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Rachel Harrington: News

Hush The Wild Horses - September 6, 2019

Release day!! Hush The Wild Horses...

My accompanying novella below. Cuz duh. xo!


All art is failure. It begins in the ethers of the imagination, wild and unknown, unbound by space and time and the constraints of form. Until one day when the imagined is brought to life, as god heaved breath into the lungs of (her metaphorical) Adam… And art animates. But being form now, it is forever after divorced from its origin as concept.

And so it is that manifest art - the formless made into form - is, by its very nature, genetically flawed. As an inherent function of its now-physical DNA, it will never be the ethereal dream it was in invisible gestation.

And that is as it should be. It is why we sit down again and again, pen in hand, a blank page before us. Why we put off drill and duty. Why we kiss lovers and leave them. Why we close the door to family and shutter the windows to friends. Why we scurry ourselves to our dark desk corners and pull the chain on our lamps. Pen in hand and blank page. We do this because we have failed. We had an idea. We tried to make an actual thing from that idea. And we have, as always, failed. And so here we now sit, to try again.

In this way, art begets art.

This is not the album I set out to make. I intended to write something small. Dark. Low-budget. Acoustic. Intimate.

But songs... they are unruly children. Look at me! Watch! I need more attention! They pester and pull at your apron. As their mother, you wanted to teach the well-behaved ones about the leaves of the oak tree but instead some rascals got into a pile of coal and let the chickens out.

These are the songs that wouldn’t leave me alone. They woke me up at night. They bothered my dreams. They made me cry in coffee shops and get honked at behind green lights. The took my ears from conversations and made me have to ask to friends, “I’m sorry – what were you just saying?” They stopped me on the hiking trail and took my breath away. They filled up the Notes and Voice Memo apps on my iPhone. They haunted me.

And then when I went to record them, they just kept telling me what THEY wanted to do. So, instead of trying to make them do what I wanted (which would have been a failure anyway), I let them tell me what to do. As such, they are now full and complete failures all their very own. And they are perfect.

With the exception of my son, I have never loved anything I’ve made. Until now.

At the workshop I took with Mary Gauthier last winter, she said that as songwriters, if we do our craft as it should properly be done, if we do it right, our songs are our best teachers. I did not fully understand what she meant then. But I do now. Hush The Wild Horses has shown me how to write, how to work, how to listen, how to be present and engaged with art and the mysterious forces behind it. These songs make me sound wise and evolved. Like I knew what I was doing all along. Trust me when I say: I did not. These songs taught me to be quiet and patient. To listen for that always too quiet inner voice that speaks in riddles, and then, if you work long enough and hard enough and with enough patience, they suddenly bloom into something that you don’t even feel you can take credit for.

To my folks, Sandra Anderson and Wayne Anderson – for all their help. My mom is my forever superhero and bff, and my Pop – well… being a step-dad is a shitty job. But being a new step-dad to the ultra-rebellious 16-year-old Rachel? Holy smokes! We only made it through that because of you and I’m so grateful. Thank you both for everything.

To Mandolin Hooper– thanks for being such an inspiration. You are my golden treasure in this life. And our co-write on this album is a thing of real beauty.

To Jeff Saunders – thank you for your patience with my being away to write, and then record, and now touring. It’s not always easy. Other girls would be home a lot more. But then again, they wouldn’t write you love songs and play you delta blues. ;-) It’s a tradeoff I reckon. Thank you for choosing me.

To producer Casey Neill – for midwifing these wild ponies. And to engineer and studio owner John Morgan Askew – you guys are THE SHIT, man. And the coolest part? How much frickin fun we had! Easy, fun, fast, painless. Let’s do it again next spring.

To the musicians – Ji Tanzer, Jesse Emerson, Allen Hunter, Shelley Short, Laura Veirs, Lloyd Maines, Eamon McLoughlin, and Jon Neufeld. So much gratitude.

To Rachael Rossman - the horse painting = love.

To my fellow songwriters - you inspire me. Thanks especially to my fellow students at Mary's workshop last January and my fellow students at Pattison's workshop at Rocky Mountain Song School.

