Alyssa and Doug Graham have spent nearly their entire lives exploring music together. Friends since she was 7 and he was 9, they became a couple in their teens, then husband and wife. Somewhere along the way, they also became The Grahams, a dynamic Americana duo who’ve married their love of adventure with a desire to build on foundations laid by their musical predecessors. Their first song-crafting expedition, along the Mississippi’s Great River Road, became their 2013 debut, Riverman’s Daughter. For its follow-up, they rode the rails – and wound up recording not only a studio album, but a documentary and live album on the move and in venues from Sun Studio to Amtrak’s famed City of New Orleans train.
Their new long-player, the explosive and aptly named Glory Bound, was helmed by Grammy nominated producer Wes Sharon (John Fullbright, Parker Millsap) at his 115 Recording studio in Norman, Okla. Recording in Oklahoma holds special significance for a couple raised as Dylan-loving New York City suburban kids who spent weekends strumming campfire songs in the Adirondacks. Like many Dylan fans, they traced their way back to his greatest inspiration.
“After we recorded Riverman’s Daughter, we were listening to a lot of Woody Guthrie,” Alyssa explains. “The song ‘Farmer Labor Train’ kept sticking in our minds, so we wanted to write a song about trains. We wrote ‘Glory Bound,’ then decided that we really wanted to ride the trains in honor of Guthrie, Lead Belly and other old folk legends who used the train system to bring voices together. We had to go to Oklahoma, obviously, because Woody was our mentor or guide”
Adds Doug, “The river was the original way that people got around and moved through the country. And moved music around the country. The rivers are the veins. And now, here we are on trains, the next means of motion the arteries of America that brought people and music and cultures together. So that had to be the next progression for us.”