This compilation episode features three standout emerging artists performing in three remarkable locations: folk singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan (best known for her work with Damien Rice) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Montclair, New Jersey; R&B singer-songwriter Daniel Merriweather at the famed art auction house Sotheby’s in New York City; and alternative pop songstress A Fine Frenzy at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in the Hamptons.
Best known for her multiplatinum collaborations with fellow Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan emerged as a performer in her own right with her debut album, Sea Sew, which Entertainment Weekly dubbed “the perfect album for cozying up by the fire on a winter-chilled Sunday afternoon.” Australian soul singer-songwriter Daniel Merriweather has garnered much acclaim with his debut album, Love and War, already an enormous hit in the UK, where he was nominated for the 2010 Brit Award for International Breakthrough Act. A Fine Frenzy’s debut record, One Cell in the Sea, cracked the Billboard Top 100, earned the #1 spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, and garnered recognition as a VH1 “You Oughta Know” artist.
In 1902, the UU congregation in Montclair purchased a plot of land on Church Street for $4,000. Two and a half years later, construction had finished and fame would soon find its way to the pulpit. In 1909, the church started the Unity Forum, which brought prominent speakers to Montclair such as William Jennings Bryant, Clarence Darrow, W.E.B. DuBois, Robert Frost, Mother Jones, Margaret Sanger, and Booker T. Washington. Four years later, the church doubled its size only for misfortune to follow. On March 2, 1919, a fire consumed the entire roof of the church and extensive repairs were required. The building was rebuilt in 1920, with several additions. Nearly 90 years later in 2005-2008, the congregation raised just below a million dollars (nearly ten times what the land was bought for taking inflation into account) for a complete renovation of the building. The church stands proudly today, a tried testament of the faith of its members and the enduring spirit of good will.