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ISMAY's 'Stranger in the Barn' is a Folktale Inspired by Ranch Life [Premiere]


California-based indie-folk artist ISMAY wowed mentors on Reese Witherspoon and Kacey Musgraves' AppleTV+ series My Kind of Country with both their original tunes and a dazzling cover of The Cranberries'  "Linger."

Part of My Kind of Country mentor Orville Peck's team, ISMAY is gearing up to release more original music inspired by their upbringing on their family's ranch in Petaluma, Calif.

ISMAY says "Stranger in the Barn," produced by Andrew Marlin of WATCHHOUSE (formerly Mandolin Orange), was inspired by an experience they had after their family purchased what was then a long-abandoned ranch.

"'Stranger in the Barn' is based on a real experience I had at my family's ranch," ISMAY tells Wide Open Country. "When we bought it, it had been abandoned by the owners for many years, and after looking around in the barn we realized that someone had been camping out in it, sleeping on the hay by the old saddles. Although we never saw the person who had been staying there, I started to imagine what we would have done if we had encountered that person. I wrote the song as an allegory based on this experience"


Listen to "Stranger in the Barn" below.

ISMAY released their debut album Songs of Sonoma Mountain, recorded in a 100-year-old sheep barn at their family ranch, in 2020.

They grew up backstage at their grandfather's famous Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, inspired by artists such as Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and Hazel Dickens. Since then, they've performed at the Strawberry Music Festival, The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, The Lantern Tour and more and opened for artists such as Steve Earle, Watchhouse, John Doe and Robert Earl Keene.



READ MORE: 'My Kind Of Country' Mentor Orville Peck on Championing LGBTQ+ Artists: 'Country Music Fans Love All Kinds of People'