the story

Founded in a university dorm room by songwriter Samuel Emerson Bodary, Hello Emerson tells small stories about the quiet successes and small disappointments of living in the midwestern United States, backed by a fingerpicked guitar and a BA in English Literature. They are represented in Europe by K&F Records, but stand on their own two feet at home in the US.


German Press

Rarely have debut of the current singer-songwriter generation such a sense of catchy songs, original instrumentations, and imaginative texts.
— MDR Kultur
Idiosyncratic folk and bluegrass songs sometimes as a rampant stream-of-consciousness text flood, sometimes in the form of a short story... Conor Oberst and John Darnielle say hello.
— Rolling Stone Magazin (3/5 stars)
Amazingly mature debut of a young, literary American: Sam Bodary is just 23, but Hello Emerson sounds like the sublime intersection of the best American indie folk bands.
— Glitterhouse

In 2015, Hello Emerson self-released a cassette tape, “Bridge/Straw/Lake” in their backyard of Columbus, Ohio. It was performed solo, a single, 20-minute take of only vocals and guitar. Fellow Columbus songwriter Field Sleeper shared the other half of the cassette.

Over the following months, Bodary met bandmates Jack Doran (keyboards) and Dan Seibert (percussion), forming the core trio of the lineup. Now a rotating cast of characters, Hello Emerson is rarely the same from show to show.

Their debut full length, “Above the Floorboards,” came out in August 2017. Two years after the solo cassette, the record had help from 23 contributors, rounding out Bodary’s songs with string trio, horn quartet, pedal steel, and found sound recordings.

Paper Throw Trio.jpg
Happy Porch.jpg

Following a sold out US release show with a 13 piece band, responses to the record began to pop up. “The best music will paint the most beautiful pictures in your mind and in your heart,” and Hello Emerson is “absolutely one of those gems.”

“Emerson’s lyrics linger over particulars and enumerate on memories and meanings. The poetry is at times too rapturous and at others lacking,” writes The Indie Sound, “but it’s the way Hello Emerson’s music vacillates almost constantly between the two that cuts so finely into your soul.”

The following year, Hello Emerson signed with Dresden-based singer-songwriter label K&F Records for a European release. They toured Germany in 2018, playing 21 shows in 24 days. Critically lauded, Above the Floorboards was featured in Rolling Stone’s “Short Cuts,” with comparisons to Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. They performed on Duetschlandfulk Kultur, a national German arts and culture radio station, and were pleasantly surprised to hear songs from the record when scanning FM stations on the autobahn.

Still based in Columbus, they continue to play regularly, tour regionally, and quietly write and arrange songs for some not so far off day.


US Press

Though the pristinely recorded, fingerpicked folk songs are now filled out with piano, pedal steel, percussion, string sections and horn sections, Bodary, who graduated with an English degree in May of last year, is still focused on the little things, no matter how big the song arrangements have become.
— Columbus Alive
Hello Emerson feels singular, like something I want to be preserved... They feel like professionals simply doing their thing, asking for nothing more than to be listened to.
— The Indie Sound
Pushing limits during performances is just scratching the surface of Hello Emerson’s collaborative efforts. On “Above the Floorboards,” more than 20 companions contributed to the debut’s recordings, adding layers both complex and unforeseen in most folk albums.
— In the Record Store

If you send them a kind email, they will more than likely play in your living room. Please direct booking inquiries, pleasantries, and rick rolls to helloemersonmusic@gmail.com


the people

Samuel Emerson Bodary | Songwriting and Vocals and Guitar and Logistics and such
Jack Keating Doran | Keyboards
Daniel Lawrence Seibert | Percussion and Arrangements
Erin Mason | Vocals
Kyle Kerley | Horn and Arrangements
Corbin Pratt | Pedal Steel
Stephen Forster | Cello
Tristan L’Heureux | Viola
Kristen Peters | Violin
Adam Murray | Violin
Zach Zerkle | Bass Trombone
Lee Tucker | Trumpet
Jon Weisbrot | Alto Saxophone
Vince Gillotti | Alto Saxophone
Nick Vermilye | Tenor Saxophone
Alexander Paquet | Synthesizers and electric guitar
Alex Blumenthaler | Upright Bass
Robert Bodary | Sideways Bass
Robert Dunne | 1969 Volkswagen Transporter named “Lucy”
Victoria Butash | Recording and engineering and mixing and production
Varun Chandrasekhar | Studio Support
Matt Ciani | Mastering
Michelle Ewert | Artwork
Tiera Suggs | Photography
Annelise Powers | Digital Design and Mothering of Emerson