Undoubtedly the year’s buzziest Broadway musical, Hadestown took home eight Tony Awards in June, including Best Musical.
Originally an Off-Broadway smash circa 2016, the twist on a Greek tragedy Hadestown is the musical with lyrics and book by singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell that began its Broadway run earlier this year. It’s based on Mitchell’s concept album and folk opera of the same name from 2010, which featured appearances by contemporaries like Justin Vernon and Ani DiFranco. It’s also among our picks for the 100 best indie folk albums.
Mitchell stopped by the Daytrotter studios on this day (Aug. 5) in 2011 to play a few of those original Hadestown tunes, including “Why We Build the Wall.” These versions differ from the Broadway soundtrack, mostly in tempo, volume and sheer force of voices, but Mitchell’s solo versions are still a delight to behold, much spookier and sparer than the elaborate stage score.
In addition to Hadestown, Mitchell has a whole catalogue of beloved solo music. She’s also an all-star collaborator. Her most recent group effort is Bonny Light Horseman, a folk/rock supergroup featuring Mitchell, producer Josh Kaufman and Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson. The group just wrapped two sets at last weekend’s Pickathon.
Listen to Mitchell’s 2011 Daytrotter session below.
Read: The 14 Best Anaïs Mitchell Songs