NPR logo First Listen: Lost In The Trees, 'All Alone In An Empty House'

First Listen: Lost In The Trees, 'All Alone In An Empty House'

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Lost in the Trees plays orchestral folk -- and the "orchestral" part is no afterthought. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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courtesy of the artist

Lost in the Trees plays orchestral folk -- and the "orchestral" part is no afterthought.

courtesy of the artist

You're about to listen to my surprise album of the year. I'd never heard of Lost in the Trees, didn't know what I was in for, but in just one listen I knew I'd found a new friend. Lost in the Trees is the music of Ari Picker, a songwriter from Chapel Hill on a bit of a mission: Take a pinch of the brilliance found in classical music and mix it with his own. Lost in the Trees is orchestral folk where the "orchestral" part isn't an afterthought. This is mighty potent stuff.

The lyrics heard in the title track are taken from arguments Picker's parents had in the house he grew up in. But this isn't a data dump of depression; it's a record filled with hope and spirit.

"A few years ago, there was the soundtrack for Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums," Picker says, "and somehow there it all was — Ravel next to Paul Simon. I look at both my own songwriting and the music I admire most, and the common quality is that it's a sort of mash-up of everything and a labor of love."

A labor of love, for sure, and we're its beneficiaries.

All Alone in an Empty House will be available here for streaming in its entirety until its release on Aug. 10. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.