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Music indie folk-rock Hem band pictures (pic) and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
In 1999, songwriter Dan Messe and producer Gary Maurer teamed up and decided to produce a record. Dan and Gary's friend, Steve Curtis, quickly hopped on the bandwagon, but none of them knew any potential singing talents for the band, so the band placed an advertisement in The Village Voice, but pulled the ad after being overwhelmed with an onslaught of demo tapes
Later, a woman by the name of Sally Ellyson called Messe in response to the ad, but cautioned that she wasn't really a "singer". In an attempt to satisfy her, Dan skeptically asked for a demo but was surprised when he heard the very spare tape, a sample of unaccompanied classical lullabies that Sally had made for the son of a long-time friend. Messe was impressed - Hem had found itself a singer, and so began the development of the collection of music that would later be known as Rabbit Songs. Several of Ellyson's lullabies from the original tape have since surfaced on official Hem releases. Rabbit Songs opened with the lullaby "Lord, Blow the Moon Out, Please." Eveningland featured "Now the Day is Over" as a hidden track (at the end of the track "Carry Me Home"), and their third album opened with another lullaby, "All the Pretty Horses."
Rabbit Songs was a mild success, receiving press coverage on NPR's "All Songs Considered" and a positive review from Entertainment Weekly. Unfortunately, problems at Dreamworks Records delayed the release of their second album, Eveningland.
Eveningland was later released on Rounder Records, and was also a success, with positive reviews coming from domestic music media such as Pitchfork Media and internationally, such as the BBC.
Hem's third album, No Word From Tom, was released by Nettwerk in early 2006. It is a combination album of cover songs (similar to their EP I'm Talking With My Mouth), live versions songs from prior albums, and new material.
They received a large career boost in mid-2006, when their song "Half-Acre", from Rabbit Songs, was featured in a television commercial for Liberty Mutual insurance, bringing their music to many who would not otherwise have heard it. Liberty Mutual used Hem again in 2007, this time with a newer song, "The Part Where You Let Go."
The fourth album, Funnel Cloud, was released on September 5th, 2006. One of the songs from the album, "Not California", was recently featured on "All Songs Considered." The album was recorded with a 21-piece orchestra, and with help from former The Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and guest vocalist Amy Helm (one of the vocalists from Ollabelle and the daughter of Levon Helm). Funnel Cloud was dedicated to the memory of Dermot FitzGerald who helped to finance the band during their early career.