Rita Hosking is fast becoming a well known performer that blends bluegrass, country and folk into passionate sounds and stories. She was raised in the mountains of eastern Shasta County, Northern California, where she internalized dusty woodsheds, the scent of spring-water, forest fires and the troubles of rural economies. Her musical experience began as a child at church, and under the wings of an old time jug band made up of seasoned mountain characters. A descendant of Cornish miners who sang in the mines, Rita grew up with deep regard for folk music and the power of the voice.
On an old Gibson guitar her friends bought for her, Rita began composing songs at age 20. Still writing and now performing with her band “Cousin Jack”, Rita plays rootsy, bluegrass-mountain music of the West. “Her voice has that lonely, experienced voice of the mountain people, though her mountains were in Northern California.”—B. Hough for the California Bluegrass Association. “Her voice gripped me and did not let go,” –Joe Craven.
Cousin Jack, an ensemble of Sean Feder on banjo and guitar, Bill Dakin on upright bass and guitar, and Andy Lentz on fiddle, embrace and deliver Rita’s and other old-time tunes with soulful harmonies, drive and sensitivity. Their debut, 2005 album Are You Ready? (also available on CD Baby) received national airplay, and inspired Eric Rice of KVMR’s 20 year old Countyline Bluegrass Show to name Rita Hosking as “Best New Artist” that year. Says Eric, “Rita Hosking is the best bluegrass songbird in Northern California.” More accolades and enthusiastic audiences garnered Rita and Cousin Jack a main stage set at the prestigious Strawberry Music Festival this spring.
Rita’s brand new second release, Silver Stream, features her band Cousin Jack, as well as guest musician, co-producer, and recording engineer, Bill Edwards. Again, Rita has brought together stories, sounds and emotions that evoke the power of people and place. The title cut is a glimpse of a rough and tumble old mountain man that lived with Rita’s family, and how his trailer melted to a “silver stream” in a forest fire. In Northern Idaho is a study on the struggle to keep your home, an old-style country song fitting of a folk standard. Rita brings together the tragedies of miner’s consumption and the taking of one’s life in Cool Black Water. Taking You In—a song she sung at a friend’s memorial, touches on impermanence, and I Want You on gut feelings when your lover passes on. Cole Younger Killed My Brother ends the album with a rambling yet rousing movie-soundtrack sounding tune featuring the guitar wizardry of Edwards. This and more, Silver Stream also captures some of the band’s typical set lists with covers such as the traditional Dream of a Miner’s Child, Bob Dylan’s Farewell Angelina, Hazel Dickens’ Only the Lonely, and Delmore Brothers’ Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar.
Here is Dennis Brunnenmeyer of KVMR, Nevada City/Grass Valley 89.5 FM on receiving Silver Stream,
"Expecting the best, I have to tell you that I found a whole lot more than I had hoped for. There's more than just a large handful of gems...all written by Rita, as it turns out. There's also a delivery I haven't heard before, complete with a soft and tender ballad or two, a bunch of sweet-crisp falsettos and some down-home phrasing that could very easily make Lucinda Williams green with envy. I love it!"
Additional reviews of Rita and her band:
"Hosking's two biggest assists are her singular voice (a soulful howl from the mountains) and quality songwriting. Between tunes she talked a bit about her upbringing near Hatchet Mountain (Fall River area). She talked about the devastating Fountain Fire prior to playing her great bluegrass tune "Kitchen Table and Chairs." This combination of quality storytelling, genuine personality, super songs and that voice have put Hosking into the big leagues. After a full weekend of amazing performances, I woke up Tuesday morning with her tune "Are You Ready" playing in my head. The next time she passes our way, do not miss a performance by Rita Hosking."
--Jim Dyar of Redding's D.A.T.E. Magazine, on Rita's performance at Spring Strawberry Music Festival, 2007.
"Rita Hosking has one of those perfectly imperfect voices necessary to do folk music right. An overtrained or flawless vibrato can ruin a good tune about broken lives or crossing over or prison wardens who are happiest when the jailhouse is full. But Hosking keeps it beautifully raw and real in the pitchy tradition of Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams. Musically, her bluegrass-tinged performances hearken back to the best of American music without mimicking the greats. Close harmonies and strong backup provided by her band, Cousin Jack, round out a sound rooted firmly in traditional music but distinct to an artist with a particular lyrical love for the mountains and the lives they envelop." --Adrienne van der Valk for the Eugene Weekly
For additional information and Rita's schedule, please go to Rita's offical website, www.ritahosking.com.