In the autumn of 2007, Julie Vitells put down her banjo, picked up a guitar, and wrote her first song. After a few more, her style emerged- delicate, thoughtful and funny, drawing from influences such as traditional Appalachian ballads and the anti-folk scene. Despite having sworn never to let anyone hear her play, she reluctantly performed at the annual Portland Old-Time Gathering Cabaret. In the wake of the unexpected flood of compliments, she decided that playing for the public wasn't so bad after all. In the year since, Julie has enlisted her sister, Sophie Vitells, violinist for Portland's Do Jump! Theater, Gov't Issue Orchestra and San Francisco's folk/Americana darlings The Crooked Jades. They are joined by Karin Nystrom, a dear friend and vocalist for Portland folk-rocker Huck Notari. These three make up the band now called What Hearts. The trio has performed regularly throughout the last year, packing the house at various acoustic haunts and sharing the stage with Portland's Hearts of Oak, Dallas songwriter Kristy Kruger, and Brooklyn-based Benyaro. They have just released their first CD, 'The Goldenest Promise'. Julie and Sophie hail from Albuquerque, NM and share their Americana-influenced musical background. Sophie began studying violin at the age of 7, playing klezmer, bluegrass, old-time and classical. In high school, a family friend introduced Sophie and Julie to Portland's thriving old-time music scene. That summer, the sisters and two friends formed the makeshift, all female Quarter-Ton Stringband and played street corners up and down the west coast, hopping trains from town to town. In the years that followed, the sisters were often to be found in friends' kitchens at all hours of the night, playing raucous Appalachian tunes on banjo and fiddle. Sophie has traveled through the south, meeting some of the genre's most enduring figures and making a splash at nationwide fiddle festivals as one of the west coast's youngest and finest. She is What Hearts' drummer as well as their violinist. Julie's songs have been marked by those whiskey-soaked fiddle tunes, but her lyrics are reflective of life in Portland in 2009, rather than aiming to capture a bygone time. Karin, a honey-voiced transplant from the howling winds of Minnesota, adds layers of complexity with her seamless vocal and guitar harmonies. Above all, What Hearts' songs are honest, employing cynicism, humor, quirk and pathos to describe a human condition that is completely relatable in it's oddity and sadness.