Hem reached my consciousness through, of all things, a Liberty Mutual advertisement. I’m not normally one to find the entreaties of an insurance company particularly compelling, but the music was so moving, so touching, that I had to find out who it was, and I immediately ran out and grabbed as much of their music as I could get my hands on. It turns out that “Rabbit Songs,” the album from which the Liberty Mutual track (“Half Acre”) is taken started out as a project to make an album that, in the words of the band members, “they could love for the rest of their lives” — and I’d say that it’s mission accomplished.
This is due in no small part to the simply remarkable vocal talents of Sally Ellyson, who auditioned for the band by sending in a demo tape of lullabies. You can see how that would work, and why the other band members might be so taken with her voice. If you’ve never heard Hem before, you’ll be hearing them in your head a lot more from now on.