Mitchell describes her parents as “hippies, people back to the mainland.” In the late 1960s, her father, Don, secured a book deal while he was still a college student at Swarthmore, for a semi-autobiographical hitchhiking novel he had written called “” Thumb Tripping”. He sold the film rights, moved to Los Angeles with his young wife, Cheryl, and wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book, “Easy Rider.” He cashed in in the early 1970s and used his Hollywood earnings to buy a 130-acre ranch in Vermont’s Champlain Valley.
For most of Anaïs’ childhood, her entire family lived on the property, including her grandparents in the log house her father helped build for them. Cheryl was against television, so young Anaïs would sneak over to her grandparents whenever she wanted to; she has lovely and unusual memories of the nightly news with Dan Rather. She rode horses, roamed the woods with her brother and, like Anaïs Nin, her eponymous name, is heavily documented.
She recently found those old diaries in a box in her grandparents’ house, and that experience inspired “Revenant,” a heartfelt, acoustic guitar-driven song on the new album. shows her extending mature charm to her younger self: “Suddenly I saw you there, eyes watering in a wooden chair / Running outside to hide my face in a shirt Queen Anne’s wild lace,” she sang. “Come and let me hold you in my arms / Come and let your shoulders be wet and warm.”
Mitchell attended Middlebury University, and advocated for herself to model for art classes. “I’m always very comfortable naked because no one can see us here, so people get thin,” she said on a remote farm. When she was 19, one of those gigs led to a cute encounter that could have appeared in an R-rated comedy: Noah Hahn, a student in a classroom, turns out to be. is the man she will marry.
They were pretty far apart during the early years of their relationship, as Mitchell was paying her dues on the road to becoming an aspiring singer-songwriter. But – as she suggests in the eulogy of her new album featuring an artist’s muse, “Bright Star” – sometimes longing and distance can yield unexpected results. One night, she drove home from a show, hoping Noah would be waiting for her, when the tune and a few words of what would become her first “Hadestown” song:
“Wait for me, I’m coming, in my belt and pearls / With what tune did you redeem me from the wicked underworld?”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/arts/music/anais-mitchell.html After 16 years in ‘Hadestown,’ Anaïs Mitchell emerges with a new album