3hattrio: American Desert Folk Music
“Sit and listen closely and you’ll be repaid with something that captures a spirit, a feel—the sense of the uncompromising desert life and how men live with it as they deal with the awe it creates.” Mike Wistow, folking.com
“Gloriously beautiful and savagely strange” Marc Higgins, Northern Sky Magazine
“It’s a beautiful thing to be able to retain the traditional sound and spike it with haunting, ghostly and noir-inspired ambiance.” John Apice, NO DEPRESSION Magazine
“Listen to the sense of freedom in the music” 8/10 Rick Bayles, Americana – UK Magazine
“Lord Of The Desert screams for time and attention…It is music that makes the clock tick less quickly and it is music that pulls you into the American desert whether you want it or not.” Erwin Zijleman for De Krenten Ult de Pop – Netherlands
“Their music somehow evokes the desert’s beauty, it’s heat, cold and dangers.”
David Innes, RnR Magazine UK
3hattrio’s home base is Virgin, Utah at the doorstep of Zion National Park. The Trio has been together five years and has four CD’s to their credit. They will tour Europe for the third time in August 2018 performing at the prestigious Gothenburg Sweden Culture Festival and Tønder Festival in Denmark.
For 3hattrio, the Southwest desert has an almost spiritual significance. Rooted in the natural world of their sacred homeland, they say that their genre is “American desert music,” a simple idea for a complex sound. The music 3hattrio are making sounds more like extended landscapes of sound, bare mesas that ring with electronic echoes of acoustic instruments, twisting and turning as the wind shifts. 3hattrio mix the routine with the unusual, fusing American folk music with outsider elements like autotune, psychedelia, and minimalism. It’s a wildly unusual sound, but the product of three very different musicians coming together to form something new.
The group includes Hal Cannon, who sings, and plays banjo and guitar. He is also a scholar of cowboy music and poetry. Greg Istock plays acoustic bass and foot percussion. He has a Caribbean music background and is also a visual artist. Eli Wrankle, is classically trained violinist who studies at Southern Utah University and comes from a family of artists.
3hattrio was born when violinist Eli Wrankle was 15 years old. They got together when Eli’s family held a small recital in their home to raise funds for his high school orchestra to perform at Disneyland. After the rehearsal, family friends and veteran musicians Greg Istock and Hal Cannon asked if Eli wanted to jam. He had never played music that way before but agreed. When they finished, he asked for more. The group was born purely out of friendship, localness, and musical chemistry.
Their songs are mostly original and even their old-time cowboy and pioneer songs have an unusual twist. Living in the same isolated place, surrounded by an inspiring landscape of red cliffs is what makes this group thrive. Their first album, “Year One,” was hailed by Baxter Black as a “profundo Gregorian sagebrush chant.” Since then they released a second CD, “Dark Desert Night.” Their third album is titled “Solitaire,” and their 2018 release is titled, “Lord of the Desert.”
3hattrio lives in a place that has a great and lasting indigenous imprint on it. They don’t attempt to perform the music of the nomadic Native peoples who have lived here for centuries. They are modern day settlers in a place where settlement is not all that old. Folklorist and musician Hal Cannon says, “From our vantage we are not all that different from other pioneers who came from diverse places to make community. From our varied musical backgrounds something truly American can be made out of the necessity to find sociability in an isolated place and to come with the intention to create something new.”