Although she's been back in Charleston for months now, Cary Ann Hearst has been lying low, playing the occasional surprise show or turning up to pay tribute to her friends in Jump over the holidays. Turns out she's been squirreled away in the studio, working on a new album at the unconventional, community-oriented Rebellion Road Studios with producer/engineer/Renaissance man Ash Hopkins, who plays in the line-up of her current band as well as The Bedrooms and The Chimney Sweeps.
Rebellion Road is a ProTools-based affair on James Island in the basement of local musician's friend and studio ace Mark Levy, who has amassed quite a collection of guitars, amps, microphones, basses, keyboards, and other sundry instruments and studio accoutrements over his years as both a musician and a fan of the local scene. Hopkins and Julia Levy (Mark's daughter) are the heart of this D.I.Y. operation, with Hopkins working on the musical end of things and J. Levy handling graphic design for the studio's output, which so far has been a Steve Fiore EP that the local singer/guitarist has been selling at shows.
Hopkins, along with Hearst and Evan Bivins (of Jump), is busy readying Hearst's eagerly anticipated new album, which features appearances from a litany of guests from both the Charleston music scene and Hearst's second hometown of Nashville, for a release sometime in late winter.
"The first Borrowed Angels record was kind of happy and silly and stuff," Hopkins says, "and this new record's like, more dark, much more mature and dirtier and more rockin'. It's also really varied — it all has a sound, but it's much more diverse than the first one. Since it's not costing us anything to make, we can spend as much time as we want on it ... there's no restrictions on our creativity. We don't have tens of thousands of dollars or state-of-the-art gear. The whole thing about [the studio] is the atmosphere and hospitality and just chilling out. We don't charge by the hour, so there's no time or schedule limits ... it's very relaxing and conducive to creativity."
Cary Ann Hearst & The Borrowed Angels open for Leslie at the Music Farm on Fri. Jan. 20. Admission is $6.