Neptune's Car

Contemporary Folk Duo

Neptune’s Car (Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes) is an acoustic duo from Massachusetts and New Hampshire who play original, Contemporary Folk music.


After Holly Hanson wrote "Lighthouse Keeper" to help her boys with homeschool lessons, she decided they should live in a lighthouse. For an entire week, they were the keepers of an island lighthouse off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. Steve Hayes is the other half of this personable Americana duo, contributing his own well-crafted songs, as well as some damn good guitar work. They offer music in a down-to-earth style that is so good the prestigious Great American Song Contest called their "Fly Fishing the Big Hole" ". . . vivid, focused and engaging," and added, "It's a pleasure to hear songs of this caliber."
     Holly's light soprano blends perfectly with Steve's warm tenor. Vibrant lyrics and compelling melodies nestle in inviting arrangements, telling us stories rich in detail, from a miner's life in "A Blue Sky Turned to Rust," to "Emily Dickinson," told with lyrics as beautiful as the poet's work. "Saugerties, New York" uses this charming town as the backdrop to a romantic weekend at a lighthouse where you have to time your arrival so the tides will be out. The title cut of their most recent release, The 45th Parallel, is an engaging road song. With a laid-back feel of guitars, bass, and harmonies, you can envision that broken white line slip by as they sing: "The moon it glows like embers in the branches of the pines / In this small town in September on this parallel line." The 45th Parallel is their third album. They are currently composing songs for their fourth.
     Their unique name comes from the true story of a clipper ship captained by Mary Patten. In 1857, despite being pregnant, caring for her sick husband, and fighting off mutiny from the first mate, Mary successfully navigated the ship, Neptune's Car, around Cape Horn to San Francisco.
     Steve comes from a musical family, from a grandfather who played guitar, banjo, and ukulele, to his brother, a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show. He's an award-winning guitar player; from his first gig at age thirteen, to his twelve-year association with Holly, he's played all kinds of music including rock, country, jazz, funk, blues, and, of course, folk. Holly played music all through school, then took a twenty-year hiatus to raise her kids. She started writing music for her children's lessons "In the Blue Room" (Letters from the Road), grew out of a lesson about the constellations. After a successful open mike appearance, she jumped back into performing. You can hear several influences in Steve and Holly's music, from vivid story songs like John Prine's, to intricate guitar work inspired by Tony Rice.

Whether they're playing an intimate house concert or on the main stage at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, you'll love their welcoming presence and song variety. They've shared the stage with Bill Staines, Anne Hills, Archie Fisher, and many others. Their songs have charted on the Folk-DJ list – in 2015, The 45th Parallel was number twenty on the CD chart; quite impressive when you realize DJs receive hundreds of CDs a year. Public radio's popular Car Talk has featured their songs on four episodes.
     If you're looking for watertight harmonies, tasty guitar, and solid songs, look no further than Neptune's Car. You might want to check the nearest lighthouse, too.

The 45th Parallel charted at #2 in February 2015 and included two #5 songs, "The 45th Parallel" and "A Blue Sky Turned to Rust."

The 45th Parallel was the #20 album of 2015.

Letters from the Road charted at #21 in October 2012.

Strawberry Moon charted at #4 in September 2010 and included the #1 song “Lighthouse Keeper.”

2015 - Grassy Hill Emerging Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival

2015 - Selected as an Official Showcase Artist at Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM)

2014 - The Great American Song Contest Winner - Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting - Folk/Americana (Hanson)

2014 - World Folk Music Association (WFMA) Showcase Artist

2011 - Selected as a Quad Showcase Artist at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA)

1998 - New Hampshire Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year (Hayes)


Read all about our lighthouse adventures on The Keeper's Log.

Holly and Steve have perfect harmonies. Their eloquent stories paint wonderful pictures of imagery matched with a sweet upbeat melody. They introduce each song with wit and sensitivity, most based on reality. Both were appreciative of my hospitality and the warmth of the engaged audience. Easy to schedule and communicate with as well.
— R. Markle, Comfortable Concerts
Each of these songs is impressive in its own way. . . . The enchanting fly-fishing lyrical story is vivid, focused and engaging. It’s a pleasure to hear songs of this caliber.
— Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting - Folk/Americana - The Great American Song Contest
I am such a huge fan of this duo. In 2010, I named their release Strawberry Moon as the very best release of the year. Their follow up in 2012 Letters from the Road was equally impressive, and this CD — outstanding — already a lock for my Best of the Year list . . . anything this duo puts out, I am a true fan of.
— Barry Graham, Acoustic Highway, WHRV, Virginia
They have a lovely vocal-driven, acoustic sound, which I loved. . . . ‘Emily Dickinson’ is the track which stood out for me. It’s about a historic poet from Massachusetts. . . . They have a really nice sound. I really enjoyed this album.
— Stewart Fenwick, Scottish Radio from University of Strathclyde
Neptune’s Car got the first encore request of the 15 concerts we’ve had!!! They were fun start to finish with wonderful harmonies, energized guitar playing, and fun-loving banter between songs — a delight!
— Cindi H., Noble House Inn, Bridgton, ME
These two musicians have a comfortable and friendly stage presence that has the audience relaxed and captivated. Holly’s confident, sweet voice caresses her lyrics as Steve’s tasteful guitar licks and back-up vocals add the gilding that puts a shine on their well-polished tunes.
— Steve T., The Living Room Coffeehouse, Mason, NH
A beautiful blend of country and folk . . . Holly’s vocals are tender, warm and quite evocative with each song taking the form of a story or tale. Steve’s guitar playing complements Holly’s vocals perfectly giving each of the songs depth and character . . . it is worth taking time to listen to the lyrics as they hold the key to this feast of musical delights . . . there are hints of Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss but Neptune’s Car do not need to be compared to any other artists. This is a strong musical duo whose music can stand on its own two feet . . . The songs are beautiful and the overall atmosphere created is perfect.
— Maverick Magazine

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