NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- June 15, 2018 -- Today, Grammy-award winning legends Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer join noted multi-instrumentalist Sam Gleaves to release their debut album, SHOUT AND SHINE, as the trio Fink, Marxer & Gleaves. SHOUT AND SHINE merges a variety of traditional instrumentation with modern messages about the power of love, acceptance, and the importance of diversity. The album has been critically acclaimed by Bluegrass Today and The Women’s International Music Network, who exclusively premiered the title track from the album. Distributed by Redeye, SHOUT AND SHINE is available via Amazon, iTunes, and the band’s website. Fink, Marxer & Gleaves are currently touring throughout the summer (full dates below).
Bridging the gap between deep-rooted tradition and modern social issues, SHOUT AND SHINE is a testament to the fact that not only can the two topics peacefully coexist, they are also overwhelmingly valuable and important. Fink, Marxer & Gleaves first came together at Common Ground on the Hill, a traditional arts festival in Westminster, Maryland, where Sam Gleaves met folk legends Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. After bonding over a love of traditional music and social justice, the three began to play together and formed a quick friendship. As their trio debut, SHOUT AND SHINE spotlights the incredible and unconventional friendship between the three — Cathy being 64, Marcy being 62, and Sam being 25 — brought together by the culture, power, love, and community of roots music.
Social pioneers and master musicians Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer first began playing together over 35 years ago. As artists, their boundless discography includes a diverse mix of folk, country, bluegrass, old-time, and children’s music. They’ve toured worldwide, performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals, and appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Songs Considered, and CBS’ Early Show. Cathy & Marcy earned a Grammy award in 2005 for cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins and in 2004 for Bon Appétit! , a children’s album encouraging healthy eating. In total, they’ve been nominated 11 times, including twice in the category for Best Traditional Folk Album. As producers, their work includes recordings by Tom Paxton, Si Kahn, Ysaye Barnwell, M.S.G. Blues Trio, Patsy Montana, Bonnie Rideout, Bill Harley, and Pat Humphries, among others.
Located in Washington D.C. area, they are lifelong activists for children’s healthcare, the advancement of women, preventing family violence, unions, and performers’ rights. As feminist revolutionaries in the world of roots music, Cathy & Marcy have always placed emphasis on inclusion in the genre, regardless of sex, race, or sexual orientation. In 1980, Cathy became the first woman ever to win the West Virginia State Old Time Banjo Contest and subsequently held the title until 1984.
Despite a four-decade age gap, Sam Gleaves is an innovator in his own right. Born and raised in southwest Virginia, Sam began singing and playing a handful of instruments as a teenager, including banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, and dulcimer. Earning a degree from Berea College in Folklore, Sam’s work merges traditional Appalachian ballads and dance tunes with the history they’re rooted in, giving a unique and fresh perspective on mountain music and addressing present social issues in the region. His music has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, KEXP, Exclaim!, No Depression, and The Bluegrass Situation. He’s toured internationally and appeared at venues across the U.S., including the respected Mountain Stage. Since 2012, he has taught at multiple camps and events around the world and composed the music for the folk opera, In These Fields, a commentary on the relationship between agriculture and cultural diversity in the South. The folk opera was a collaboration with acclaimed Kentucky writer Silas House who wrote the monologues.
It was from that production that two of the most notable songs on SHOUT AND SHINE were born, “Moonshine” and “Welcome Table,” a song whose lyrics were derived from old African American spirituals and traditional songs. “Moonshine” is proof of Sam’s unique and unparalleled style, weaving oral myths with written history. The lyrics "singlin and doublin," refer to the distillation; "checking the bead" is what moonshiners back in the day would do to check the alcohol content, which meant shaking the jar to see how many bubbles would form. Sam also wrote the upbeat single, “Hot Pink House Trailer”, inspired by a real-life hot pink trailer he passed while driving through South Carolina.
The album opens with the title track, “Shout and Shine,” a welcoming narrative that paves the way for the rest of the self-produced record. With lyrics like “whoever we believe in believes in us all,” and “married, single, gay and straight, welcome into the music state,” Fink, Marxer & Gleaves take turns encouraging listeners to "shout and shine". The track listing is filled with songs inspired by historical and musical figures, nodding to icons like the renowned Libba Cotten (“Oh, Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” and “Sweet South Anna River”), an acapella gospel-based arrangement called, “Brother You Ought To Been There”, and a tribute to Jean Ritchie titled, “If I Were A Blackbird.” In addition to the band’s polished three-part harmony, the record boasts the skill and musicianship of each Fink, Marxer & Gleaves with varied instrumental work on fiddle, banjo, resonator guitar, mandolin, guitar, cello banjo, harmonica and penny whistle.
While SHOUT AND SHINE focuses around themes of social justice, inclusion, celebrating diversity, and raising awareness about contemporary issues, Sam explains that the album is also a commentary on the importance of art. “I think that the whole Shout and Shine idea says that art really is a valuable way to make a happy life for yourself. Cathy, Marcy, and I just got to know each other in the past 5-6 years and we’ve had this wonderful friendship because we all love and care about traditional music and the people and places that it comes from, as well as the culture and community,” he explains, “I hope that folks might hear the record and want to sing and play some of the songs, take a class, or even be inspired to write a song themselves. Anything to work music into their own life. It’s been such a blessing to me.”
The album closes with a cover of Jim Beloff’ and Herb Ohta Jr.’s “Closer To The Light”. Fink explains the impactful closing within the liners notes:
“We’ve been soaking in sounds and songs all our lives; Sam for 25 years, Cathy for 64 and Marcy for 62. Someplace along the line, music called us all together, finding common ground in a love of Appalachian traditional music, a love of harmony singing, a love of drawing outside the lines and a love of using music to instigate a positive change. Music is life, is love, is action, is more than the notes we play and the words we write. Most importantly, we love the community it brings. Hopefully, as in Jim Beloff’s beautiful song, it brings us all ‘closer to the light.’”
Fink, Marxer & Gleaves might be an unexpected union, but their friendship defines exactly what SHOUT AND SHINE calls for — respect, love, and the beauty that is created when we work together.
June 17 — Alexandria, VA — The Birchmere (Old Time Banjo Fest/Album Release Show)
July 14 — Titusville, PA — HOTAfest
July 18 — Nashville, TN — City Winery (Nashville Album Release Show)
July 19 — Lexington, KY — The Burl
Feb 1, 2019 — Baltimore, MD — Common Ground on the Hill
Feb 2, 2019 — Washington, DC — Folklore Society of Greater Washington
For more information, visit http://www.finkmarxergleaves.com/.