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Annie
Bacon

EPK

Publicity: Steve Albertson / Baby Robot Media

stevealbertson @ babyrobotmedia .com

PHOTOS

SHORT BIO

Annie Bacon is a writer and songwriter living in Ann Arbor, Michigan (via Maine and San Francisco). With her OSHEN she merges a literary writing style and folk-rock Americana sound to create rich and emotionally complex music. After surviving (with all of you) a global pandemic while grieving multiple deaths, Bacon emerges in 2024 with a host of creative works revolving around grief, including the forthcoming album Storm (June), a novel on themes of motherhood & war, and an original full-length musical 

LONG BIO

Folk-rock Americana singer-songwriter Annie Bacon & her Oshen’s fourth LP Storm (out June 14) is a meditation on grief. Bacon lays her soul bare as she confronts broken hearts, death and the loss of her own identity, all while utilizing the strengths of folk music’s sincerity in storytelling and rock n roll’s engagement with our primal emotions. It’s an album that starts with a scream ("Secret Broken Heart") and ends with a whisper (“Worry”). It’s a journey through the most difficult time in one woman’s life; a mature album of heart-on-your-sleeve intimacy and powerfully vivid honesty.

The album kicks off with the soft-rocker "Secret Broken Heart," with its big guitars that give way to Bacon’s luscious voice and gorgeous harmonies. Stylistically, it lands somewhere within the “Dreams” of Fleetwood Mac, The Cranberries and Brandi Carlile. She sings about self-sacrifice and hiding your feelings for the sake of others, perhaps to your own detriment. “She’s got a shimmer from a secret broken heart / You can see it if you look at her real hard / She drives around crying in her car / Another earthquake ripping another little scar.” At its core it’s a reminder that we never know what someone is going through, because so many of us hide our grief away.

"Walk A Little Farther" is a dark meditation for a broken heart. It confronts wallowing in darkness while holding back crying out in desperation. Its plucky, syncopated pace urges you to take a step, and then one more, to move just a little bit faster than your pain. Its outro works as a prescribed mantra for those who need to hear it, urging them to “walk a little farther / start again.”

“I would go for long walks,” says Bacon, “I knew that if I stopped, my grief was going to overwhelm me. I musically wanted to capture that feeling. I got into this habit of: walk, home, shower (let it burn), say a prayer, write a song. We shot the video near the Huron River in Ann Arbor, where I’d take my walks. I wanted to get the feel of the dreamscape and sadness I was feeling at the time. Grief doesn’t stop. It happens in the daytime. It happens all the time. My walk felt neverending, like I just had to keep going.”

“Mist” has the emotional depth and mesmerizingly ethereal vocal quality of Stevie Nicks or Carly Simon. Bacon’s shifting inward/outward lyrical perspective urges us to be present in our emotions, even if it feels bad. It’s comforting guitar lick anchors the song before leading into a melodic chorus that simply reels you in, despite lyrically never repeating.

“I was driving when the whole song came to me at once,” says Bacon. “My kid was sleeping in the back seat. I was trying to imagine what I was looking for in the mist. I put myself in that space. I realized that I was looking for me. I was the one who was lost. How do you come back to yourself when you feel lost in the world? The only way back, is to be where you are in the world at that moment. Even if it's painful.”

“Alone with Grief” was written about her deceased father. It’s a song of solidarity to soothe broken hearts and bring solace when grief is fresh and at its most painful. This song is a healing salve with its relaxing bossa nova percussion and Bacon’s breezy, beautiful vocals. It gives off nice, beachy, “The Girl From Ipanema” vibes, but with lyrics that bare a deep wisdom. “When every death contains a thousand more / And you're holding onto breath but you don't know what for / When the minutes feel like years because a second changed your life / Just know you're not the only one alone with grief tonight,” she sings.