To these songs – and this album – thank you SO MUCH. I’m gonna cry right now as I write this because I learned SO MUCH from you. I’ve come to think of songs as ghosts. Invisible ghosts. We humans (well, the songwriters among us anyway) have an extra sense beside the six we normally consider. I’ve come to think of this other sense as – wait for it – invisible tentacles.* We reach out beyond the physical world with these tentacles to touch invisible ghosts. Ya with me? Let’s back up a second.

So. Imagine everything that is YOU. Everything that constitutes the being known as YOU. Your body, your memories, your stories, your blood and guts, your spirit, your energy, your saliva, your crooked toes…. Everything that constitutes the creature known as YOU. Ok? Now divide that pile of everything in two: one pile is all the physical stuff (your eyes, your ears, your arms, your cells…); and the other pile is all the non-physical stuff (whatever that means to you). Ok? Now. We’re gonna focus on that non-physical pile. In your mind, put a sort of … hazy force field … around that non-physical pile. A gentle, invisible gauze that is just enough to give that pile a vague shape and keep it contained. Ok. Now, from the force field, grow invisible tentacles. These invisible tentacles are covered with invisible cilia. The function of the tentacles and cilia is simply to detect. To feel whatever it is that can they feel, to “touch” the invisible stuff that cannot be seen. They simply detect… like… I don’t know… a satellite floating in space waiting to see signs of life. Anyway. Close your eyes, and in your mind, you can grow the invisible tentacles out into the invisible world, where they wave and quiver and swim. And if you are quiet and wait patiently, they will detect ghosts. Pretty cool, huh? Now, when one of your tentacles has detected a ghost, the cilia carefully and delicately clamber all over the ghost, detecting and sensing everything about it that they can. Your job, as the writer, is to paint the ghost. The “paint” that we have is called words. Using words, in all the various colors and textures, we paint and paint (SHOWING, not telling!) with ever increasing detail (aka work. Earnest, concentrated, diligent, focused WORK) until the ghost, once invisible and silent, is now animated and can be clearly seen and heard. And that is how we show the invisible ghost to the world.

That’s as close as I’ve come to articulating what songwriting feels like to me now.

I feel very close to these ghosts, the ones on this album, as a mother to a child or… not even that is the right metaphor. It’s something else. Because these ghosts are the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. They’ve shown me things about myself that I never knew. They’ve taught me how to walk through the world in a way that I’m more whole. These ghosts are living, breathing creatures now, and this herd of songs, this album, my first in 7 years, will forever be remembered by me as … the time I really, deeply, truly learned how to write.

My final and biggest thanks goes out to those who pre-ordered and donated. This album is YOURS. I hope you feel that way. I hope you feel like you’ve been along for the ride, to see the invisible become a living creature and take its first steps into the world. Much love to you and, as always, thank you for the good work you do in the world and for supporting handspun music.

For some reason I was born with something inside me that always wants to get out. When I listen close to that thing, it’s music. And this album is what it sang to me lately. I hope you enjoy.


*Do not worry. I have not lost my shit. This is all metaphorical. Carry on.

The last of my Horses cd release touring...
Fall 2019

Sept 20 Blue Side Tavern, Frederick MD
Sept 21 House concert, Pittsburgh PA
Sept 25 The Music Café, Damascus MD
Sept 29 Podiumcafe, Steendam NL
Sept 30 De Parel van Zuilen, Utrecht NL
Oct 2 Roots In’t Groen, Geldrop NL
Oct 3 De Bunker, Gemert NL
Oct 6 House concert, Amsterdam NL
Oct 8 Café Trianon, Nijmegen NL
Oct 12 House concert, Crawley UK
Oct 13 Running Horse, Nottingham UK
Oct 17 TBA, Cottingham UK
Oct 18 TBA, Scarborough UK
Oct 19 Seven Arts, Leeds UK
Dec 1 Tractor Tavern, Seattle WA

Hush The Wild Horses

Digital on iTunes:
Physical copies:

Weekly Singles from New Album! - June 22, 2019

:: hush the wild horses ::

Raised in the Pentecostal pines of small-town Oregon, Rachel Harrington has been doing things in the wrong order for a long time. She was getting radio play before her first gig, and was opening for Grammy winners before her debut album came out. She’s earned songwriting recognition from contests at Merlefest, Falcon Ridge, Sisters, and others, and has a nice little collection of 4-star reviews on prior records.

