:: bio ::
Reared among the Pentecostal pines of Oregon, Rachel Harrington has been doing things in the wrong order for quite some time. She was getting extensive radio play before her first gig and opening for Grammy winners before releasing her first record. She’s since earned songwriting recognition from contests at Merlefest, Falcon Ridge, Sisters, and others, 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 he'd amassed since his return from serving in Vietnam.
At the age of 12, after a stay with an aunt and uncle in Montana, she fell in love with horses and started riding. Back in Oregon, an old cowboy named Dutch gave her riding lessons, during which he listened to his favorite AM radio station - "stone country." Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, George Jones. All the classics. Rachel started playing guitar that year and never stopped.
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 Bachelor's degree in Pacific Northwest Bioregional Studies from Fairhaven College at WWU in Bellingham, Washington, and a Master's in Environmental Conflict Resolution at NAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. During her college years, Rachel also studied creative writing with critically acclaimed author Ann Cummins. "If anything, I think I'm actually a short story writer. The story always comes first."
Rachel's son, Mandolin Hooper, was born in Texas in 1992. A brilliant light and songwriter, he died in 2022 at the age of 30. www.MandolinHooper.com
Harrington is also an ordained minister, an author, a 500-hour certified yoga instructor, a licensed massage therapist, a beekeeper, and a gardener. She lives just north of the Oregon border, in Vancouver (Vantucky) Washington with her husband, three dogs, and about 250,000 bees.
:: discography info ::
Rachel's 2007 debut, The Bootlegger's Daughter, (featuring guest musicians John Reischman and Danny Barnes) went 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 (Mojo, Q, Songlines). The album debuted at #3 on the Euro-Americana Chart and reached 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 fourth outing was a marked departure. Wanting to let her hair down with some friends for a while, she put together an all-girl honkyband, The Knockouts. Makin' Our House A Honkytonk (2012) was a cult favorite for hard-core classic country fans. Q magazine said, "Harrington makes Neko Case sound like Olivia Newton John."
Rachel's 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 written by some of her favorite songwriters.
Recorded in Portland Oregon, Austin, and Nashville, Rachel's 5th studio album, Hush The Wild Horses (2019), was 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.
Live At London's Green Note (2020) was a limited edition cd from a 2019 gig at the UK's premier singer-songwriter venue.
All albums are released on Rachel's own SkinnyDennis 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 ::
* 2023 Telluride Troubadour Honorable Mention
* 2023 Oregon Bluegrass Association songwriting grant winner
* 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
* Rosanne Cash
* Iris Dement
* Eliza Gilkyson
* Dick Gaughan
* Jim Lauderdale
* Todd Snider
* Fred Eaglesmith
* Jesse Sykes