I Belong To The Band from Anya Hinkle

Organic Records has released a new single today for Anya Hinkle, which comes from an unexpected 20th century source.

Most folks know Anya as a songwriter a well as a singer, both from her time with Tellico and her more recent status as a solo artist. But for this new track, she tapped a very influential American artist who gets little recognition outside of those who study and follow folk music closely.

She says that it came her way as most music does, through a fellow musician.

“I discovered I Belong To The Band thanks to my friend and clawhammer banjo master, John Herrmann, who gave me a recording of it by their old-time band, The Ruglifters. The song resonated so deeply with me for its simplicity, its inclusiveness, and the sense of gratitude it imparts. It was written by Rev. Gary Davis, and originally recorded with his signature fingerstyle blues guitar and powerful voice.

When Billy Cardine and I sat down to arrange it for the studio, Billy laid down a dobro lick that emanated from his joyful and fun-loving spirit. When we added Julian Pinelli (fiddle), Thomas Cassell (mandolin), Johnny Calamari (bass), and a 3-part Gospel chorus of Mary Lucey, Julian Pinelli, and myself, it intuitively had a swingy, playful, joyful New Orleans string band sound that really captures the feeling we discovered playing together last year. I sang ‘Hallelujah, I belong to the band!’ with all my heart when we walked into Crossroads Studio to record it with help from Jon Weisberger (producer) and Van Atkins (engineer).”

You can hear the spirit she describes in this brief video clip, set against scenes of Anya and her crew in the studio.

Hinkle also discussed her unexpected foray into solo artistry.

“When the personnel in my band, Tellico, turned over early in 2019, I began transitioning to performing under my own name. But I still had a full calendar of band shows I was scheduled to perform, including a European tour and official showcases at IBMA.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I would pull it all off, but I somehow managed to find a group of musicians that showed up for me in every possible way that I needed. They allowed me to experience music with more gratitude than I have ever felt, making the best music I’ve ever made in my life, and the best I’ve ever felt making it. We performed this song at every show that we played.”

Makes sense as a debut single for a new project.

I Belong To The Band is available now wherever you stream or download music online. Radio programmers can find it at AirPlay Direct.

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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.