“I wanted this song to bring people comfort,” says Bacon, “in a way that I needed comfort when I was so lost in my grief. I was thinking about the experience of early parenting, when I was nursing my baby in the middle of the night … there’s this alone/together thing. It's just you and this baby, in the whole fucking world, at three in the morning. You're exhausted. It’s very lonely. It's very solitary. And yet, there are people feeding babies at the exact same time, in the middle of the night, all over the world. You're totally alone, and yet other people are having the exact same experience as you at the same time. I wanted to channel that feeling in this song.”

“Can’t Remember” brings grief’s ability to warp our memory into heartbreaking focus: “If our love was strong / I can’t remember anymore / If you were my one true love / I’ve forgotten that by now.” On “When Will I Learn” the sadness of the pedal steel and warmth of the organ accentuate the song’s theme of accepting people for who they are, not what you want them to be.

Bacon brings us peace in the idea that we’re not alone in our pain with songs like “The Island,” where she sings about things you can see but can’t have, like a potential lover or a lost childhood home, and “California Heat” which takes us through the five stages of grief as Bacon walks to her friend’s memorial bench on a hot and dry San Rafael hiking path.

The tender and dark “It Might” breathes. It expands and contracts as it tackles that tricky time of leaving a long-term relationship. It speaks to the experience of meeting the right person at the wrong time, and how insisting on the time we need to heal may mean we miss out on what’s right in front of us. “Dance” continues the idea of letting go, along with the dichotomy of holding on. Where in “California Heat” Bacon sings of her friend “I’m not ready to write a song about you” — now she was ready to embrace her feelings.

“She was a perfect human being,” Bacon says. “She was beautiful, smart, brilliant, kind, playful and fun. She could party with the best of them. She was also a yoga instructor. Now I do yoga every morning to commune with her, to stay close to her. It was absolutely devastating to lose her. One of my tools to get through grief is by continuing to have a relationship with my dead people. This song is a rumination on missing her and who she was. I’m learning from her memory how to stay present, to enjoy and appreciate the things I have in the moment.”

"Dance" also has 172 names whispered into it, names of people from Bacon’s family, community and fans, including that of her father and her friend.

“No Clove Day” (co-written with Alto, MI songwriter 
Kyle Rasche) is about small moments of self-destruction that remind you that you’re alive, bloody lungs and all. “Love Can Mean” is a reminder to love yourself, and gives you permission to leave a lover if it’s the right thing to do. The forlorn pedal steel emphasizes Bacon’s lyrics that move through your heart like an arrow of truth, even if it’s hard to hear. The gentle honky tonk shuffle of “It’s Okay” is similarly a song that Bacon wrote to remind herself to be kind to herself, and humble in a world that is always going to change.

The album ends with the gentle Lorretta Lynn meets Hurray for the Riff Raff acoustic-folk hush of “Worry,” a soothing balm that closes the record with a message of hope. “Maybe if I worry every angle / I can cut pain off at the pass / Or maybe worry is the trouble / Maybe I should worry a little less,” she sings.

Bacon made this album with 
Paul Defiglia (Avett Brothers, Langhorn Slim, Erin Rae, Twain) at his Daylight studio in Nashville with engineers Kate Haldrup (Sam Bush, Liz Cooper, Lilly Hiatt, Erin Rae) and Wil Tsyon.

“I knew that I could only work with Paul to make this really tender project,” says Bacon, “even though it was going to mean traveling to Nashville. There's nowhere else on earth that’s safe enough for me to go where I needed to go on this record, psychically and spiritually.”

On Storm, Bacon provided all the vocals and played her sunburst Les Paul guitar as well as co-producing with Defiglia who contributed bass, keys, synth, organ and drum machine. Defiglia brought in a couple of ringers: Bacon’s college friend 
Thomas Bryan Eaton (Miss Tess) on guitars, pedal steel & mandolin, and Nashville jazz-drumming phenom Anson Hohne who rounded out the group on percussion. Hohne, as a composer, played with an uncanny sense of sound, space, tone and expression. Bacon came to them with 14 songs and they immediately tapped into something magical. Nearly unrehearsed, they played with a symbiosis, knocking all of the songs out in two days, with a third day for pickups. Mike Clemow and Wade Strange mixed the record at SeeThruSound in New York City, and it was mastered by Piper Payne (Janis Ian, Dolly Parton, LeAnn Rimes) at Neato Mastering in Nashville.



