“There is a special connection between American folk music and the railroad that has no parallel elsewhere in the world. Rail lines stitch together the sprawling fabric of American song. As writers of Americana music, our goal is to draw on the deep, recurring sources of American folk culture, giving them new shape.” The Grahams, 2014
The unique process that Americana group The Grahams employed in the writing of their debut album Riverman’s Daughter resonated so well with the Nashville based band that they undertook a similar technique in the creation of new material, which will come together on their sophomore release on May 19, 2105.
With Riverman’s Daughter The Grahams traveled the Mississippi-hugging Great River Road, winding up on a houseboat in the Louisiana swamp where their songs of the river came together. A similar process went into the writing of new material, except this time, instead of following the lazy river, The Grahams rode streamlined rails, jumping aboard almost all the Amtrak cars including the Adirondack Line, the Texas Eagle, and the Sunset Limited, crisscrossing the country as the America that informs their songs whizzed by.
“Our methodology is to follow the paths and revisit the places that inspired our predecessors, not because we want to imitate them or faithfully reproduce their work, but because we are looking for the modern echo of older sounds, and hope to give shape to these enduring reverberations. Nothing can serve that methodology better than riding the rails.”
Lifelong couple, both romantic and musical, Alyssa and Doug Graham have been performing together since they were teenagers, but fully committed to embracing their duo-ness with the release of the Graham’s debut in 2013. 2014 saw them play over 100 shows in support of Riverman’s Daughter, including a three-week run in Australia, which culminated with a performance at the Sydney Blues & Roots festival. The album was released on their own 12 South Records worldwide, except in Australia where Sony Music released it; in the U.S. RD spent 11 weeks in the Top 40 at Americana Radio.
No strangers to the media they have appeared on Woodsongs, ABC TV and CBS Morning, and have been praised by American Songwriter, USA Today and the New York Times
With their sophomore album, Glory Bound, which was produced by Wes Sharon (John Fullbright, Parker Millsap) and will be released on May 19 2015, The Graham’s are expanding their roots-based sound to include more propulsive and dynamic songs, as influenced by the speed and energy of their recent cross-country train travels, where the songs came together.
Concurrently, they will be releasing a live album and film, Rattle the Hocks, both produced and directed by Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, which chronicles their train-bound excursions and the influence of train travel on American roots music.
“We are not trying to reproduce the music of Woody Guthrie of Leadbelly or any other folk hero, but we are endlessly drawn to the master lines they (and their own forebears) laid down.
Riding the rails gave us richer opportunities for this kind of work, allowing us to make the connection between rail and American song new, in a way that also honors the deep tradition of that connection.