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Lucerne, Switzerland

Switzerland’s Got Twang with Heidi Happy

Switzerland’s Got Twang with Heidi Happy
Photo: Herbert Zimmerman

Americana Lives in the Neutral Country -- and it Works

By Halley Bondy
February 13, 2013

Name: Heidi Happy

Where She’s From: Lucerne, Switzerland

When She Started: 2007

Genre: Indie-folk, bluegrass pop

Most Similar: First Aid Kit, Cat Power, Gemma Ray

Sounds Like: Honeyed Americana lullabies

By moniker, Heidi Happy sounds like a braided yodeling mountain girl. That she’s from Switzerland doesn’t help dispel the image, nor does the Sound of Music-y name of her new album On the Hills. But cast away your stereotypes once again, ye global music fans! In reality, the multi-instrumentalist couldn’t be distinguished from a homegrown Nashvillian when it comes to her sound.

The album (her fourth) is a tightly-produced treasure, hitting all the right bluegrass and country-folk notes that wrap you in fireside comfort. Layered harmonies, prominent steely guitar/banjo and twang beats keep it classic, yet her warm whispery voice and frequent dip into electronics make it current. It’s fun for the whole family.

The album is quietly dramatic without resorting to theatrical hoakiness — that even goes for some of her more muted, Spaghetti Western-leaning songs like “Land of Horses” and “I’m Busy,” which could have been great additions to the Django Unchained soundtrack in a perfect world. The overall effect of On The Hills is pensive, soothing and actually deeply moving — a far cry from the phoned-in singer-songwriter fare that crosses our desks daily.

On the Hills is topping Swiss charts, and she’s soon to bring it to North American stages with a SXSW gig, and some stops in LA, New York and Toronto.

Stream the whole album, and check out her North American tour dates below.

Tour dates:

2/27 @ Room 5, Los Angeles, CA (10pm)

3/15 @ Stephen F’s Bar, Austin, TX (SXSW)

3/23 @ Cameron House (Backroom), Toronto, ON, CANADA (Canadian Music Week)

3/27 @ Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY

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