BIO

Reared among the Pentecostal pines of Oregon, Rachel Harrington has been doing things in the wrong order a long time: radio play before her first gig, opening for Grammy winners before her first album. She’s since earned songwriting recognition from Merlefest, Falcon Ridge, Sisters, and Telluride, and has a nice little collection of 4-star album reviews.

From families of Texas dairymen and Oregon lumberjacks, Rachel's only exposure to music as a young child was gospel — that, and her father's Stax/Motown collection amassed upon his return from Vietnam. 

At the age of 12, during a stay with family in Montana, she fell in love with horses. Back in Oregon, an old cowboy named Dutch gave her riding lessons on her gelding, Apache, during which the dusty codger listened to his favorite AM radio station, playing the "stone country" of Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, George Jones — all the classics. Rachel started playing guitar that year and never stopped. She dropped out of high school, joined a band, and spent five formative years in Texas where her only child, Mandolin Lennon Hooper, was born. 

As a sixth generation Oregonian, Harrington feels a strong connection to place and to creating music that captures some of the stories and heritage of The West. She holds a self-designed Bachelor's degree in Studies of the American West from WWU in Bellingham, Washington, and a self-designed Master's in Environmental Conflict Resolution from NAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Harrington is also an ordained minister, author, certified yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, certified beekeeper, and master gardener. She lives just north of the Oregon border, in Vancouver Washington with her spouse, three dogs, and about 250,000 bees.

Discography info

Rachel's 2007 debut, The Bootlegger's Daughter, shot to #1 on the Euro-Americana Chart and landed the Seattle siren smack in the center of the UK Americana scene when legendary BBC dj Bob Harris proclaimed Bootlegger one of the best albums of the year. The following years of aggressive touring saw Harrington playing festivals in a dozen countries with some of the top names in bluegrass and country music. Bootlegger got four stars from Mojo Magazine. 

Harrington's 2008 follow-up record, City of Refuge, featured several guests including Tim O'Brien and Pieta Brown. Produced by Evan Brubaker and mixed by David Ferguson (Johnny Cash's American Recordings III & IV), the album reached millions of listeners through in-store airplay at Starbucks throughout the US. Refuge got four stars from Q Magazine. 

After two years spent mostly on the road touring internationally, including headline spots the Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland) and the Maverick Festival (England), Harrington was touted as the hardest working woman in Americana. She put out a limited edition live album, In The Woods: Live In The Netherlands (2009). 

Her 3rd album, Celilo Falls (2011), garnered sweeping 4-star reviews in major music publications worldwide. It debuted at #3 on the Euro-Americana Chart, Top-40 on the Americana Music Association radio chart, #5 on the Folk-DJ chart, #9 on the Roots Music Report chart, and #12 on the Freeform American Roots chart. Harrington was a 2011 winner in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, a finalist in the Dave Carter Songwriting Contest at Sisters Folk Festival, and had official showcases at both the western regional and international folk alliance conferences. 

Harrington's 4th outing was a raucous departure. She put together an all-girl honkyband, The Knockouts. Makin' Our House A Honkytonk (2012) was a cult favorite for hard-core country fans. Q magazine said, "Harrington makes Neko Case sound like Olivia Newton John." 

The lo-fi covers album, I Wish I Was In Austin (2018), whose title is taken from a Guy Clark tune on the album, was a compilation of some of Rachel's favorite songs by some of her favorite songwriters. 

Harrington's 5th album, Hush The Wild Horses (2019), was produced by Pdx music veteran Casey Neill, with engineer John Morgan Askew (Laura Gibson, Richmond Fontaine). Recorded in Pdx,  Austin, and Nashville, musicians of note include Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks, Richard Buckner), fiddler Eamon McLoughlin (Emmylou, R. Crowell), Danny Barnes on banjo, with Laura Veirs and Shelley Short (Neko Case) on harmonies. 

Live at London's Green Note (2020) was a limited edition cd from a 2019 gig at the UK's premier singer-songwriter venue. 

Rachel's 6th album, Cowboy, is due out 2024. She now working on songs for Emerald Empire, due 2025, and a gospel album, Her Hymnal, for 2026.

All albums are released on Rachel's own Skinny Dennis Records.

notable festivals

2019, 2010 Summertyne Americana Festival (UK) 
2019, 2010 Maverick Americana Festival (UK) 
2018, 2010, 2008 Perth Southern Fried Festival (UK) 
2010 Celtic Connections (UK) 
2010 Broadstairs Folk Week (UK) 
2009 Naked Song Festival (Netherlands) 
2009 & 2008 Glasgow Americana Festival (UK) 
2008 Larmer Tree Music Festival (UK) 
2008 Stamford Guitar Festival (UK) 
2008 Bluewaters Bluegrass Festival (WA) 
2008 Rivercity Bluegrass Festival (WA) 
2006 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY) 
2006 Not Yer Daddy's 'Grass (OR) 
2005 NW Pickathon (OR) 
2004, 2005, 2006 NW Folklife (WA)

notable awards & achievements

2024 ArtsWA Grant Recipient
2023 Telluride Troubadour Honorable Mention 
2023 Oregon Bluegrass Association, Songwriting Grant Recipient 
2012 Showcase Artist at International Folk Alliance Conference 
2011 Chris Austin Song Contest, Merlefest, Winner 
2011 Finalist, Sisters Folk Festival Songwriting Contest 
2011 Top 5 Finalist, Belfast Nashville Songwriting Competition 
2006 Emerging Artist Showcase, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 
2006 Honorable Mention, WCS International Song Contest 
2005 Winner, Gig Harbor Songwriter Competition 
2005 Winner, Old No. 9 Music Scholarship

notable support spots & stage shares

Guy Clark, Todd Snider, Rosanne Cash, Iris Dement, Eliza Gilkyson, Dick Gaughan, Jim Lauderdale, Fred Eaglesmith, Jesse Sykes

publication of poetry & prose

Bluebird Tattoo (creative nonfiction), Mountain Bluebird Magazine
True Love and New Waders (essay), Fly Fish Journal
The Ex (short story), The Raven Chronicles (of Seattle's Hugo House)  
Black Cottonwood (poem), The Raven Chronicles (of Seattle's Hugo House)