Performing songwriter Thea Hopkins describes her music as Red Roots Americana.
Since the release of her EP "Love Come Down," in fall, 2018, there have been major strides forward in Thea's career. First, the album was nominated for a 2019 Indigenous Music Award in the folk category, an international competition. In the summer of 2019, Thea, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe of Martha's Vineyard, MA, was selected by the Western Arts Alliance as a 2019 Native Launchpad Artist, an award which includes a major grant and a three-year artist development program. Her July tour dates included a performance at the Summertyne Americana Festival in Newcastle UK.
To cap off the summer, on September 10th, Thea performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of the inaugural opening of their new theater complex, REACH. Thea first came to greater public notice when Peter, Paul & Mary recorded her song, "Jesus Is On The Wire", in 2004 and again in 2010 with the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
"Love Come Down" is her 4th album, but the first helmed by a producer (Mike Davidson of Boston's Plaid Dog Studios). Even while in the recording stages there was support for the production. First, her fans pitched in with Indiegogo crowd-funding. Then, Thea was awarded a generous fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, which allowed for completion of the project.
With “Love Come Down,” Hopkins has achieved an elegance of sound that lives up to her poetic prowess. A talent the Washington Post called “a standout writer,” she has created, in just six tunes, a seamless song journey that begins with a gentle invocation (“Love Come Down”), ends with a lullaby (“Until Then”) and gracefully travels to a few dark American landscapes in between. From love ballad to social history, every song is personal.
The scope of the EP can be seen by the choice of musicians. Jazz trumpeter Tom Halter (Either Orchestra) explores haunting new directions on four songs. “Mississippi River, Mississippi Town” features the electric ebow guitar of Dave Minehan (The Neighborhoods, The Replacements.) He also co-produced the song. On “The Ghost of Emmett Till,” Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul & Mary) adds his quietly dramatic guitar and harmony vocals. The pianist Tim Ray (formerly with Lyle Lovett) is prominent, and plaintive, on “Almost Upon a Time.” “Tamson Weeks” is sparked by violinist Mimi Rabson of the Really Esoteric String Quartet. It tells the story of Hopkins" great-great aunt, a medicine woman of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe. (In addition to Aquinnah Wampanoag, Hopkins' ancestry includes Nottoway (Iroquois), African-American, Irish and Portuguese.)
Many fans have commented on the beauty of Thea's vocals, lyrics, and melodies. That sentiment was perhaps most succinctly stated by a former Bob Dylan tour manager, who described Thea Hopkins as "k.d. lang meets Leonard Cohen."