Brooklyn indie folk duo The Welcome Wagon (Vito Aiuto and Monique Aiuto) release their album Esther today via Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Esther is the fourth full-length album from the Welcome Wagon as they return to Asthmatic Kitty Records, the label on which they began their musical journey. Fittingly, it is a record that explores the idea of home in all its beauty and complexity. It is as much about homecoming as it is about making peace with—and a home in—uncertainty. The project had its beginnings in the summer of 2017, when the family took a two-month sabbatical to California. Shortly after returning to Brooklyn, Vito found himself holding his guitar and allowing his fingers to play a few notes that just felt…right. Then the pandemic hit, and Vito’s strumming, lyrics, and thoughts became the soundtrack of the family’s lockdown lives.
Esther is part of an ongoing audiovisual collaboration between Monique and Vito. Monique has made a painting to correspond to each of Vito’s songs on the album, three of which are featured in the album’s artwork, with a limited edition print of the piece “Isaiah, California” available as part of a special LP bundle.
Earlier this week, The Welcome Wagon premiered their “”Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Record-Release Special!” Filmed in a retired Lutheran chapel somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, the special features songs from the duo’s new album ‘Esther,’ plus one classic. Surrounded by friends and family, Monique & Vito are joined on stage by a host of talented musicians – plus a few special guests! Watch HERE.
On October 12th The band released a video for “Matthew 7:7,” directed by We Are Films. Watch the video below.
“Its sound is instrumentally minimalist, with a country gospel cadence that made me think of my seventies childhood. The Aiutos’ voices and harmonies are tender and fragile, but also bright, tinged with hope.” – Image Journal
“‘Matthew 7:7’ is a light and lithe effort of pastoral folk, burnished by Vito’s stately acoustic strums and Monique’s airy plainspoken vocals. The track’s charms are simple yet enduring, conjuring an effortless sun-lit energy and plaintive lilting lull. Meanwhile, the track’s lyrics are equally straightforward and heartfelt, taking their themes from the titular Bible verse. The result is a track of stark nostalgic warmth, only made more welcoming thanks to the cracked recording from Monique’s grandmother Esther which closes out the song.”Under the Radar
“First single from the album ‘Isaiah, California‘ is a hypnotic meditation on love, and family and homecomings – and an acceptance of things as they are. And if it has hints of a modern hymn or religious reflection about it then that’s no coincidence – that’s the Reverend Vito Aiuto, after all. And earlier albums from the duo feature re-tuned hymns, as well as some original, liturgical and gospel songs. ‘Isaiah, California‘ fits into a strain of their music which, while not explicitly religious, has a reflective spiritual feel.” Americana UK