The Western Den

The Western Den

Erica Russo

Sun · December 9, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Parlor Room

$10/Adv, $13/Door

This event is all ages

The Western Den
The Western Den
To find a musical soulmate, someone with whom to explore your innermost feelings, unite artistic languages, and craft a shared voice is a daunting, even mysterious, undertaking. Some writers spend years searching and never uncover the other half they seek; for others, a partnership just flicks on like a light. The origin story of the hauntingly beautiful duo The Western Den is wonderfully curious in just this way: Deni Hlavinka, an introspective pianist from small town Virginia, posted a song idea on a college forum for accepted students. Chris West, a bright-eyed guitarist from Bermuda, sent back the song the following day in finished form. Upon meeting in person, they discovered their musical—and personal—bond was eerily close; there was never a discussion of forming a band, never a conscious choice, it just happened, fueled by a sheer desire, a necessity to pursue what felt right.
The act of reaching out in search of a common creative haven—that same force which brought Hlavinka and West together seven years ago—is a theme of ‘A Light Left On’, their forthcoming debut record. A careful labor of love, it emerged over the course of two years as a set of demos, which the pair then tracked meticulously over a six-month span. This restraint stands in stark contrast to their previous releases, two EPs which they hurried to release with the same speed and enthusiasm of Hlavinka and West’s initial long-distance collaboration. The result of their patience this time around is an ornate emotional garden, lovingly cultivated and ready for company. In their songwriting, arrangements, and production choices, the band leaves behind the folk label, which always felt like a safe descriptor yet never quite like home, pushing out into orchestral, ethereal, and chordally complex territory, while preserving their sweeping vocal harmonies, at once lush and modest, unmistakably the foundation of their partnership.
‘A Light Left On’ details a coming-of-age search—for purpose, for an environment that feels authentic. From its inceptive command to “raise it up, give a name / call it close, temporary though all the same”, the album announces its creators’ desire to define themselves within a turbulent landscape of thoughts, to have a light left on somewhere that feels permanent. Absent of that flag-planting resolution, the record offers up the belief that a light is still out there—‘I’m still holding on, still, still I’m holding on’—as if spoken to themselves as a mantra, on repeat, to reassure and encourage.
The Western Den showcases a mature pursuit of beauty that is all their own, and yet they capture the emotional soul-searching that exists in all of us, whether we hide it from the world or share it. In Hlavinka and West’s case, they have chosen to share it, extending their trust in each other to their audience.
Erica Russo
Erica Russo
Erica Russo is a singer-songwriter whose otherworldly tunes are at once delicate and soul-piercing, bathing the listener in tender vocals and haunting melodies that call to mind influences ranging from Cat Power to Ani DiFranco to early Modest Mouse. Russo combines her dreamy style of folk with indie pop to create deeply reflective and unforgettable songs. The Deli NYC calls her “a fascinating bundle of energy; there’s more to hear with every listen.”


Russo released her 3rd full-length album, Honey, in September 2016. She tours and records both solo and with her band Billy Leva, Davis Collins, and Fanny Rose. The first title track and first single, “Honey,” demonstrates a ragged intimacy, a minor key incantation amidst shifting rhythms, with airy guitars and a rough-edged ambience tempered by Russo’s sweet melodic vocals. Her bandmates boasts Russo’s intricate guitar work and haunting vocals.


Russo was born in Providence, RI and spent her childhood in various New England towns. She began writing songs and studying music at the age of seven, and her talent reflects a lifetime of honing her craft. She started pursuing music professionally in 2014. “I'm inspired to write during times of reflection and stillness, chaos and beauty. When processing what’s around me and living with what’s in me. Traveling to new places also inspires me to write songs, as does general feelings of love and loss,” she says.


Russo’s discography is prolific; she has put out four full-length albums and two EP’s over the past six years, all receiving critical acclaim. Her album In Between Dreams was named one of the Top 5 Albums out of Western North Carolina by the Mountain Xpress: “In tone, mood, instrumentation and narrative, this is wildly creative but steadfastly consistent collection. Russo’s strange and wonderful voice stitches those parts into a consummate whole.”
Venue Information:
The Parlor Room
32 Masonic Street
Northampton, MA, 01060