Bacon grew up in Maine and was ocean obsessed. She played a little music in high school, studied politics in college, and then moved to Oakland where she met a transgender woman and incredible musician named 
Nicole McRory. McRory became Bacon’s first musical mentor, and Bacon played in her band for five years. Bacon’s single “Nicki’s Song” (2016) is about her. Later, she was encouraged to learn bass and joined the swaggering country-rock revival band Sweet Crude Bill. Just as that project was ending, Bacon got her first laptop with recording capabilities. She began writing her own songs and Annie Bacon & Her Oshen was born.

Her backing band, Oshen, is a rotating cast of players that’s changed as she’s moved from Oakland to San Francisco to Ann Arbor, Michigan. “When I lost my faith,” Bacon says, “the ocean gave it back to me. My 28-year-old self thought it would be fun to spell it phonetically: O-s-h-e-n.”

Her first album Live at the Red Devil Lounge (2011) was recorded live from the soundboard, capturing a very special night two days before Christmas with 
Savannah Jo Lack (Lord Huron, Alanis Morissette, Rod Stewart) on violin and James Nash (The Waybacks, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck) on guitar and mandolin.

Bacon found out she was pregnant when she began recording Light to See Dark (2012), and  her son was born a week after the album was mastered. The children of her long-time bandmates Elizabeth Greenblatt and Cristian Hernandez (who also engineered, produced, and mixed the album) would play in Bacon’s home studio in the tower of an old Sears building in San Francisco while they recorded for months. Standout track “A Pounding Corps of Drummers” holds a special place in Bacon’s heart as it was her late father’s favorite of her songs.

Motherhood was a powerful and focusing force for Bacon, and she got serious about her craft in her son's early years, but it was a time of turbulence and trauma for Bacon leading up to her album Stranded Songs (2013). Her then-partner lost his job, they had to temporarily flee the Bay Area, and her son had a freak series of life-threatening infections.

“It was a record I had to make with my friends [Omar Cuellar, Tal Ariel, Toan Pham and Miles Gordon] to help me heal from what I'd just gone through," Bacon says. “I had these ukulele songs that I’d bring out at parties, all adorably fun and didn’t fit anywhere in my catalog. It was like a restart as I was stranded in my life and these songs were stranded too. We found home together.”

Bacon & her Oshen began to generate some buzz in San Francisco, but things were in constant flux. Her community was trying to hold itself together in the wake of a changing scene. Warehouse parties were gone. Rents were getting crazy, and her partner lost his job again.

In the midst of all this, Bacon participated in MacArthur genius grant recipient Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, including their only 24-hour performance in New York City and a four show stint at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco.

“The show is about how communities are built by breaking them down,” says Bacon. “My ego flared during a performance, and I just sat on the stairs crying instead of working the show. Life had just become so hard in San Francisco. Everything was a competition all the time. How do I stay afloat? How do I keep my head above water, musically, creatively, and financially? I invited ego death. I wanted my ego to die. Be careful what you ask for, because I did actually end up getting that.”

It was time to turn the tides.They packed up and left the Bay Area for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bacon wasted no time and quickly found a place in an incredible folk music scene. “I had to break things down and start all over again. Thankfully, the Michigan community opened its arms to me,” says Bacon.

Nothing Stays the Same (2019) was the first time Bacon worked with Defiglia. She recorded three songs with him in his Nashville backyard studio, and was hooked. She made several more trips to Nashville to record the album, but Bacon wasn’t able to enjoy the fruit of her labors as a series of tragedies fell like dominos just as the album came out.

The album’s title track was written for one of Bacon’s closest friends who almost succumbed to her cancer the week before the album was released. Bacon flew to San Francisco to be with her, and thankfully she temporarily pulled through. A week later, her then-mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer, and touring the new record was put on hold. She passed away eight weeks after diagnosis. Two weeks after that, her San Francisco friend passed away. Two months later her father unexpectedly died. A week later, her then-partner lost his job for a third time. The COVID pandemic started five weeks after that. Within a few months, her childhood home was sold in a rush, and she had a fall that left her unable to walk for months. By the end of 2022, her long-term relationship had fallen apart as well, and she was unpacking her life in a small apartment along the Huron River.

