Heavily influenced by the confessional alternative folk stylings of Ani DiFranco, Anaïs Mitchell began writing songs when she was 17. Born in Vermont, she attended Middlebury College and traveled throughout the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe studying global politics before alighting in Austin, TX, in the early 2000s.
Her 2010 “folk-opera” Hadestown is an honest-to-god album, the kind whose songs tell a story from beginning to end—specifically, the ancient Greek myth of the poet Orpheus and his doomed quest to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. In Mitchell’s hands, the familiar saga is reimagined as unfolding in a version of the U.S. that simultaneously evokes our Depression-era past, the current financial disaster (though it was written before the stock market collapse), and a post-apocalyptic future. It’s a land where people hide behind walls in a misguided attempt to preserve their “freedom” and protect their riches.