PREMIERE: Sinner Friends — Rita

BLUEGRASS PRIDE EXCLUSIVE: There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that Sinner Friends are releasing a single, “Rita,” off their highly-anticipated full-length album that is out today via Bristol, Virginia’s Bigtone Records.

Alright, there is no bad news. But, if you consider that the heart of country music is just bad news gospel music, then press play and hand me your best bad news any day of the week.

Multi-instrumentalists Grace van’t Hof and Conner Vlietstra—better known as Sinner Friends—launch their album, Bad News Gospel out into the world.

Sinner Friends crafted an album that stands out not only as an homage to the power of the past but also to the testament of two very talented tunesmiths, present tense. Sinner Friends stand on the shoulders of the forebears of early American music to release this collection of songs.

“Rita” waltzes out of a memory as van’t Hof captures the embarrassment and rush of complex emotions after an encounter with a beautiful pedicurist. After sharing the experience with her fellow human, the bubble pops and van’t Hof is left with longing from a chance meeting so seemingly inconsequential—yet, so hard to leave behind. 

“I had the surprising experience of feeling intense love-like emotions when I went to get a pedicure and was startled by the kindness and gentleness of this beautiful stranger, Rita. I got flustered and kept apologizing and tripping over my words as she patiently walked me through the appointment. After I left feeling a little like I’d left part of my heart behind in the foot bath, I wrote about that surprise in this number about how much it hurts to split up, even when you know from the first moment that a relationship isn’t meant to be.”
Accompanying van’t Hof is Sinner Friend Connor Vliestra on a steady rhythm guitar and harmony vocals. Vliestra follows van’t Hof’s lead vocals with precision and conviction and to keep it all in the family, van’t Hof circles back to sing the high harmony part. Katelyn Lowe adds a reassuring voice on accordion which adds a midwestern country flavor. van’t Hof and Lowe are both Michigan natives and share that regional bond. Engineer and owner of Bigtone Records, Jon Atkinson, rounds out the sound on upright bass.

Intrigued? You should be. Listen to Rita as many times as you think necessary and then once more to avoid painful regret.

Sinner Friends’ Bad News Gospel is available now at the Bigtone Records and the Sinner Friends online store

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