In the eight years since Harrington's last solo release (Celilo Falls, 2011), she's been homesteading. Off the road, she got dogs and horses, fell in love, put down the bottle, and picked up the bridle. In January of 2019, Rachel attended a Mary Gauthier songwriting retreat in Nashville. Encouraged by the veteran troubadour to "try write songs that only YOU can write," Harrington spent the next four months engrossed full-time in composing this collection of new songs that is her most personal to date, farmed directly from home.  

The title track is about finding love in the turbulent ride that life can sometimes be. Child of God, inspired by field-holler gospel-blues, revisits a #MeToo moment when Rachel was molested in grade school. The fingerpicking of I Meant To Go To Memphis reviews her travels and travails with addiction. The Barn is about her mother’s high school boyfriend who died while serving his country. Drop Zone’s rockabilly-driven lyrics are taken from Army training cadences. Mekong Delta is about the suicide death of her uncle after serving in Vietnam. Save Yourself walks a mile in the shoes of Rachel’s homeless brother. And Susanna (a co-write with her son) is Harrington’s tender tribute to her songwriting hero, Guy Clark.

Recorded in Portland Oregon,  Austin, and Nashville, the album is produced by Pdx music veteran Casey Neill, with John Morgan Askew on recording and mixing (Laura Gibson, Richmond Fontaine). Musicians of note include Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks, Richard Buckner) on pedal steel and slide,  AMA Instrumentalist of the Year nominee Eamon McLoughlin (Emmylou, R. Crowell) on fiddle, Danny Barnes on banjo, with Laura Veirs and Shelley Short (Neko Case) on harmonies.

Weekly singles releasing now until the official album release date.



Hush The Wild Horses: DONE! - June 1, 2019


Yesterday was my birthday, and today I got the best present ever. Hush The Wild Horses, my 5th full length studio album, is complete. It releases in the UK in July, and sometime this fall in the US. 

This album is the best thing I've ever done in my whole life. I can't wait to share it with you.

Love, Rach

2019 Album & Touring - March 7, 2019

Hey there!

Happy Townes Van Zandt's birthday, and thanks for stopping by. I'm at work finishing songs for my new album, Hush The Wild Horses. Now we just need to raise the last little bit before I get into the studio.

To follow along in the writing and recording process, visit my songwriting blog here:

To pre-order the new album or otherwise donate to the cause, go here:

I Wish I Was In Austin, my lo-fi, entirely solo covers album, is done! Listen and download here:

I'll be touring the UK all of July. Then the American West in August. Then I head over to the Netherlands in late Sept, with a week or two in the UK in Oct.


New Albums & Tour - September 2, 2018

Thanks for stopping by! After a 6-year hiatus from recording and touring, I'm back in the saddle. I'm happy to announce two new albums. One is a covers album of some of favorite songs by some of my favorite songwriters. It's called I Wish I Was In Austin and it comes out soon. The other is an album of new original songs. That's called Hush The Wild Horses, and that'll come out in 2019. For more info on the album of originals, please visit the New Album page:

I'm also hitting the road again soon. See the tour dates page.

And, since I've got you here, I want to say thanks a bunch for your support over the years. Means a lot to this girl who just wanted to be a country singer when she grew up.

Hope to see ya soon!

Your fan,

On The Road Again! - August 12, 2017

Hi there,

I'm just finishing my first tour in five years. I was invited by one of my favorite festivals to play this summer, in Scotland, and couldn't say no. That turned into two and half weeks of gigs in the UK. I gotta tell ya - it was awesome. I was scared to death to tour solo, and after all this time, and without a proper new album... Who's gonna remember me? Who's gonna come to the shows? Who's gonna care?

The answer was clear. YOU. It's just crazy. After all this time, folks crawling out of the woodwork to come hear me play. So many of them have all my cds, just huge fans, and so happy to see me back. Folks saying how much they enjoyed the shows, hoping I'll come back soon, and asking when or if I'll ever have a new cd out.

