Originally from the mountains of Virginia, Anya’s music is steeped in the tones of Folk and Bluegrass and seasoned by travels across the world. A founding member of Asheville-based bands Dehlia Low (Rebel Records) and Tellico (Organic Records), Anya will release tracks from her first full-length album under her own name this year on Organic Records.
Hinkle won the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition in 2019 and was a finalist in the Hazel Dickens Song Contest for her song “Ballad of Zona Abston,” featured on Tellico’s 2018 release Woven Waters. The album, produced by Irish guitar legend John Doyle (Transatlantic Sessions, Joan Baez, Tim O’Brien), had a #1 single, #1 band and #2 album ranking on the Folk DJ charts in November 2018.
Anya Hinkle now joins the celebration of the arrival of springtime, a long favored pastime of poets and songwriters. In this year especially, as we emerge not just from winter, but also from deeply trying times, the theme and need for renewal in both the natural or spiritual realm resonates with all of us. The lengthening of the days, the warm light of the sun becomes ever more present, and the hardship and self-reflection engendered by the isolation winter brings, especially during a world-wide pandemic, gives way to more tranquil and even uplifting moods.
For Anya Hinkle, capturing the mood of this unique season needed no words, and so her latest single for Organic Records, “Meditation: Beyond the Shores of Darkness” wound up being an instrumental composition, one that nevertheless says all that needs to be said. “The past year has been unprecedented in its darkness,” the singer/songwriter confesses. “The uncertainty eats away at the fiercest sense of discipline, at any sense of purpose; it’s felt very difficult to continue moving forward at times. When I wrote this song, I planned to write words. But there weren’t any. I was living beyond language. Tears rolled down my face onto my guitar as I explored the fingerboard for chords that revealed new facets of this journey inside. Each one of us is feeling our way through,” she adds. “Sitting in the isolation of our being, journeying to new places we never took the time to see before. This song sits with pain, boredom, anxiety, and after awhile we tire of that; our mind flits elsewhere, curious, open, childlike.”
With the assistance of cousins Julian Pinelli (fiddle) and Duncan Wickel (cello), “Meditation” traverses its three and a half minutes with almost somber restraint, opening with a statement of the main melody via Hinkle’s fingerpicked guitar before entering a darker, almost mysterious middle passage that introduces hushed, atmospheric notes from Pinelli and Wickel. A pause leaves the listener suspended before the trio returns to the original melody, voiced now by guitar and fiddle, with cello joining in just before one last passage recontextualizes the melody’s air of hope with the moodiness of the middle passage in an ultimately satisfying resolution.
A notable change of pace from her usual lyric-driven songcraft, Anya Hinkle’s “Meditation: Beyond The Shores Of Darkness” is an evocative composition, echoing an internal transformation that many listeners will recognize in themselves through its redemptive sonic journey from darkness to light.
With vivid storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Anya Hinkle explores the beauty of song craft through the lens of the Appalachian string band tradition.