Hem: Liberty Mutual's Accomplishing What DreamWorks Couldn't

Hem has been honing their sound -- a blend of etherial vocals and Americana -- for close to seven years now. DreamWorks signed them in 2003, but couldn't make their records click at radio. Luckily, they've moved on to Rounder, and they're selling all three of their albums at their site.

"Half Acre," a song from their self-released CD, "Rabbit Songs," popped up on a compelling new ad from Liberty Mutual this past week.

Would this song have invaded our consciousness otherwise? Probably not. If I were a radio PD, I'd have no clue what to do with this song if it crossed my desk. However, in a true case of putting a song where its perfect audience is likely to hear it, this mini-music video is surprising folks wherever it lands. And listeners are paying way more attention than if they heard this on some playing-the-hits-at-work station.

Rounder, Hem's new label, is going to have to get ready to sell some records. (And, folks in Philly should check this band out at the TLA on Tuesday night.)

[ Side note: The day before I saw the ad for the first time, I happened to get a quote on my car insurance from them. Not only are they super-nice, but they're about $500 per year cheaper than GEICO. Great service and excellent taste in music... I like this company! ]