Press & Music Reviews
"When Conor and the Wild Hunt’s new album You’re Not Alone came to my email inbox, I had no idea it would be exactly what I needed to hear. Lead by Conor Brendan’s inspired songwriting and vocals, this inspiring collection is full of emotion and positive messaging that strikes a poignant chord in these trying times. It’s also possible that I am nine months pregnant, extremely hormonal, and susceptible to falling hard for vocally driven folk-pop (The Ghost of Paul Revere, Fleet Foxes), but I fell utterly in love with You’re Not Alone and I have a feeling you will, too.
Funny enough the album’s sound immediately took me back to my indie/emo days and reminded me of the emotive sounds of the little known Daphne Loves Derby, albeit with a much more lush and layered sound. The soaring four-part harmonies are my favorite part of these polished acoustic songs. The album starts with the upbeat harmonica and harmonies of “Eliza,” into the sweet sounds of love song “Garden State.” “Dear Mary” treats you to the female vocals of [Paty Sevener] dueting with Conor, along with more harmonies and loving lyrics singing of promises a lover makes to his family. Many of the songs bring me close to tears — most of which unsurprisingly is “Broken Hearted Lullaby” with lyrics about a woman singing “don’t you worry, little baby, we’ll be alright” to the baby in her belly. The title track “You’re Not Alone” is appropriately the most cinematic of tracks, an emphatic anthem singing “I see you, I hear you, I’m with you, you’re not alone.” The building of impassioned drumming, guitar and vocals builds to triumphant heights that will take your breath away. The rest of the album continues similarly with rousing harmonies, foot-stomping beats and upbeat harmonica to keep you smiling. They even break the unspoken rule to never cover “Wagon Wheel” with enough inspired vocals and respect for the original that it might be my new favorite version of the song.
Conor and the Wild Hunt’s album You’re Not Alone is a feel-good collection of songs from front to back. Their folk/Americana is driven by a vivid emotion not often heard accompanying the traditional acoustic instruments. An album of lullabies and love songs, You’re Not Alone is perfect for a quiet morning or a twilight drive, and I imagine their live performances are just as moving. Listen to the album now on Spotify or on their website."
-Elise Olmstead (Music Journalist at The Jamwich)
The first album of this folk/Americana/pop band has arrived at a time needed for positive vibes. In the line of the best of Mumford and Sons but with an upbeat direction and a more constant structure on their songs, Conor & The Wild Hunt combines different styles tastefully and with the passion always present. Folk in their nature, the songs take you into many territories: the epic, the feel-good, the uplifting, the sensitive, and the intimate. The band feels solid and very musical with a healthy quote of youthful energy that is infectious with its driving emotion that comes from their probably, unpolluted hearts.
“Dear Mary” struck me hard at first listen when the voice of Paty Sevener appeared out of the blue. Immediately I wanted more of her voice. The lead singer Conor Brendan has a nice quality in its voice: rounded, sweet, polished, and soulful. The combined textures of his voice and a female singer is a winning formula. It reminded me of duets such as The Magic Numbers, Johny Cash & June Carter and, Dolly Parton & Port Wagoner.
The album is filled with light and high energy songs, most of them up-tempo. It’s not until track 11 that the slower “Carry Us Home” arrived with its subtlety and whispery sound. I would prefer it was sooner because some calm helps to perceive music at its best. As our overloaded brains need a rest from time to time, “Carry Us Home” is very welcome. The band sounds effortless and comfortable in slow ballads, they should venture more into them. Especially considering that not only faster songs resonate with the audience, mostly when we are talking about acoustic music. It feels good not hearing a loop, synth, or any type of non-acoustic instrument for a change.”Great Blue Sea” works just fine with no artifices added. A nice fingerpicking acoustic guitar in the style of Jim Croce and a soft and expressive vocal is all that we need here. On the last track comes “I Long To Rewind”, a true sensitive slow-paced ballad in a solo piano that surprises with its beauty, and it’s a good choice to end this rich album. This tune is like balsam to the ears after listening to rhythmic songs, filled with great arrangements but sometimes a little crowded. The banjo and harmonica need to rest for a while. This beautiful ballad shows that sometimes the song itself is enough, regardless of how many lines of arrangements and instruments you put on it.
“You’re Not Alone” seems to be their latest recorded track. You can feel that the concept of the recording and direction of the band moved to a different path, a more polished and mature one. Although I loved the roughness and immediacy of the first tracks, I consider this is a smart move. The band’s sound still keeps the essence of folk but now with added elements of modern epic pop, kind of King of Leon, Snow Patrol, and some hints of Cold Play. As a film composer, I can see “You’re Not Alone” working perfectly in many movies with its epicness and broad sound. I really loved that song and how well was produced. It has all the ingredients that a great song needs to stand out in this crowded industry.
