Vergennes-based singer-songwriter and banjo player Chad Conant has released his debut solo album as CONANT. Heavily influenced by songwriters John Prine and Gregory Alan Isakov, Conant has created a sun-dappled, foot-tapping EP full of classic folk and bluegrass sounds. Gavia Immer — Latin for "common loon" — is infused with the feel of the wind, the sound of water and an overarching love for the natural world. It also shows the songwriter's penchant for folky humor, as displayed on the rollicking "White Trash Toaster." The tune features musician Colin McCaffrey, who pulls double duty as the EP's producer. McCaffrey also coproduced fellow Vermont folk artist Fern Maddie's stellar Ghost Story, and, in a nice bit of full circle, she shows up as a guest on several songs. Considering Conant only picked up the banjo after his wife bought him one for a recent birthday, it's impressive how he has developed such a clear playing style and strong songwriting chops.
Key Track: "Hello Wind (featuring Fern Maddie)" Why: Conant's banjo peels off a series of ponderous notes that slowly build into a clever lick as he sings of the "celestial comfort from the cold." Where: conantmusic.bandcamp.com
Conant is a “whole burrito” kinda songwriter — you gotta take the good with the bad. Inspired by the music and lyrics of John Prine and Gregory Alan Isakov, Conant’s music and performances inspire audiences to step into a familiar world where they can experience joy, loneliness, fear, humor, regret and hope. It’s all in there.
Over 40 Vermont musicians got behind, in front of or under a tiny desk, all in the name of great music to enter their submissions in NPR's annual Tiny Desk Contest.
On the next episode of Safe & Sound, host Mary Engisch showcases a selection of these entries. We'll learn the stories behind the songs from Vermont trio The Fabulous Wrecks, chamber-folk duo Cricket Blue, singer-songwriters Chad Conant and Autumn Chamberlain, and more!