Singer-songwriter Izzy Heltai will be touring throughout the U.S. and Canada in April and May — hitting Casa Del Popolo (873 St Laurent Blvd.) in Montreal on May 2 — and releases his lovely, delicate new EP, Only Yesterday, on April 19.
Based out of Northampton, MA, Heltai has found a home in the New England folk scene that connects Northampton's Parlor Room, Boston's Club Passim and Mass MOCA's Freshgrass festival. Still, he remains something of a nomad, living out of his car in order to spend as much time as possible. Only Yesterday's songs are tender and tough, fleshed out with just enough gentle piano and vocal harmonies to invoke the huge and empty spaces of the American landscape, and the solitary traveler passing through it.
Izzy Heltai is an indie-folk singer-songwriter who puts a unique twist on traditional story-telling. Based out of Northampton, Massachusetts, Izzy’s songs reference specific images while simultaneously addressing broader universal truths, often inspired by the natural beauty of Western, Massachusetts.
"A voice that is equal parts gruff, sandpapered scratches, unfiltered and open just enough to let the story out and smooth,” says redline roots, Izzy’s songs are unmistakably his own, with a strong emphasis on the nuanced dynamics of his voice. With complex melodies and playful wordplay, Izzy’s work sounds unlike anything you’ve heard before but is still guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
As a solo artist who spends the majority of his time on the road, Izzy’s songs often reflect the joys of a semi-nomadic lifestyle – dealing with topics of impermanence, loneliness, love and its many manifestations, and what it means to find “home” outside of a permanent residence.
At 22-years-old, Izzy has already garnered a local loyal following in the New England Area. His debut EP “Sweet Apathy” was accompanied by a sold-out release show at the Historic Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, in January 2018, and Izzy continues to play other esteemed venues in the area, including Mass Moca, The Dreamaway Lodge and the Parlor room. He was also a recipient of a 2019 Club Passim Iguana Fund Grant for his forthcoming record.
In the summer of 2018, Izzy was named a finalist in Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Songwriting competition in Kerrville, TX, and in 2017 was included in Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s Grassy Hill Emerging Artist Showcase in Hillsdale, NY. He has performed at both regionally and nationally acclaimed festivals such as Ossipee Valley Music Festival in Cornish, ME and Freshgrass Bluegrass Festival at Mass MoCa in North Adams, MA, three years in a row.
On Izzy Heltai’s new studio EP Only Yesterday, his goal was to capture the complexity simple instrumentation can lend to lyrically rich folk songs. Only Yesterday is a collection of songs that both pays homage to Izzy’s traditional folk influences and reflects his desire to craft fresh melodies for a contemporary audience, representing where he’s been as well as where he’s going.
Having struggled with depression his entire life, Heltai’s new EP explores how a twisted perception of oneself can negatively affect one’s relationships with loved ones. On Only Yesterday he deals head on with an acute sense of self-doubt that has often left him struggling to show up when he is needed most.
This record tackles experiences of growing up and realizing the many manifestations love can take, even outside traditional romantic confines, and especially the power of community in the life of a young artist. Having spent the last few years semi-nomadically—usually sleeping in his car or camping—just so he can share his songs with as many people as possible, Heltai writes about the emotions that come with being on the road alone and what it means to seek a “home” outside of a permanent residence.
Using an amalgamation of vintage amps and microphones, Izzy’s goal was to give these songs enough grit to authentically depict the harshness of the subject matter at hand. The converted factory building in which they were recorded, meanwhile, helps to give the EP a breathability and storied quality that reflects the tenderness and care with which it was composed.
—Clandestine Label Services