Donna Ulisse album on the way

Also in the studio this month is singer/songwriter Donna Ulisse who has just finished up a new project for Hadley Music Group.

Donna has two previous Hadley Music CDs featuring her lovely voice and fine original songs. She had a cup of coffee as a Nashville country artist in 1991, when she released an album on Atlantic Records. The record, Trouble At The Door, saw some success with a number of singles and videos, but ultimately the contract was not renewed.

Since that time, Ulisse has focused on her songwriting which over time, has returned to the sound of the mountain music she learned as a young girl – and was more firmly cemented when she married into bluegrass royalty (her husband, Rick Stanley, is a cousin to Dr. Ralph).

Donna shared a few words about the new project, along with some studio photos, for readers here on Bluegrass Today.

“The project is called Holy Waters and once again I wrote or co-wrote all the tunes, with the exception of my favorite Carter Stanley song Who Will Sing For Me. The theme is a soul journey and the songs are inspirational. I have been sitting on some of these songs for years now waiting on an opportunity to cut an album like this.

Keith Sewell has done another WONDERFUL job producing this selection of songs. You know, we went into this recording process thinking it was going to one thing and it turned out to have a life of its own and is certainly another thing altogether. Keith’s sincere excitement over this work is infectious. We are having a great time working together. I love what he does with my songs. He’s a genius in my book. Right this moment he is completing the mixes. After that it will take a quick trip to the mastering dude, John Baldwin and then……

The band on these recordings are Byron House (bass), Andy Leftwich (mandolin), Scott Vestal (banjo), Rob Ickes (resonator guitar) and Keith Sewell (fiddle, guitar). The wall of harmonies are Keith Sewell, Rick Stanley (who also co-wrote a few of these songs with me) and Wendy Buckner Sewell. We were figuring that what we did on the last two CDs wasn’t broke, so we didn’t go and try to fix it. This group of very talented individuals have created my sound and seem to embrace my songwriting.

It’s a miracle everytime they get a hold of one of my songs…a miracle. I can’t get over (and really hope I never do) the morphing that happens from the time they hear what I’ve written in it’s most raw form until the red light goes on in the studio and the reshaping starts. What a rush!!!!!”

Ulisse further tells us that her return to recording and performing in bluegrass has brought new meaning to her life, as well as a sense of artistic “rightness.”

“I’ve been dreaming lately that my story, my ‘real’ story about this music life that I’m living is that God never gave up on me even when I had given up on myself! I can’t believe that after all the rough years in the music business that bluegrass has saved my music life. Here I am, happier than I have EVER been, making music so bittersweet that it makes my eyes dart constantly, and truly seeing the hand of God in every note.

I am a blessed girl and smart enough to hold on tight and give thanks every minute.”

Hadley Music Group created this video introduction to give new fans an overview of Donna’s life and her music.

Introducing Donna Ulisse from Hadley Music Group on Vimeo.

Holy Waters is expected to hit by mid-March, 2010.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • I’m so very thankful and happy that I discovered Keith Sewell several years ago after his first self-penned project and a year or so, later, discovering Donna Ulisse and her great vocal and songwriting talents. WHO KNEW that these 2 multi -talented and beautiful people were out there, working every day, writing beautiful songs, arrangements and compositions, and singing them too! Yet too few folks, were and are finding out about them. HAPPY IS THE DAY – I put their CD’s in the player and discovered what I call, their “gorgeous ‘grass music “. I used the word gorgeous because the songs are so beautiful to me. Hearty and heartfelt congratulations and a big thanks to Donna and Keith on their efforts of bringing the world great new music to listen to; they’ve become some of my regular favorites. I hope to someday meet them and thank them, in person, for their musical influences and contributions, to my own personal music library!

    Gracie Muldoon

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