“They rouse in a way not unfamiliar from grand folk contemporaries, but find a middle ground between their respective influences and personal experiences in the whole to make something fresh and exciting.” – Jonathan Frahm, For Folk’s Sake

TUCSON (May 6, 2022) – Tucson husband-wife duo, RISO, announces the release of their upcoming album, New Eyes, on July 15. For New Eyes, Arizona folk music powerhouses Matt Rolland and Rebekah Sandoval Rolland have come full circle. Their band, RISO, is the culmination of a musical lifetime spent together – and the album is a document of the ebb and flow of the last decade of their lives as students, musicians, and, more recently, parents.

The album feels like the natural growth of an old tradition, flourishing into something new. Rebekah’s voice has a heartbreaking clarity and grace, traveling seamlessly between filigrees of a dreamy springtime delicacy and crescendos of strength. There is an innocence to it that makes the weight of her words hit all the stronger. Matt’s sure hand gives rise to it, responding to every nuance and cradling the sound with sometimes surprising textures – like a 60s psychedelic guitar jangle or French horn coming through the acoustic pop. His original instrumental tunes buoy the album forward, melding influences from Celtic, old-time, and bluegrass traditions.

The songs will break your heart and fix it again. From the wistful “Geometric Slide” to the jaunty “Caterpillar Prince,” from the ominous and smoky “Always Running” to the budding of desire in “Closer,” these are songs of innocence and of experience (to borrow from Blake).

 Matt and Rebekah summoned formidable friends to help with the project. Arthur Vint (credits include Postmodern Jukebox) provides the drums; Ryan David Green (Ryanhood) contributes electric guitar; Steff Koeppen (Steff and the Articles; Copeland) is on piano; Thøger Lund (Giant Sand) plays bass; Ben Plotnick (The Fretless, Oliver the Crow, and Atwood Quartet) and Kaitlyn Raitz (Oliver the Crow and Atwood Quartet) wrote several of the string arrangements and played fiddle and cello respectively. The album was engineered by Tucson stalwarts Peter Dalton Ronstadt and Steven Lee Tracy and mixed by Philip Shaw Bova (Father John Misty, Lake Street Dive, Feist). But such a team of captains – most lead their own bands – never overshadows the wit and heart of the Rollands. RISO is their love letter to you.

New Eyes Track Listing

  1. Closer
  2. Someday I’ll Take You Home
  3. Caterpillar Prince
  4. Penny Brown
  5. Doesn’t Stand to Reason
  6. Always Running
  7. In the Maze
  8. Geometric Slide
  9. New Eyes
  10. You’ll Never Be the Sun

About RISO

Matt Rolland and Rebekah Sandoval Rolland met as kids at the Arizona State Fiddle Contest, which Rebekah’s grandfather organized for many years. Matt was a frequent contestant in Payson, and both of them grew up in family bands, playing the Arizona bluegrass and acoustic festival circuit. When they both ended up at the University of Arizona, they started a band.  Rebekah’s songwriting has been recognized by the International Acoustic Music Awards and her last record, Seed & Silo, which Matt co-produced, was in the top three of PopMatters’ Best Folk Albums of the Year. Tucson Weekly also named it one of the best local albums of the year. Their other project, Run Boy Run, won support from Folk Alley, The Bluegrass Situation, and Acoustic Guitar.

The partnership led them through many musical projects over the years, but none more fully the both of them than RISO.

Tour Dates

5/13 Berger Performing Arts Center, Tucson, AZ

8/12 191 Toole, Tucson, AZ

8/23 Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, Peoria, AZ

1/8-1/15 Artist in Residence at Elkhorn Ranch, Tucson, AZ

Praise for Past Projects

“When I hear Run Boy Run, it all comes back to me, why I started doing that show back then. I hope they go on forever.” – Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion 

“Harmonies, strings, and a respect for heartfelt storytelling”  – The Bluegrass Situation 

“One of the top ten Arizona bands to hear now, Run Boy Run is becoming a prevalent force in the desert music scene.” – Adam Vitcanage, Paste Magazine 

“…a slice of folk perfection…with its wonderful layering of instruments, it’s a full 10 out of 10 on the musical beauty scale.” –Jonathan Aird, Americana UK

“Their delicately crafted music hits all of the right marks.” – PopMatters

“If you’re a music fan that appreciates artists who color outside the lines, I think you’ll enjoy the record. There is a lot to explore and hear and see and after listening to it a few times, you come away feeling a bit more enlightened.” –Shawn Underwood, Twangville

“…Rolland’s spirited heart is unrelenting. The way in which she so passionately delivers these authentic slices of folk storytelling makes for some of the most compelling listening from out of the roots world so far this year.” -Jonathan Frahm, For Folk’s Sake