Since 2015, UTR has been featuring the music of Alabama-based acoustic Americana trio The Hedgerow Folk. [Factoid: their band name comes from a line in the C.S. Lewis poem The Condemned.] Their unique blend of spiritual encouragement and indie folk-worship has been growing a dedicated following in recent years. In mid-September 2020, the band released their new EP Worth It All (available now on Spotify), and we were delighted to catch up with band member Amanda Hammett to talk about the new release.
UTR: How have you been doing in this season of quarantine?
Amanda: It went pretty well, honestly, and we feel fortunate that our lives have been pretty stable during such a rocky time for so many. One of the positive aspects of the quarantine season was the ability to have a more concentrated season of musician production to finish this EP. So we’re grateful for that.
UTR: How and when did the band form?
Amanda: Jon and I met in 2011. Our families were part of planting Embrace Church, and Jon was on staff as our worship leader. He still is actually, and I serve on our staff team as well. I started singing with our worship team and soon we sensed that God was doing something special with the combination of our voices. Jon had been writing songs for a while and invited me in to be a part of bringing those to life. Jon and Bryant were long time friends and had previously been in a band together, so the three of us linked arms and became The Hedgerow Folk in 2013. It’s been the sweetest journey to grow into writing and creating music together over the years while also developing deep friendships with one another. God has been good to us.
UTR: Your new release Worth It All has arrived. How do you feel the making of this project differed from past albums?
Amanda: I’d say that over the years, we’ve just really grown in being “one”, if that makes sense. We are three pretty different people, actually, and there are different aspects of our personalities and musical preferences that came together to make this project the most “us” that we’ve ever felt. Particularly with our song “Hard Road”…there are some aspects of that song that are different from anything we’ve recorded before. It’s more up-tempo than much of our past music. But it felt right, and we were excited to just make what we were feeling in our hearts. Also, we released several of the songs from the EP as singles before the full project. So that’s been a new learning experience for us too.
UTR: Do you sense any common themes that run through the EP? What do you hope the listeners of these new songs experience?
Amanda: I have a friend who often says that ease is not the measure of good when following Jesus. Too often I think we believe a subtle lie that if life or our circumstances are hard, then God must not be in them. But there’s a theme woven through Worth It All that the Lord just seemed to write over time – reminding us that the hard road isn’t to be avoided. But that actually, our places of suffering or hardship are often where we experience His love and closeness in the deepest, most transforming ways. To be like Jesus means to share in His sufferings. But Christ in us means that we never walk them alone. We pray listeners will be reminded that regardless of what our feelings or circumstances might be saying, God sees us, delights in us and never leaves us. And when you believe and rest in that truth, you just might find yourself running the hard road with joy.
UTR: We live in an unpredictable day and age, but what are you hoping the foreseeable future looks like for the band?
Amanda: Like most people in this bizarre year of 2020, we are so aware of how wired we are by God for human connection. And we are definitely more aware than ever of how special it is to sit in a room with real live human beings and enjoy music and the presence of God together. So we’re hoping and praying for more opportunities to play live in the coming months, in backyards, living rooms, church gatherings or wherever the Lord leads!
The Hedgerow Folk consists of Jon Myles, Amanda Hammett, and Bryant Hains – and they can be found at www.thehedgerowfolk.com.