Emily Wells at Rewire
The shape-shifting string virtuoso ignores genre boundaries while conjuring a uniquely affecting session of atmospheric folk at Rewire 2016.
Born in Amarillo, Texas, Emily Wells began playing the violin when she was only four years old. Thirty years later, it’s still her primary instrument, but this singer, performer, composer is anything but the average player. Also employing cellos, violas, synthesizers and drum machines, Wells’ talents truly shine on stage, where she creates live loops and samples to construct rich, haunting layers of strings of vocal melodies. She often draws comparisons to experimental greats such as John Cage, Terry Riley and Philip Glass, but Wells’ music also touches upon the gothic folk tradition and even hip-hop—it’s no coincidence that she’s collaborated with Questlove and The Roots. Her releases actually date back to 1999, as Wells initially self-released numerous albums; though 2006’s Beautiful Sleepyhead & the Laughing Yaks is generally considered her official debut LP, it was 2012’s Mama and the following year’s _Mama Acoustic Recordings_—both issued via the Partisan label—that truly exploded her profile. More recently, she’s offered up 2016’s Promises, a full-length that finds Wells taking her artistic vision even further afield.