Hannah & Maggie
New York, NY
SingerSongwriter, Acoustic, Folk, Indie
Simon & Garfunkel, Indigo Girls, The Weepies, Tegan and Sara, The Story
Hannah & Maggie - If you like folk-duos such as Tegan & Sara and Simon & Garfunkel, you'll love Hannah & Maggie http://bit.ly/LXBGtX - #CyberPR
“perfect for relaxing to on warm, summer days... there’s a mesmerizing quality to their harmonious voices”
“Lovely, fresh-voiced harmonies that start and stay clean... avoiding the temptation to overstack or overproduce.”
iTunes fan review
"The reality is that Hannah & Maggie are so much better than the typical vaginarock that floats around lesbian circles (listen don't deny it - I spent 6 years in lesbian circles!) And also really, really cute.”
“The lyrics capture the complexity of how it feels to be in a perfect moment, to move on to new things, to leave home, to be in a place disconnected from what you know - how these young women are able to articulate these things so beautifully just blows my mind”
iTunes fan review
About Hannah & Maggie
Maggie Kraus and Hannah Hickok of the New York folk duo, Hannah & Maggie, had only been playing together a year when they released their debut, Fine Being Here (2011). The summer after the album release they embarked on a successful inaugural tour. Prior to their union, Hannah had built an impressive youtube.com profile with her gorgeous voice and imaginative take on popular covers, and Maggie had honed her guitar skills in rock bands. Each had unique stylistic routes to the intimate singer-songwriter aesthetic they embraced as a combo.
Hannah & Maggie have been favorably compared to the Indigo Girls, The Weepies, and Simon & Garfunkel. The Hamilton College Newspaper, The Spectator, has compared the singer-songwriters to Corinne Bailey Rae, praising “their sweet vocals and great harmonies that put everyone at ease.” My Winter Cap music blog described the duo as “heartbreaking and joyful all at the same time.” MusicDune.com enthused the two’s music is: “perfect for relaxing to on warm, summer days... there’s a mesmerizing quality to their harmonious voices... beautifully familiar.” Autostraddle.com had this to say: "I think what really sets them apart from the hoards of other talented chicks covering songs on youtube is their original music...the reality is that Hannah & Maggie are so much better than the typical vaginarock that floats around lesbian circles."
The duo had a lot of traction for young indie artists—press plaudits, a robust viral profile, and a burgeoning grassroots fanbase— but felt creatively unsatisfied. Hannah & Maggie felt they hadn’t tapped the breadth of their musicality. After some introspective downtime as individuals, and space to nurture their joint creativity, they’ve emerged with the lush, expansive, and emotionally complex sophomore effort, Muscle & Bone. Both are now graduates of Smith College, where they initially met, and Muscle & Bone is their poignant coming of age album.
“Muscle & Bone is based on transit in both our lives,” Maggie reveals. During her junior year, Maggie travelled to Ecuador while Hannah completed her final semester at Smith and prepared to graduate. “It was a turbulent time. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next so this record has deeper, darker emotional stuff.” Hannah adds: “The homes on the album cover; those are the homes where we grew up, the homes we left. But there is a sense that the places and people you love are still a part of you, even when you leave. Even if you move on, you take a little bit with you in your heart, something that stays with you forever.”
There is a mature, insatiable longing and pastoral beauty to the new album. On “Sara,” Hannah & Maggie’s tender high lonesome harmonies sing: Hold this heart, it's slipping/Don't you start/This will take years to come true/This whole house is burning/Watch it now/Promise you'll take it with you. Here there is an elegant ache, nostalgic and sad, but warmly comforting. “Initially, I was eager and excited to go to Ecuador, but when I got there, I found myself writing deep, sad and unresolved songs,” Maggie admits.
“It’s fair to say, up until this point, I’ve been entirely incapable of writing a song that is not sad,” Hannah says with a laugh, “There is always a longing there, but ‘As You Wake’ is the happiest song I ever wrote.” The track has a redemptive gospel feel and a jubilant gait with banjo and buoyant drums. Lyrically, the tune overflows with wide-eyed optimism and celestial harmonies. It sweetly opens with: I am waiting for the sun to rise and the rays to creep up your face/I am hoping, when you open your eyes they will smile and crease as you wake.
The sparkly “Burlington, VT” was a split-down-the-middle collaboration. “We wrote that one together in the same room, that song reads pretty joyful,” Hannah says. Its rich bed of acoustic guitars has some balmy trumpets and stately cellos lending it a more dynamic and nuanced presentation than standard folk fare. Muscle & Bone was recorded at Big Rock in San Diego, and features more lush instrumentation and adventurous arrangements than Hannah & Maggie’s debut. This time they composed with the studio in mind, open to the exciting possibilities of reaching beyond acoustic duo readings of their songs. “Muscle and Bone keeps you on your toes, the songs build with different bridges that catch you off guard,” Maggie allows. “It’s bigger and bolder, and strays from just sitting in a room with acoustic guitars.”
Hannah & Maggie met while attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and singing with the college’s legendary Smiffenpoofs, the nation’s oldest collegiate female a cappella group. “At the time, Hannah had a pretty impressive youtube following. People said beautiful things about her music. ” Maggie says. The two had an instant chemistry and were inspired to pursue a musical partnership after making it to the final round of a local talent search conducted by the Lilith Fair in 2010. They released their critically-acclaimed debut around this time, toured, and landed a plum gig opening for seminal modern folkie Dar Williams.
The two have well-paired strengths. “Maggie is the guitar guru, she played in bands. I never had that collaborative guitar experience,” Hannah says thoughtfully. “Hannah has an angelic voice, she has real control over it and a more intuitive sense of harmony,” Maggie returns. “I have a fear I’ll write Broadway showtunes without realizing it, Maggie keeps me grounded,” Hannah says good naturedly.
Maggie grew up listening to emo and punk. “There was a time I wanted to be in Blink 182. I did a 12-track CD with each song having the same pop-punk chord progression. I cling to the safety net of this chord progression, but Hannah is objective and gives me a good outside perspective. We get along and compliment each other nicely,” Maggie figures.
Despite the bold emotionality of their music, Hannah & Maggie are known for their endearingly playful stage demeanor, garnering favorable comparisons to the wry wit of comic Sarah Silverman. “We both are aware that an hour-long set from musically angsty people with acoustic guitars is a little heavy. I don’t want someone to leave our show and feel sad,” Hannah says. “We have so much fun together, she’s my best friend.” Maggie chimes in: “We’re huge dorks. I think it’s refreshing to approach your audience as you would your friends, and not take what you’re doing so seriously that you can’t joke about it.”
Both grew up with families deeply enamored by core folk artists like James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell. “I can remember being five years old in the car and my dad singing note for note with James Taylor. He was doing a harmony and I remember being impressed with that,” Hannah says reflecting back. “I remember being 11, my dad putting on Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘An American Tune,’ and thinking, ‘Oh my God there is such sadness in this music,’” Maggie says introspectively. “We came from different backgrounds, but found the folk music we grew up with as a common thread.”