So. I have one show left on this tour, in London. But once I'm back home, I'm gonna circle the wagons and figure out how to get this pony show back in gear. These years I've taken this break, I've been playing guitar a bunch, and have two dozen songs that send tingles down my spine. Maybe they will yours too? We'll see...

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and coming out to shows (rare as they have been), and for sending me little notes and well wishes. Taken to heart, my friend. Thank you.

More news soon...

Much love,

Taking A Break - November 16, 2013

Thanks for stopping by. Rachel is currently taking a break from recording and touring. Sign up on the mailing list if you'd like to be kept up to speed with any new plans as they develop.

New album, US release! - June 11, 2012

RH & The Knock Outs are recently back from a 5-week tour through Europe. 32 shows in 35 days, with 12 of the gigs sold-out and a feature on BBC2's legendary Bob Harris show.  

Rachel's 4th album, "Makin' Our House A Honkytonk," officially releases in the US on June 19, 2012.  Buy it here:   Rachel will tour (as a duo) in the US behind the new album.  New live dates coming in each week - stay tuned.


Maverick Magazine ~ 5/5 stars.  "As country as country gets!"

Fatea Records ~ "Loretta Lynn? Move over and make way for your natural successor to take centre stage."

Q Magazine ~ "Harrington makes Neko Case sound like Olivia Newton John"

Lonesome Highway ~ "Powerhouse lead vocals ... her delivery is spot on making this a must have for lovers of that classic country sound, a sound that is fresh, alive and beating. One that could scare Country Radio right out of it's trainers."

Electric Ghost ~ "1960's pre-countrypolitan Nashville ... the closest thing you'll hear to a new Loretta Lynn album since Loretta was a 29 year old grandmother"

Country Music People Magazine ~ 4 stars: "A real cracker of an album!"

American Roots Uk ~ 4 stars: "It is albums such as this that Gram Parsons was referring to when putting down ‘country rock,’ instead preferring the more coverall term Cosmic American Music' ... he would have loved this superb recording!"

Blabber n' Smoke ~ "diving straight in at the deep end ... Harrington has made a raunchy countryalbum that one could imagine the likes of Loretta Lynn might produce if she were 50 years younger."

Rock and Reel ~ "Sharply observed songs with attitude to burn!"

The Irish Times ~ 4 stars: "Remember that nice Rachel Harrington and her quiet, contemplative country music from the Oregon hills? Well, you should hear her now that she’s fallen in with the honkytonk crowd. What a mouth!"

Mad Mackerel ~ "an album of pure, unbridled honky-tonk Country music. Sure there are some echoes of garage rock, some soul leanings and a smattering of Phil Spector-ish doo-wop, but at its heart this is pure Country and all the better for it."

Pennyblack Music ~ "the boot-stompin' world of backwoods country, like [they used to do it] back before the big Nashville names sanded off all the edges."

Whisperin and Hollerin ~ "live, sassy and colourful. High-octane, Burritos-style garage-roots


New album: European Tour - April 11, 2012

The Knock Outs are just back from a non-stop 5-week tour through Europe to support Rachel's new album, "Makin' Our House A Honkytonk." The girls had a blast!  32 shows in 35 days, with 12 of the gigs sold-out and a feature on BBC2's legendary Bob Harris show.  Pics and tour journals at the Facebook pages: and

Rachel Harrington & The Knock Outs - February 26, 2012

Howdy Folks,

Lots been evolving the past 9 months here.  Rachel put together an all-girl honkytonk band to tour in support of her new album.  The girls were busy recording this winter, and the new cd is releasing abroad on CRS in April.  We're working on getting the final funding together for US manufacturing and release.  If you'd like to help out by pre-ordering the album or becoming a Sponsor, visit the PITCH IN link above.  You can also preview the album and order it digitally at that link as well.

The girls are headed out March 1 for five weeks on their first-ever tour together throughout Europe and the UK.  Stay tuned at Rachel's facebook site for tour photos, tour journal entries and daily updates as they travel.  Give us a "like" at:

Thanks for your support!


