back ethereal Americana to strident country rock, its her deeply vivid songwriting that really pulls you in close and places you inside the songs with her; sitting you down in the car between her and her lover in ‘Watertown’ or pulling up a barstool next to you in ‘Ready’.
Her new EP is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
She writes with an almost casual sense of fatalism about heartbreak, love and loneliness, painting with small delicate strokes that overwhelm you as soon as you stand back. The raw honesty of ‘On The Way Down’ is truly breathtaking, as she unsparingly picks through the ruins of a relationship in all its messy glory. It’s her ability to completely submit to her own feelings that gives these songs their weight.
“Sometimes our emotions and circumstances are so overwhelming, we fear that in fully acknowledging them we may be swallowed up completely”, she explains. “But I have found that the secret is in the surrender. Only by scraping the bottom of the barrel of our experiences can we fully move through them, come clean. The only way out is through. This record is about moving through those stages of grief and transition”.
Recorded in Nashville during the pandemic, Until The Sun Comes Back Around is an EP of songs that came together at a time in her life when deeply personal songwriting became her salvation. “It was a strange time to be making a record”, she admits. “We built it up slowly, piece by piece, and we had an amazing group of musicians who brought these songs to life with so much magic”.
“Until the Sun Comes Back Around tells the story of my last few years of life and love. In this season, I learned that in surrendering fully to my experience, I was able to process and ring out the emotions more effectively. And in this process, I was able to find deeper healing, transformation, and inspiration. Everything we experience is a lesson, and every lesson is a gift”.
While Bethel turned to songwriting during this period of transition, she also tapped into less traditional avenues to explore the inner workings of the human soul. She became a Reiki master and certified hypnotherapist to deepen her understanding of what makes us think and feel the way we do, and to, hopefully, connect others to their own purpose and light. For Bethel it all feels part of the same process as writing songs.
“I love being in the heart space with people”, she explains, “and I get to do that both with my music and with my healing practice. Working with my clients on a deeply personally level has helped me to work through my own stories and hurts, and in finding deeper understanding of myself I find deeper inspiration for life. It’s all very connected for me”.
Inspired by 70s soft rock, the songs on Until the Sun Comes Back Around tap into the sound of that era, while adding enough contemporary touches and flourishes to make the songs sound entirely modern.
“I wanted to create something that alluded to that sound, but didn’t mimic it”, she explains. “I love earthy, organic production paired with catchy melodies. I wanted this record to be vulnerable and timeless. I’m really proud of what we’ve made”.
As with all records that came together during the pandemic it feels like there’s something strangely precious about them being released. Like secret tiny birds that have been hatched and hidden away in their nest, finally being lifted up by the hands that have held them safe for so long and left to fly out into the world. It isn’t something that seems to particularly worry Hannah Bethel though.
“It feels great to play these songs live!” she says. “I love to sing them, and I love the way they feel in my body. Each time I perform them it’s like an even deeper level of catharsis and closure. It feels so good to finally share this music”.
Take these songs to your heart and watch them soar.
Until The Sun Comes Back Around is released on March 25th