The Grahams (from the album Riverman's Daughter) -What goes into an album? From outside, it would appear that an artist sits down, writes ten to twelve songs, goes into a recording studio to capture the tunes followed by a release and tour…..then, repeat.
Maybe that happens, though not to anyone that I have ever met. The way that artists, songs and marketplace collide changes with each artist and their recordings. Lifelong romantic partners, Alyssa and Doug Graham, had played and wrote together for many years after meeting in grade school but it was a tune the pair wrote in the summer of 2012, “Riverman’s Daughter”, that shifted things for them. For The Grahams, collecting the songs similar to “Riverman’s Daughter” would be the base of their debut album, and for an adventure that would take the pair from the Great North Woods to the Atchafalaya Swamp. They decided to put their city lives on hold, grab guitars and backpacks and travel the 2,500 miles of highways and byways of Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana. The exercise was to follow the Great River Road (GRR) that parallels the waterway, meet the people, and hear first-hand where European folk music, brought to these shores generations ago; to find out how American Roots joined up with rhythms and chants from Africa, and how these polarizing sounds formed the backbone of our 20th Century American musical heritage. The Grahams became a modern day Huck and Tom, and in the process created their debut album, Riverman's Daughter.
Alyssa is sitting next to you at the local diner sharing the what-if story of “Heaven Forbid” as a one-on-one conversation. The Grahams have a knack for becoming part of the sound rather than playing it on Riverman’s Daughter. They are your tour guides on the title track as it walks in with confidence on multiple sources of rhythm with, historians for small town loss in “The Piney River” and keepers of the flame burning over slow moving Americana as it waits for love in “Cathedral Pines”. The Grahams open Riverman’s Daughter with the soul seeking heat of “Revival Time” and bend fragile notes to hold up the lady in “Jericho” as she bids farewell to love and Joseph Cane all in the same breath, right before she heads to Austin with her guitar.