New Record Campaign Launch - May 16, 2011

We're thrilled to report that Rachel was a winner in Merlefest's 2011 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, placing her alongside prior winners like Gillian Welch and Tift Merritt.  Rachel spent a total of four days at the prestigious Merlefest, wandering around backstage awestruck, dumbstruck, and lovestruck, rubbing elbows with many of her heroes.  Lyle Lovett.  Randy Travis.  The 88-year-old legend that is Doc Watson.  In fact, Rachel came back so reinvigorated and inspired that she's eager to get back in saddle and make another new album this fall.  Please visit the Pitch In! tab for more information and details about how you can help. 

Thanks, y'all!

April Update - April 19, 2011

Lots to report!

Rachel Harrington & The Do Right Boys (Evan Brubaker and Colby Sander) are just back from their first-ever European tour as a trio. Dates included several sell-out gigs and a good time was had by all.

Rachel's new record, CELILO FALLS, is now in its 5th consecutive week in the Top-40 on the Americana chart in the US. It is currently #9 on the Roots chart, #16 on the Freeform chart, and #5 on the Folk chart - making it the 5th most-played album on folk radio in the US right now.

This just out: a new music video for You'll Do (from Celilo Falls), featuring Supersuckers frontman and fellow Seattle-ite Eddie Spaghetti:
And lastly, we recently got word that Rachel is one of 12 finalists in this year's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, which means she's headed to play Merlefest at the end of April. Previous winners include Tift Merritt and Gillian Welch.

The song that's been called out for the contest is on Celilo Falls, and is available as a single download here:

He Started Building My Mansion In Heaven Today

Feb Update too - February 22, 2011

This just in - Celilo Falls is in the top-5 most-added new records to Americana radio in the US this week, along with new releases from Lucinda Williams and Drive-By Truckers.

February Update - February 7, 2011

The new record, Celilo Falls, is all packed up and shipping out today to over 600 radio and press contacts in the US.

Rachel will be supporting Iris Dement for her two northwest shows next month: March 11 at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon, and March 12 at the Triple Door in Seattle, Washington.

Stay tuned for Celilo Falls CD Release shows ...

January Update - January 1, 2011

We just heard that Rachel's new record, Celilo Falls, is getting 4 stars reviews in the February issues of both Mojo and Q magazines!

November Update - November 14, 2010

Howdy Folks,

Thanks for stopping by. Rachel has just finished a big 3-month European tour, accompanied by Lindisfarne founder Rod Clements. Rachel and Rod covered about 8,500 miles in that time and played over 60 gigs, many of them sold-out, including appearances at the esteemed Summertyne Americana Festival and the Perth Southern Fried Festival. This was Rachel's 4th tour overseas. She's been touring there 3 months a year for the past three years, as one reporter put it: "the hardest working woman in Americana." Rachel's now taking some time off, gearing up for the early 2011 release of her newest record, Celilo Falls. Advance copies are available to purchase through CD Baby:

Sign up on the monthly mailing list while you're here, so we can keep in touch and let you know when Rachel's back out on the road.

Thanks, and happy wintering!

European Record Deal - October 24, 2010

Rachel has just signed a deal with Rounder Europe/CRS for Celilo Falls. The new record will be in stores throughout mainland Europe beginning November 22, 2010. UK release is January 17, 2011 through Proper Distribution.

The team is shopping for a deal in the US. Barring that, we'll release it ourselves on SkinnyDennis with distribution from Burnside in Jan/Feb 2011.

Thank you so much for your suport!

#3 Euro Americana Chart - October 5, 2010

Great news - Rachel's new record, Celilo Falls, just debuted at #3 on the Euro Americana Chart, behind Justin Townes Earle and Richard Thompson. Good company indeed!

CELILO FALLS - August 31, 2010

Howdy folks,

Great news! My brand new record is almost out. It'll officially release Nov 8 in Europe and the UK, and February 1 in the US. Until then, you can download and/or pre-order it here:
I hope you enjoy!

Many thanks for your support,

Rachel's New Record - May 1, 2010


I am currently writing and recording my new record. You can follow along behind the scenes at

And, you can help the new project by donating at
Thank you so much for your support!

