Live Review: ISMAY

The Resident   Los Angeles, CA 

Web: ismaymusic.com

Contact: [email protected]

Players: Avery Hellman, vocals, guitar; Andy Fahlander Hellman, mandolin, guitar

Material: Ismay is the music project of Avery Hellman, accompanied by Andy Fahlander, performing Americana/Pop music in the likes of Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Peter, Paul and Mary. Ismay is a little different, though. The music is a lot darker and it tap into that hidden, shadier side of the human psyche. Even though a lot of the songs are pretty and melodic, some of the lyrics give off an eerily familiar feel as the words rolled off Avery Hellman’s lips. The music, itself, also gives off a dark vibe with digital delay and chorus settings set to 11 and above. 

Musicianship: Andy and Avery play well off each other. The vocals are strong and come through with vigor and conviction, and the music helps the story of the lyrics move along nicely. Avery holds down the rhythm exceptionally well and Andy lays down the guitar parts needed to create a unique, disconcerting feeling that adds an extra layer of intensity to the music. 

Performance: A great audio mix by The Resident crew gave Ismay a great start to the evening. A superb speaker system, fancy lighting and pro gear insured a smooth performance that the audience loved and took to heart. Avery is a great frontwoman who kept the audience in the loop with questions and stories about how the tunes came about. She kept them interested and wanting more. 

Summary: A great outing for Ismay as this stint at The Resident DTLA came to a close. Cool tunes and melodies encapsulated lovely stories in the lyrics as the songs came alive and some even hit home. Songs like “Bubble Wrap” and “A Song in Praise of Sonoma Mountain” keep you interested with nice melodies and catchy lyrics. “The Lonely Stallion” and “I Called You Up,” both radio-worthy, beautiful tunes that capture your attention from the start, keep you hooked and wanting more. If you want more, check out Songs of Sonoma Mountain, which was released in 2020. The upcoming, new release, titled Stranger in the Barn, is already out at all your local outlets. – Pierce Brochetti