This band promises to have a brighter future if their goals are well defined. They can become a successful independent folk band but I see them soon heading to the road for a wider audience without losing their souls and sacrificing their vision and musicianship in the way. They seem to have the skills of self-judgment and wise criteria to evolve fast in the direction they desire besides their musicianship and talents. The more I hear the album, the more I get hooked to it. It has its colorful world and much to say, something that is lacking in music these days. I’m happy to get across bands like Conor & The Wild Hunt which brings me back the hope that not all is lost.
-Guillermo Guareschi (Music Journalist at Music Album Reviews)
"Conor & The Wild Hunt are from Baltimore in the USA and they are back with their special new single called "You’re Not Alone". The group animates soulful original songs with fresh perspectives on Americana, Folk, and pop styles. Their music is stupendously delivered with love letters that make me happy.
Conor Brendan, Chris Elvidge and Lena Traynham are Conor & The Wild Hunt and "You’re Not Alone" is easily one of my favorite songs of 2020. The folk-fused indie treats are sandwiched together to make my stomach smile again.
"You’re Not Alone" is such a peaceful song from Conor & The Wild Hunt that puts my mind at ease. After what has been going on with the world lately, this is exactly what we all need in our ears. This is pure music with such great vocals from both the singers. We aren’t alone if we have the support of those close to us. We just need to express ourselves and ask for help if we need it."
-Llewelyn Screen (Music Journalist at A&R Factory)
"Conor & The Wild Hunt is a Folk Pop/Americana trio from Maryland who feature brilliant song writing, a huge instrumental sound and soaring harmonies. Conor, who plays guitar and keys has been on American Idol twice and Lena Traynham who plays guitar and bass was the advertising face of American Idol, making Hollywood two years in a row. Chris Elvidge plays drums and sings like an angel too. This is an original music band that thrills audiences with a powerful show, driving stage presence and precise performances. They released a 14 song full length album this year."
"New processes and projects were born out of new life in the pandemic for Conor Brendan, who plays guitar, piano and banjo, and lends lead vocals to the folk and acoustic pop band Conor & The Wild Hunt. Brendan and his bandmates Chris Elvidge (drums, harmonies) and Lena Traynham (guitar, bass and vocals), have turned the time and energy they usually put into touring into recording. In his dad’s home studio, Brendan has recorded an impressive near 27 new and unreleased songs.
“Chancey June, Jay Keating and I have begun pre-production on a series of short films set to songs and tied together by a ghost narrative,” Brendan says of other projects he’s hard at work on with other fellow creatives. “Jay is a board member at Songwriters Association of Washington and has provided us funding and insight from his experience in the film industry. Chancey is a brilliant cinematographer with a poetic eye and is sure to bring poignant life to the story on screen.”
Along with Elvidge and Traynham, Brendan also just released a new version of their song “You’re Not Alone,” a song Brendan wrote about an experience traveling the States and living out of his car.
“The song’s story is born from busking in the streets of Philly and feeling invisible, and a simultaneous sense of wonder and loneliness in the Colorado mountains. It’s also a good example of a practice of mine, to dive into an emotion and find salvation and a sense of joy and peace in its release.”
While also exploring new recordings, reworks and songs for short films, Brendan says the trio is taking the time to perfect their individual skills in ways they may simply not have had the time for in their pre-pandemic life.
“We always do, but in these quarantimes, there’s more time than ever to practice,” he says. “I’ve been working on expanding my mix range and belting. I’ve also been spending a lot more time with banjo, mandolin and bass in the process of recording. Lena has been working persistently on vocal technique and finding new tones. Chris is always working on mesmerizing rhythm and stick patterns, such as odd ways to displace beats inside a time signature.”
With so many positive changes and additions to their catalogue, it’s no surprise that Brendan says he’s stoked to put everything out into the world for Conor & The Wild Hunt fans to have and enjoy.
“And when it’s safe to perform in venues again, we’ll be ecstatic to get back into the flow with audiences and fellow artists,” he continues. “In the meantime, if you follow us on Spotify, Instagram and Facebook, you’ll be the first to see and hear new content we’re beginning to release with more regularity. And in this day and age, Spotify and social media followers are the most important kind of support.”"
-M.K. Koszycki (Journalist at District Fray Magazine)