Rachel Harrington

Tagged with: American Folk Country Soul Rachel Harrington Roots Knock Outs

 Rachel Harrington is a roots musician in the truest and purest sense, an artist who really understands and conveys the deep link between country and soul.

Her 2007 debut album The Bootlegger’s Daughter hit the No 1 spot on the Euro-American Chart, and Bob Harris has been singing her praises on his BBC Radio 2 show saying of her album “I am absolutely enchanted with this record!"

Rachel grew up in a small town in Oregon with a deep Pentecostal upbringing, from families of Danish dairymen and Irish lumberjacks. As a child, her only exposure to music was gospel - that and her father's secret Stax/Motown collection he'd amassed since his return from Vietnam. She especially loved the black gospel groups as well as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. Later, Rachel fell under the spell of Hank Williams, George Jones and Loretta Lynn, thanks to the influence of a horse-riding teacher whilst staying with relatives in Montana.

Her rural gospel roots shone through on her 2004 living room demo. That humble four-song EP spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association’s chart and garnered the Seattle siren some outstanding reviews. By 2006, Rachel was touring with her songwriting hero and country legend, Guy Clark, winning national songwriting awards, and performing at large festivals throughout the U.S.

From the crossroads of country, folk and bluegrass, her debut CD "The Bootlegger’s Daughter" (2007) featured some of Northwest America’s finest musicians, and co-produced with two-time Grammy winner Garey Shelton. The album has made its way around the globe, receiving rave reviews, reaching No.1 on the Euro-Americana Chart, and climbing into the Top 40 on the esteemed Americana Music Association’s radio chart in the US.

Rachel's eagerly-awaited follow-up CD City Of Refuge followed in 2008 cementing her astonishing stellar rise in the UK. In her home country, Starbucks requested three of the 10 tracks from ‘Refuge’ for in-store play throughout the USA, supported by national US distribution from Burnside.

Rachel has made a profound impression with her live performances wherever she has played, and already UK venues are re-booking her only a year later after her last gig. For the last three years Rachel has toured extensively throughout the UK and Europe, earning herself a reputation as one of the most hard-working artists on the Americana circuit.
Her new LP, "Celilo Falls", Rachel Harrington stakes out the territory where love and heartbreak duke it out, where the sacred and profane share a drunken lullaby and where life's most important moments are described with the unflinching, simple honesty afforded by a voice and a guitar. For Harrington, the songs on her third album are instinctive and easily described: "The record is about things that are real – your place in the world and the people there with you."

At once reverently traditional and boldly distinctive, Celilo Falls [suh-LIE-low] takes its name from a stretch of waterfalls along the Columbia River that divides the states of Oregon and Washington. Since the building of the giant Dalles Dam in the early 1950s, the once-raging falls have been completely buried, submerged
under the backwater of progress.

“A lot of this record is, for me, about what lies beneath.”

Harrington has a personal connection to the falls as well. Her grandmother was a welder on the Dalles Dam. In fact, it’s where her grandmother met her grandfather (see track 6). “If it weren’t for the dam, I wouldn’t be here.”

With timeless production by Evan Brubaker, Celilo Falls brings together an inspired cast of supporting musicians including Ronnie McCoury (Del McCoury Band) and Rod Clements (Lindisfarne, Bert Jansch). Harrington and Clements are fresh off a three-month European tour.

In 2011 Harrington formed a new band called the Knock Outs to present her songs in a Country format with three other musicians: Aimee Tubbs on drums and vox, Moe Provencher on electric bass and vox, and Alisa Milner on fiddle and vox.  They released an eponymous album in early 2012 and embarked on a tour of Belgium, Holland and the UK.

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 Sandy Anderson