“It was a shit show,” says Bacon. “I’m not sure I would have made it through if I didn't have a kid, to be completely honest. My song ‘It's Okay’ is about those worst days. It’s a bouncy song, but I had to stop over and over while we were recording, because I’d just start sobbing. No one had heard the song before I brought it into the studio. It felt like a very selfish song. It’s the one that’s really for me, but I hope it speaks to others too. It’s there to remind me how important it is to speak kindly to myself when the world inside and out is burning. Because no one else will do that if I don’t.”

But true to the creative spirit, Bacon leans into her broken hearts and forges earnest, imperfect art. She emerges from these years with a forthcoming novel on themes of motherhood, betrayal, war and forgiveness; a feature-length folk-musical (co-created with collaborator Kyle Rasche) called The Keeper that's a love letter to Michigan; and a mountain of new music, including Storm.

Though it was made in an emotional hurricane, Storm is an album for those who need solace in their grief; for those who need to feel less alone and lost. She lets us know that it’s okay to not be okay while we’re navigating our way through the storm, and that we’ll all make it through hard times with as much presence as we can muster, a little patience, a little fire, and most of all kindness to ourselves and others.

“There were moments in the thick of the grief,” says Bacon, “where even the people who knew me best couldn’t touch me. But I’ve learned, you're not the only one who's alone. There’s this strange sort of togetherness in these kinds of experiences. You could be a 15-year-old who suddenly lost a parent, an adult whose husband died, or a 30-year-old getting divorced. It’s about accepting these moments of your life when you’re going through this grief, and recognizing that this is not only who you are. That there’s another world on the other side, and you’re not alone.”

LINKS

CONTACT

Booking @ anniebacon .me
 

Publicity:

Steve Albertson / Baby Robot Media

stevealbertson @ babyrobotmedia .com

Sync & Licensing:

Gratitude Sound

bryan @ gratitudesound .com

PRESS 

"4.5 out of 5... I was hooked from the opening line. Annie Bacon & her Oshen delivers an emotional track that feels gritty and real. There is more than a hint of Stevie Nicks to the tone, though the writing and overall vibe reminded more of Jason Isbell meets Lucinda Williams. Whatever you want to call it, this is songwriting glory performed by a talented and committed artist that ensures you feel every last word. Music as it should be!” - LA On Lock

"'Mist' has such a comforting touch that makes it perfect for a laid-back, introspective day at home during a warm summer day or for a long drive with no destination set... a timeless and memorable listening experience." - Caesar Live N Loud

"A mature album of heart-on-your-sleeve intimacy and powerfully vivid honesty." - Hootenany Cafe

"Bacon at her most vulnerable and forthcoming. The song is a rumination on grief and confronting that emotional baggage. Vocally, it’s one of the more impressive tracks on the album." - V13 (Premiere of "Mist")

"Annie Bacon is a profoundly thoughtful and compassionate singer-songwriter based in Ann Arbor. This beautiful, heartbreaking yet actually very inspiring song is the lead single from the forthcoming album Storm." - WDET (on "Walk A Little Farther")

"Fair comparisons could be made to the gypsy presence of Stevie Nicks, and it’s an exciting assimilation to find new vibes within that aura.  Annie Bacon honors the legacy within her own creative construct, offering this as part of a grief-laden album meant to heal an old soul.  A song to connect to what matters, with the poetic reference to meditative walking at the heart of its story." - The Wild Is Calling (on "Walk A Little Farther")

"Nothing Stays the Same is a lush, beautifully orchestrated album of Americana-tinged folk rock. Filled front-to-back with 45-minutes of thoughtful songwriting about universal themes, it’s sure to stay a favorite for months to come." - Midwest Action

"Her vocal style calls to mind greats like Rickie Lee Jones and Joni Mitchell, with tenderness and emotion flowing from each lyrical turn of phrase." - Mother Church Pew

