If John Prine and Mitch Hedberg had a baby, the resulting product would resemble something very close to Portland, OR singer-songwriter John Craigie. Musically comparable to Prine, with the humor and wit of Hedberg, the humble, gracious, and hilarious Craigie is one of the best storytellers of our time. It’s no wonder that Chuck Norris sends him fan mail, and Todd Snider brings him gifts on stage.
The vagabond troubadour has charmed audiences in all 50 states and throughout much of Europe, with a DIY spirit seldom seen these days. While touring solo and with the likes of Todd Snider, the Shook Twins, Nicki Bluhm, and ALO, Craigie has taken the stage at festivals, sold out venues, intimate house concerts, center camp at Burning Man and even Gregory Alan Isakov’s farm. Although based in Portland, Craigie’s true home is on the road, and just like that he’s on to the next town, playing and singing and telling stories to everyone who wants to listen.
He’ll make you laugh and make you cry, all in the same song. With a fan-base that is more of a continually-expanding circle of friends, John Craigie’s true passion is connecting with people through shared experiences, stories, and song.
Rachael Kilgour is a Minnesota-based songwriter and performing artist whose sincere, lyric-driven work has been called both brave and humane. The 2015 grand prize winner of the esteemed international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center and by the ASCAP Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival. She was also a finalist in the 2015 Telluride Troubadour Contest. A versatile performer, Kilgour has shared stages with the likes of indie artists Haley Bonar & Jeremy Messersmith as well as folk legends Greg Brown, Cheryl Wheeler & Catie Curtis.
Married in her early twenties, Kilgour devoted her young adulthood to parenting her stepchild and building family and community. Her work from that time (Self-Titled 2008, Will You Marry Me? 2011, Whistleblower’s Manifesto 2013) chronicled her life as a young parent in a same-sex partnership and addressed sociopolitical issues from government corruption to income inequality and religious hypocrisy. Kilgour’s music career took a backseat during those years as she lived a slow, home-focused life.
In 2014, divorce brought an unwanted end to her role as a member of the family she had helped to grow. In the months following, Kilgour found solace in songwriting. Rabbit in the Road, was born out of that time: the love, loss, betrayal, disorientation and the profound sense of resilience that followed.
“While I have always felt a strong pull to address social injustices from the stage, this new collection of work requires something new of me,” Kilgour shared. “I feel called to use my platform to address emotion and grief and forgiveness in a way that is not often done in our culture.”
Though the album was instigated by a particular event in her life, each track explores a different aspect of Kilgour’s emotional journey. “I was taught from a young age that a person’s hurtful behavior is almost always a sign of inner pain and not a reflection of your self-worth. The second track on the album, ‘Deep Bruises’, was my attempt to put that belief into practice under the most difficult circumstances.”
Later, in “Ready Freddie”, Kilgour professes her unconditional love and confidence in her step-daughter as she steps into adolescence:
“I know you can take it
I believe that you will make it
On your own somehow
Maybe not right now
But I can see you’re almost ready
Do you think you’re ready Freddie?
Say it right out loud
You’re gonna make me proud”
Finally, in the title track, Kilgour examines the dualities of forgiveness. As is true of the album in its entirety, the detailed examination of Kilgour’s relationships and emotions is surprisingly universal:
“With your hands around his neck
You spared his misery
How swift you gave that rabbit
What you couldn’t give to me”
Rabbit in the Road, is due out March 3rd, 2017 on NewSong Recordings. It was produced by Catie Curtis with help from sound engineer, Crit Harmon and mixed by Gar Ragland at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC. The album takes an intimate and often painful look at the failed marriage and loss of family. Kilgour’s writing and delivery cut deep, with resolute simplicity. Sorrow, rage, resilience and compassion exist side by side within a series of honest and memorable melodies. The collection of work stands tall on a foundation of vulnerability and opens the door to moments of profound connection.
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