Recording Anaïs Mitchell and Friends: “Why We Build the Wall”

by Dave Godowsky | April 5, 2018

Anaïs Mitchell’s 2010 album Hadestown was a revelatory convergence of songwriting and greek mythology, packaged in a format that’s since been adapted to an acclaimed stage musical. One of the standout songs, “Why We Build The Wall,” is sung from the point of view of Hades, and has since taken on new meaning in light of recent US politics.

We met up with Mitchell and several of her friends and musical peers (Alec Spiegelman, Lula Wiles, Kristin Andreassen, and Wallis Bird) at the 2018 Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City, where they recorded a stunning version of the song. Each performer tracked his or her part independently of each other, in various locations. The result is a testament to the importance of environment in the recording process, and how Spire can be uniquely valuable for capturing it.