"Annie Bacon’s folk rock has touches of Ani DiFranco and Joan Osborne but with more twang and the power of modern messages." - The Bay Bridged / Band Art

"Even the mere richness of her intonation would be enough to suggest that this singer has some stories to tell, but then her poetry begins to paint cinematic pictures that can seem to be montages from any of our memories in terms of relatability" - Jeff Milo, Current Magazine

"(Nothing Stays the Same is) the anthemic folk track for all those who are struggling" - Surviving The Golden Age

"(Gallatin Pike)'s a heart wrenching offering in a sense, as it dives deep with classic bluegrass accompaniments, which combine to drive the wholesome degradation of the hurt and the lustful. Together in arms, Annie takes it again, to another notch, as her Stevie Nicks like penetrating vocals, dilate the formations of clouds, and mists that surround our sonic visions. Michigan based, San Francisco prior, and originally from Maine, Annie Bacon is a beautiful singer and teller of stories." - comeherefloyd

"Annie Bacon & her OSHEN have made a career slinging emotion, empathy, and vulnerability ... on their newest single "Nothing Stays the Same", the band leans into the darkness of depression, walls for a moment in the battle of wills (to live or die) and then leaps into an earnest sermon of tenderness and patience. It's a song that's meant to do work in the world." - CincyGroove

"(Annie) is very adept at mining emotional details" - Phil Maq / The Most Awesome Song of the Day

"I encourage you to seek ("Gallatin Pike") out for keeps. Some singers have a way of connecting with their audience and Annie Bacon’s storytelling is exceptional... as are the visual elements of this single, from the artwork to the video join up those dots perfectly." - Folk Radio UK

"("Gallatin Pike") is mystical and captivating, but if I had to sum it up…. It simply makes you “feel”!" - Music Junkie Press

"Annie Bacon...creates a cinematic experience for listeners with haunting melodies and carefully orchestrated harmonies. Her sound varies as each track pulls from various influences, sometimes folk, sometimes indie-rock, but always fiercely emotional. ("What we said") is a track and video that you'll forget you've left on repeat all day." - Earmilk

"Annie Bacon ... was striking. Bacon’s music was warm and emotive, but not without sharpness." 
- Live review / The Bay Bridged

"Creativity, truth and emotion drive her sound to a whole new level" 
- Urban Vinyl Magazine

"Bacon’s most recent endeavor, the single “What We Said,” stirs a dream-like air of a musician finding their way back home. Pensive yet hopeful, the track’s avant-garde approach to folk is a fitting progression for Bacon (who just returned to the city herself)."
- SF Sounds

"Songs full of empathy and passion"
- The Bay Bridged

"A wonderful Bay Area artist"
- DJ Webbles Host of KUSF / Hangover Sessions

"Annie Bacon is insightful and musical at a very deep and touching level…a lovely presence."
- Steve O'Sullivan, Host of The Bay Area Band Show

"The well-crafted songs are at once poetic and melodic"
- Napa Valley Now

"("The Baby Suite") features gorgeous piano accompaniment, a smooth, jazzy saxophone and, of course, Bacon's soothing vocal delivery and heartfelt lyrics... The video itself features a wide range of mothers and their children, both emphasizing the inclusive nature of the song as well as displaying a sense of wonder in an experience that is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted by society. After all, this is the beginning of human life, and Baconmovingly captures all the excitement, confusion, and indescribable ecstasy that goes along with it. ”- The Bay Bridged

"When I think of people who exemplify the Bay Area's creative culture, I think of people like Annie Bacon. Highly original, filled with integrity and continually questing...”- NoDepression.com

"Some nights you need to rock out to hardcore, other nights you want sweet and tender vocals over a folk-y melody, the kinds of songs in which the lyrics mean something and the music carries you right along. Annie Bacon, also known for her "Folk Opera" work, offers that soothing sound you may yearn for at her album release show with her OSHEN band (for new album Light to See Dark). Think Americana, with an emotionally driven undertone.”- San Francisco Bay Guardian

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