Homesteading. That’s what Rachel Harrington‘s been up to since music took a backseat to horses, health, and family life back home. Once touted by Maverick magazine as “the hardest working woman in Americana” due to her relentless touring schedule, Harrington took a sabbatical to recharge.

“I was physically exhausted and decided to take a break from touring. But once I stopped, I didn’t feel any better.”

Obamacare gave the musician reduced-cost healthcare – which was how she learned she’d been severely anaemic for years without knowing it, and had several underlying medical issues. Those took a couple of years to trouble-shoot and cure, but were eventually resolved and she finally began to regain her health and energy. She started playing guitar again. And she rescued two horses that were headed to slaughter. One of them nearly feral, she spent months working with trainers and vets on rehab.

“Being with horses again felt good and grounding. Mud in your boots every day. Outside in the weather, in the field, every morning and every evening. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a pain in the butt. But there’s nothing better for my soul than nature and animals. I started playing a lot of guitar around that time and I knew horses would be all over my next album.”

Then, Rachel’s grandmother fell ill. The women in the family came together to sit vigil at the matriarch’s dying bed. When not at the hospital, Harrington spent those nights in her grandmother’s now empty home, where Rachel slept in the bed of her deceased uncle. A Vietnam vet, he’d committed suicide after returning from the war.

“Those nights I spent in his bed, I couldn’t help but think of him. And then in my grandmother’s attic, after she died, we found a shoebox full of letters. They were all the letters he’d gotten while in the service. I started doing a lot of research about Vietnam and was stricken by how war affects us all.”The resulting song is ‘Mekong Delta’.

War is a recurrent theme on this album. Harrington has also penned a deeply personal song – ‘The Barn’ – for her mother, about her mother’s long ago high school love who was killed in service during Vietnam. Too, the rockabilly-styled ‘Drop Zone’ takes its public domain lyrics from Army marching cadences.

Another theme is addiction. Sober from 1999 to 2008, Harrington began drinking again when she started touring as a professional musician. After a lengthy struggle of stops and starts, Rachel quit for good in March 2018.

“That’s when I started writing again in earnest.”

And personal her writing has become. ‘Gave It All Away’ is about a musician friend who overdosed. ‘Save Yourself’ is about her meth-addicted homeless brother. ‘Child of God’ is about the sexual assault she experienced at the age of eight.

The album isn’t all briars though. Rachel’s fallen in love with a former soldier. There are several love songs about their romance.

Too, the record has a tribute to the late Guy Clark, one of Harrington’s songwriting heroes. That song, ‘Susanna’, takes its name from Clark’s wife, who preceded him in death by a few years.

Hush the Wild Horses, Rachel’s 5th full-length studio album, releases September 2019. Its themes are farmed from the last seven years at home in Oregon. Family stories, from horses to Graceland, from Vietnam to the sweet hereafter, from wagon ruts to the interstate, everything dusted with the American West.

Recorded in Portland, Oregon, Nashville and Austin, the album features guest musicians who were hand-picked for their particular sounds. Pedal steel legend Lloyd Maines (father of Dixie Chicks’ lead singer Natalie Maines) lends his twang and mood. Fiddle is provided by Grand Ole Opry staff fiddlerEamon McLoughlin (Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell), while Laura Veirs and Shelley Short (Neko Case) provide spot-on harmony vocals.

Produced by Portland veteran musician Casey Neill (Casey Neill and The Norway Rats), the album was recorded at Scenic Burrows studio with engineer John Morgan Askew (Richmond Fontaine, The Delines, Laura Gibson).

Rachel Harrington · July UK & September-October Netherlands & UK 2019 Tour


Thu 4             Basingstoke                                  The Forge @ The Anvil

Fri 5               Northampton                                Royal & Derngate

Sat 6              EastonSuffolk                              Maverick Festival 2019

Sun 7             Easton                                          Maverick Festival 2019, Gospel Brunch

Sun 7             King’s Lynn                                   Captain Fawcett’s Emporium

Wed 10          BiddulphStaffordshire                   Biddulph Town Hall

Fri 12             Beverley                                       The Monk’s Walk

Sun 14           Sheffield                                       The Greystones

Tue 16            Edinburgh                                     Leith Folk Club, Victoria Park House Hotel

Thu 18            Inverness                                     Eden Court Theatre

Sat 20            Gateshead                                    SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019, River Cruise(5:20pmwith Massy Ferguson

Sun 21            Gateshead                                    SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019, Concourse Stage (Noonwith Massy Ferguson

Mon 22           Birmingham                                  Kitchen Garden Café

Wed 24          Worth Matraversnr. Swanage       The Square & Compass

Thu 25            Bournemouth                               The Firkin Shed, Bluegrass Discovery

Fri 26             Poole                                             Beer and Bluegrass 2019

Sat 27            Poole                                             Beer and Bluegrass 2019

Sun 28            London                                          Green Note


Sun 29           SteendamNL                                The Podium Café

Mon 30           Utrecht NL                                     De Parel van Zuilen


Wed 2            GeldropNL                                   Roots in ‘t Groen / Heerenhuys 23

Thu 3             GemertNL                                    Tuney Thursday / De Bunker

Sun 6             Amsterdam                                   Café Westerdok

Tue 8             NijmegenNL                                Café Trianon

Sat 12            Turner’s HillW. Sussex                 Private House Concert

Sun 13           Nottingham                                  The Running Horse

Sat 19            Leeds                                            Seven Arts




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