Heathcote Hill Rocks a Folky Family Vibe on “The Stories We Are Told”

When one thinks of music videos depicting faded photos from childhood and a progression to the present day, there might be a slight inclination to believe the band using said creative direction, hails from somewhere akin to a small town in the U.S. – the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else and there are regular reflections on collectively shared local memories. Well, Mamaroneck, New York isn’t exactly what one would call small town with its population of 29,563 but the tightly knit bond of the six members of Mamaroneck band, Heathcote Hill certainly resonates well with this artistic approach, which is the primary backbone of their newest release.

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Today, the band has a new single, “The Stories We’re Told,” ready to share and it comes alongside a music video full of photogenic nostalgia, complete with sepia tones, greyscale, and incidental film lines.

Active since 2016, Heathcote Hill is an easy going group that links together the tonal solidity of rock with the friendly demeanor and melodically light nature of folk and roots. Though Megan Porcaro Herspring, (Vocals);Tom Nelson, (Guitar);Tory Ridder, (Drums); Akil Kadin James, (Bass);
Mike Bishop, (Keys); and Vanessa Senn Ridder, (Supporting Vocals) aren’t part of a one-horse-town, this collection of musicians definitely embodies the everyday folk’s kind of life, as well as relate’s to one another’s, in between their music making. Non-musical occupations, spouses, families, and necessary errands of daily life all occupy the days of Heathcote Hill’s players, in addition to needing enough practice, recording, and assembling time to release four records over four years. If having so much to juggle makes the band sound busy, the tipping point for the new song’s concept shows the band will make time to adequately slow down, reflect, and be in the moment – present or past.

“I was remembering how my Mom and Dad used to read to us as kids and I wanted to write about why something so innocent is so important.” says Nelson, who also serves as the band’s primary songwriter. “It was director, Adam Reist’s, idea to illustrate ‘The Stories We Are Told’ with photos of us as kids. What fun to see the band grow up before your eyes.” he says.

The song definitely has an earnestness to it. Everything from the lyrics, to the music video’s design aesthetic and content, to the very tone of the band’s instruments, gives off an endearing kind of character and a sense of purity, even in the face of a video meant to showcase the look of time-worn imperfections. The little flourishes of almost-hidden organ harmony sliding underneath a crisp and clear main keys line that evokes a very “Walking in Memphis” vibe, the bright snap of Ridder’s snare keeping the bat and adding a sonic spark – all are refreshing contrast against the video’s visuals. Meanwhile, Porcaro’s voice, which is simultaneously bold in delivery and warm in tone, binds all the parts like a sonic glue.

 “Megan has such a wonderful storytelling quality to her voice, and our band was completely ‘on’ in the studio that day. Listen to Akil’s bass part or Mike’s piano. I’m just really proud of us.”

Every nuance of individuality is evident on “The Stories We Are Told” but all the musical elements sound like they belong together and no one is trying to drastically outshine anyone else, even during the brief guitar solo near the end. Heathcote Hill genuinely play with the spirit of all-for-one kind of group and that only enhances the sentimental, familial character of the song.

Oh, i guess you never really know
These are the stories we are told
And as you go, what will you carry down this road?
Just the stories we are told.

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