Wisewater is a young acoustic trio who, while their sound isn’t specifically bluegrass, has solid roots in the music of Bill Monroe.
One is a sort of a legacy artist, as in the heir and scion of a respected icon in the music. Forrest O’Connor, who plays mandolin, guitar and sings, is the son of fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor, and a Harvard-educated musician with a flair for songwriting. You’ll see Mark these days primarily in his role as a classical composer, performer and educator, but as a young man he was a sensation in the fiddle competition and flatpicking guitar worlds, winning multiple major championships as a teen.
Forrest has picked up his father’s passion for music, though he has eschewed the violin for obvious reasons.
With Wisewater, that role falls to Kate Lee, who as a teen prodigy herself, wrote a few articles for us at Bluegrass Today about her activities. Following high school in New York, where she drew notice for her bluegrass singing and fiddling as well as her performance of orchestral music, Kate entered Belmont University in Nashville where she continued to pursue those same fields of study.
And there in Nashville she met O’Connor, where the two formed a romantic and artistic relationship that has culminated in The Demonstration, a five song EP of original music set to release next week.
The third member of the group is Jimmy Shirey, a guitarist who Forrest befriended when they were both at Hardvard. A native Virginian, the two hit it off right away when they began jamming and sharing songs in Cambridge.
The three of them have created a clever video to announce the EP, with a bit of music from the project in the background. It makes note of today being 7 days away from the November 18 release date of The Demonstration.
They had also released a music video for one of the songs, What Have I Been Saying, which shows their music direction as more Americana pop than bluegrass. All the same, we wish these talented young artists the best with the upcoming CD.
Check them out at wisewatermusic.com. They have the flavor of the hugely influential but short-lived folk pop duo, eastmountainsouth. Let’s hope they have a much longer career together.
You can see Forrest and Kate next month on Mark O’Connor’s Appalachian Christmas tour, where they will assist in performing music from Mark’s 2011 album by that same name. Shows are scheduled December 2-22 across the US.