Winter Newsletter - December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I hope this note finds you and your family well.

New news on my end:

VOTE WITH ONE CLICK: I've been nominated for Best Overseas Artist in the Spiral Earth awards. With just one click, you can vote. I'd really appreciate your help if you can spread the word!
FAR WEST SHOWCASE: I was selected to perform an official showcase at this year's western regional division of the International Folk Alliance. That was in November (last month) in LA, California and was a lot of fun - even though I didn't stay down south long enough to use the hotel pool or get much sunshine.

CELTIC CONNECTIONS: I am honored that I'll be playing a one-off performance on a triple bill ticket in one of the UK's largest music festivals, Celtic Connections, on January 30th, 2010. Also on the bill are Diana Jones and Karine Polwart. I will be playing as a trio, joined by Paul Elliott on fiddle and David Keenan on mandolin. Tickets are available here:,-Hewat-&-Polwart-&-Diana-Jones-&-Rachel-Harrington
INTERNATIONAL FOLK ALLIANCE: After many years of applying, I have at last been invited to perform an official showcase at the 2010 International Folk Alliance conference in Memphis Tennessee this February.

MARCH 2010 TOURING in the NORTHWEST: I'll be doing a co-bill tour will California based singer-songwriter Rita Hosking. I've been really enjoying her record and I think you might too. Look her up and tell her I sent you!

Thank you so very much for your support this year! All the touring and gigs, the live cd, and the cds before that. I couldn't be a full-time musician without you and I want to make sure you know how much that means to me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

All the best wishes to you this season and in the coming new year. May it be the best yet for us all!

With love,

July 2009: Lessons! E-book! EAR! - July 22, 2009

I am finally back at home.

This spring/summer of three straight months of touring was wonderful, incredible, taxing, miserable, lonely, exhilarating, exhausting, life-changing and blessed. Touring is always a carnival ride filled with amazing twists and turns that leave you just happy to be alive. I love it.

This whole year, in fact, has been quite a ride. In the past twelve months, I headlined at some really big festivals: Bluewaters Bluegrass festival (WA), Naked Song Festival (Netherlands), Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland), Southern Fried Festival (Scotland), Maverick Festival (England) ... Humbled and honored!

And so ... I got back home a couple of weeks ago, did some serious r and r with my family, and now I am headed back to Seattle where I'll be mostly songwriting and recording and hibernating for the winter.

In addition to a new record, I have a few other projects I'll be working on this coming year. I am writing an e-book for musicians about booking and promotion as an independent artist; That will be available by fall. I have started a radio and press mailing service for musicians, called EAR; You can read more about that at And I've decided to make my first foray into teaching guitar, voice, songwriting, and performing, giving private lessons from my home in West Seattle. If you'd like more information on any of the above, you can write me directly at rachel(at)skinnydennis(dot)com

Thanks so much for listening and for buying the records and coming out to the gigs. Your support is what enables me to do what I love to do and for that, you have my eternal gratitude.


June 09 Weather Report - June 6, 2009

All things considered, life is grand. I am on tour throughout Europe for April, May and June, returning home in mid-July. Many radio shows, interviews, and plenty of wonderful gigs abound. I really feel blessed right now. You can stay up to date and get behind the scenes at the Travelogue at Thanks so much to all the folks who are coming out to the shows and helping spread the word - it's working and it's so great! Thank you!! More tour photos to come soon. And a new cd is brewing underneath. I'll hope to be recording soon.  I am really looking forward to hearing what will come next, and which direction it will go. Thank you for taking the ride with me. All the best, Rachel

March 09 Updates - March 23, 2009

We're in full swing here getting ready to head out for three straight months of overseas touring through England, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Belgium.

Next month, Rachel releases a barebones live record called In The Woods ... more on that soon.

December Updates - December 20, 2008

Check out the REVIEWS page for new reviews from:

Utne Reader
Sound NW magazine
Performing Songwriter
Penny Black Music
Village Records
VH1/Barnes & Noble
Wear the Trousers
and others ...

The new cd, City of Refuge, is now available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes, among others.

Happy holidays from the RH crew!
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