Folk Duo RISO Look Ahead with “New Eyes” (premiere)

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Despite their shared history of attending bluegrass and acoustic music festivals with their growing family bands, husband and wife duo RISO bring a variety of influences and philosophies to the table with their new indie-folk project. Their vibe strays from established duo projects by blending Rebekah Sandoval Rolland’s love of old, “twisted” beats and Matt Rolland’s penchant for modern Sam Beam-style folk-pop. Their sound spans decades and the name “RISO” is vintage – Latin for “smile” or “laugh”. The Arizona artists ultimately thrive in contemporary and intricate arrangements that place them shoulder to shoulder with Chris Thile and Madison Cunningham.

“New Eyes” was influenced by Matt and Rebekah coming to be new parents in the midst of a global pandemic. Rebekah tells PopMatters, “I was seven months pregnant and the world was in the midst of the severe third wave of the pandemic (winter 2021). The feeling that things would never be the same again was overwhelming. I say this with a bit of sadness, but we were obviously completely excited and happy to be about to become parents. It was just impossible not to reflect on how quickly our lives and environment were changing. In a way, it grounded us knowing that we were about to embark on this incredibly new and challenging time of parenthood together. I felt like that would be a constant amid everything that was going on, and it would happen. It was really beautiful and heartwarming then and still is.

The gently reflective single is a new cut from RISO’s debut album, also titled new eyes. Sharing a name with the LP, the tune is an evolving folk number that feels representative of the steady, progressive optimism the duo embodies. Rebekah’s outstanding voice grounds the song between a smooth instrumental storm – Arthur Vint leads towering percussion, double bass by Thoger Lund and acoustic and electric guitars courtesy of the Rollands.

RISO new eyes released on July 15. The single is released on June 14.

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