The Great Republic of Rough and Ready reexamine the traditions of country, folk, and blues in a unique style that is at once an offering of respect, an act of conservation, and an insightful critique. Their stripped-down reinterpretations – encompassing the works of artists from Ma Rainy to Skip James to Hank Williams – are steeped in craft, and imbued with a haunting stillness and subtlety. The sound is lonesome, quiet and incisive. It delights in small silences.

The group takes their name from the former sovereign nation of Rough and Ready, just outside of Nevada City in northern California. One of the most prosperous mining towns of the California Gold Rush, its residents seceded from the United States in 1850 – in protest of taxes on mining claims – forming The Great Republic of Rough and Ready. Less than four months later those same residents voted themselves back into the Union, so as not to be excluded from 4th of July festivities.

The Great Republic of Rough and Ready are Elissa Spencer (vocals) and Samuel Stein (guitar). Based in New York, they find themselves equally at home in upscale theaters and dive bars. In 2009 they were featured in New York City’s River To River and CMJ festivals, and have been commissioned to write and perform music for dance at Dance Theater Workshop and Judson Memorial Church. After hand-stitching sleeves for their debut self-titled EP, Lau derette Recordings will release the group’s first 7-inch in June 2010. The single features Hank William’s The Angel of Death on the A side, paired with the sobering verses of You Are My Sunshine. A downloadable EP, featuring additional bonus tracks, accompanies the record.


The Angel of Death 7-inch + EP
ST-3 / 2013
  • Vinyl
  • Digital