In February of 2006, Lee Erickson was dying. Erickson was an artist living in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, married to Bethany, a biolo- gist with a love of music. Bethany's sister Jenny, also a musician, came to join them, in the darkest hour. Erickson, an expansive artistic force, looked to the future even as his own end came. "Jenny," he told her, "you gotta do your music." Lee Erickson died later that spring and Bethany's accumulated songs became a lifeline. After a trip to India, she and Jenny moved to Brooklyn to begin playing out. They played as The Ericksons, but skirted the true meaning of the name. "It worked in Brooklyn," Jenny laughs, "because there aren't many Scan- dinavians." Their floating folk and blues harmonies won fans and in 2008, The Ericksons released their first record, Middle of the Night, a raw, acoustic set of songs. Home called to the sisters, though, and they returned to the Midwest and in 2010, released Don't Be Scared, Don't Be Alarmed, a record more fully fleshed out by producer Beau Sorenson (who produced Field Report's de- but). Their first records, with their picked guitars and strings, their animal, natural harmonies hinted at a greater loss. That great loss, and the move to acceptance and love is key to the lush new release from The Ericksons, The Wild. For The Wild, the connections strengthened through music led to just the right situations. The Ericksons returned to Sorensen to produce, who led to the pedal steel of Ben Lester, whose warm, haunting instrumentation couples perfectly with the intertwining voices of the sisters. Recording at Justin Vernon's April Base Studios in Fall Creek, Wisconsin meant that they were home, close to the love and grief first sparked this journey. The result is the fullest, richest record yet from The Ericksons, an honest reckoning, rooted in American sounds. Wearing influ- ences like A.A. Bondy, Emmylou Harris and The Pines on their sleeves, The Wild completely envelops the listener in the life that Bethany and Jenny have made in song. From the torch song with a gasping punch of "Find Yourself a Lover" to the open, beating heart of "Six Feet Underground" and the every- day blues of "Dirty Dishes," there is a universal beauty here that transcends lived pain. "We couldn't keep going without real people," Bethany con- fides, "that's what sustains us." The music that The Ericksons makes keeps light alive through this mysterious, tricky life. It's the music that you gotta do. "Sisters Bethany Valentini and Jenny Kochsiek cultivate a sound that is sparse and dark, a little Appalachian and a little bluegrass. Their lyrics are in the tradition of a storyteller, humble but with heart and soul, and the sisters share an impec- cable intuition for melody." -City Pages.