February 18, 2022

Issue #16

Welcome to issue #16 of Sonic Postcards! This week’s playlist ended up being dominated by country.

The first song off of this week’s playlist, “Tehachapi”, is a galloping western and one of the best off of Margo Cilker’s debut album, Pohorylle.

Songs and albums that are strongly rooted in a place usually tell the most compelling stories. A reference to a place can be an remarkably efficient way to give a story legs. When you reference a place, you get all of the context that comes along with it - the culture, the history, the topography, etc. I never thought about this that much until this week, but it is such a powerful tool in a songwriters belt.

"Tehachapi" leverages place extremely well and takes you across California with Cilker. The lyrics are so damn good - there is even has a little nod to "Willin'" from Little Feat thrown in there. The second verse is probably my favorite though.

"In Sonoma County
The grass is feisty
It’ll put a tear in your eye, make your nose run like it was wanted
You worked on the water
I worked in the pasture
And the fog rollin’ into Petaluma at night brought those two together"

In addition to California and the Basque Country of Spain, Eastern Oregon forms a big part of Cilker’s universe on Pohorylle. This is in part thanks to her spending the better part of 2020 and 2021 hunkered down in Enterprise, a remote town of 2,000 nestled in the far northeast corner of Oregon. Despite its remoteness, Enterprise has an outsized community of songwriters and music-focused community organizations. Oregon Public Broadcasting put together an interesting piece on Cilker and Enterprise which you can read here. It is a great companion piece for the album if you are not overly familiar with Eastern Oregon.

That’s it for this week!

If you are enjoying Sonic Postcards, please consider sharing it with family and friends and giving it a follow on Twitter.