The wide and the mighty Mississippi she's a sight, won't you tell my Annie dear that she's still on my mind, won't you tell my Annie dear my darling she's a sight
These are the opening lines to "Annie Dear", the first track on Dietrich Strause's latest release, Little Stones to Break the Giant's Heart. It's a fitting way for the 27 year old songwriter to start his now third full-length album. "Nostalgia-porn," he calls it, "with a wide river to cross and an open road waiting on the other side." This spirit of reflection and adventure comes through in Strause's creations, with each one using a mix of timeless melody, literate lyricism, and a "virtuosic command of imagery." (WBUR, Boston's NPR) Whether he is performing solo, or leading his band, he draws in the audience and can bring the chattiest of rock clubs and bar rooms to a pin-drop volume. In the past year his songs have also caught the attention of modern folk luminaries such as Anais Mitchell, Aoife O'Donovan, Sarah Jarosz, The David Wax Museum, and The Stray Birds, earning him invitations to join them on stage and on tour, taking him throughout the West, Midwest, East Coast and Ireland.
For Little Stones to Break the Giant's Heart, he teamed up with producer and guitarist Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter) and much of his live-band, a collection of New England's finest rock and americana musicians. The album features Nevins on guitars, Billy Beard on drums (Patty Griffin), Sam Kassirer on piano and organ (Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter), and Zachariah Hickman on bass, bass clarinet, and pump organ (Ray LaMontagne, Josh Ritter). The backup singers include Rose Cousins, Amy Correia, and Anais Mitchell. The album has been covered by The Bluegrass Situation, CMT's The Edge, and in early 2014 two tracks were included on Starbucks' global playlist.
Strause grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in a family of Lutheran ministers, school teachers, and arborists. He began his life as a musician at 15, playing trumpet in an R&B band in biker bars in Southern Lancaster County. After attending Oberlin College, he moved to Boston and began touring regionally. Throughout the years he has worked as a painter, scribe, dog-walker, subject in medical research studies, and stained-glass window broker to develop and sustain the flexibility required of a touring musician. As a side-man, Dietrich has recorded and played guitar, piano, and trumpet with artists such as Lake Street Dive, Anthony D'Amato, Session Americana, and many more.