Rachel Sumner is best known as the guitarist and one of two primary songwriters and singers in the band Twisted Pine, but her musical interests and curiosity extend beyond even the most progressive approach to traditional string-band instrumentation.
Her debut solo EP, Anything Worth Doing, will better acquaint listeners with the breadth of her songwriting and production capabilities. Recorded with co-producer Daniel Radin (Future Teens, The Novel Ideas), Rachel’s textural experimentation led her to sounds both familiar and new: drawing on her classical training as a woodwind player, arranging and performing parts for flute and clarinet; calling on Twisted Pine bandmate Kathleen Parks for lush string arrangements; utilizing instruments typically associated with country music, such as pedal steel, harmonica, and electric guitar, without leaning on genre cliches; and accentuating the shifting tempos and time signatures of her songs with the inclusion of drums, played by Honeysuckle’s Benjamin Burns.
The album’s credits boast a veritable who’s-who of the Boston folk scene, with contributions from longtime musical partners Sam Moss and Michael Siegel (Sumner & Moss); Deni Hlavinka (The Western Den); Danny Hoshino (The Novel Ideas); and Icelandic harmonica wiz Thorleif Davidsson (Kaleo). At the center of all of these moving parts, pulling them together into a cohesive and beautiful work is Rachel’s voice: both in her performance as a musician and in her songwriting, which is stronger than ever.