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!
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