Drawing inspiration from the first wave of alternative country (early Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo, The Waco Brothers & Whiskeytown), as well as traditional country and rock (Neil Young, The Band, The Faces & The Stones), Brooklyn-based Empire of Light brings together members of seminal Upstate roots-rockers Subduing Mara – frontman Peter Hutchison & guitarist Brian Wilkens - with ace rhythm section and veteran sidemen Keith Robinson (Marcia Ball, Charlie Robison, Charlie Sexton) & Dan Green (Mike Viola, Sam Bisbee, The Honey Brothers, The Silos).
Produced by Andris Balins (Lana Del Rey, Sean Lennon’s The Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger and The Moonlandingz, Fat White Family) and band member Keith Robinson, “Let There Be Light” evokes equal parts rural Upstate New York and urban old-school Brooklyn – between which the recording was split. The end result is a distillation oftimeless, original New Traditionalist Americana Rock.
“The best band you never heard of”
A constant presence on college radio and the CMJ charts in the 90’s, Subduing Mara built a name for themselves through their electrifying live shows – earning them critical praise as “The best band you never heard of”, and “enough to justify belief in Rock'n'Roll". Music critics have credited the band as an influential voice in the Alt Country/Roots Rock revival – echoing the work of contemporaries Uncle Tupelo (Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy & Sun Volt’s Jay Farrar) and Ryan Adam’s Whiskeytown.
Over the past 2 decades Hutchison has released a string of critically-acclaimed albums - including the Village Voice Music Critics Year's Best/Top 10 Album“No Cure for Life” (as Lucas Shine) with Miracle Legion founder Mr. Ray Neal. His output has been graced by contributions from a host of NY session luminaries,who have worked with the likes of The Georgia Satellites, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Paul Westerberg, Hem, Ryan Adams, The Band, Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel,The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Greg Allman Band, Spyro Gyra,The Mingus Big Band, Ray Charles, Dr. John,David Bromberg, Linda Ronstadt, The Silos, Graham Parker, John Dee Graham and Syd Straw.