|Wednesday 24 July 2019 @ 09:00pm : -
Raised in the Pentecostal pines of small-town Oregon, Rachel Harrington has been doing things in the wrong order for a long time. She was getting radio play before her first gig, and was opening for Grammy winners before her debut album came out. She’s earned songwriting recognition from contests at Merlefest, Falcon Ridge, Sisters, and others, and has a nice little collection of 4-star reviews on prior records.
In the eight years since Harrington’s last solo release (Celilo Falls, 2011), she’s been homesteading. Off the road, she got dogs and horses, fell in love, and put down roots. This new collection of songs is her most personal to date, farmed from the intervening years at home. Hush The Wild Horses has been a long time coming.
The title track is about her finding her forever love. Child of God, inspired by field-holler gospel-blues, revisits a #MeToo moment when Rachel was molested in grade school. The fingerpicking of I Meant To Go To Memphis reviews her travels and travails with addiction. The Barn is about her mother’s high school boyfriend who died while serving his country. Drop Zone’s rockabilly-driven lyrics are taken from Army training cadences Rachel learned from her future husband. Mekong Delta is about the suicide death of her uncle after serving in Vietnam. Save Yourself walks a mile in the shoes of Rachel’s homeless brother. And Susanna (a co-write with her son) is Harrington’s tender tribute to her songwriting hero, Guy Clark.
Recorded in Portland Oregon, Austin, and Nashville, the album is produced by Pdx music veteran Casey Neill, with John Morgan Askew on recording and mixing (Laura Gibson, Richmond Fontaine). Musicians of note include Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks, Richard Buckner) on pedal steel and slide, AMA Instrumentalist of the Year nominee Eamon McLoughlin (Emmylou, R. Crowell) on fiddle, Danny Barnes on banjo, with Laura Veirs and Shelley Short (Neko Case) on harmonies.