Though their name is positively imperial, Prairie Empire (a.k.a. indie folk up-and-comer Brittain Ashford) had very local beginnings. "I was sleeping on a couch in Portland, Oregon," she says. "It just so happened that couch belonged to the very awesome and talented guys in [folk band] Harlowe and the Great North Woods. The self-titled Prairie Empire record was recorded with all of them." That debut, released in June of this year on Trailer Fire Records, is an immersive, gorgeous record, featuring warm, rich instrumentation and centered around Ashford's stunning voice.
When her songs made the move from a couch in Oregon to tape, she did not know of the project they would soon become. The capital city of the Prairie Empire has since moved from west to east - they are now based in New York City - but the music holds onto its rustic soul. Whether bringing her dulcimer into a bar in Brooklyn or strumming her ukulele on a Manhattan stage, Prairie Empire brings the sounds of the woods and the plains into every room.
We were lucky enough to film a few songs with Prairie Empire as part of our At The Space series. See the first video below.
[youtube url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPct6aM9j5I&" /]
You can also listen to the album on Bandcamp:
[bandcamp album=3613050319 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]
What's next for Brittain and Prairie Empire? "We are getting ready to record the next project in a barn somewhere," says Ashford - a fitting place for music built so beautifully of earth and wood. You can find Prairie Empire online at their website and on Facebook.