The Grahams’ debut album, Riverman’s Daughter, took more that two years to create. It all started in the classroom, where future bandmates Alyssa and Doug Graham met as first grade students, and continued in the streets of New York City, where the two began dating as teenagers. Years later, the grownup high-school sweethearts got married and decided to hit the Great River Road, a winding, twisting stretch of pavement that parallels the Mississippi River. It was there that the songs from Riverman’s Daughter began to take shape, and the Grahams’ eventually found themselves flush with tunes… including more material than they could release. That bring us up to today, when the deluxe version of that album — a souped-up version featuring six unreleased tunes, from live acoustic performances to studio B-sides inspired by the juke joints and rolling landscapes flanking the river — hits stores. The lovebirds get a little help from their friends, too, including the North Mississippi Allstars, who make cameo appearances on “Springfield ’61.” There’s also a cover of Neil Young’s “Down by the River,” an appropriate song for an album inspired by rolling water and muddy riverbanks.
“There’s a bend in the river, and from where I stand I can see the steamboats turning,” the band told us, quoting a line from the album’s title track. “The modern era and the digital revolution make it possible to find just about anyone in the world in a few minutes. But it was not that long ago that a young man might float down the river and be gone and unreachable as soon as he drifted out of sight. We wanted to experience that way of life on the river. Ever since we were little kids growing up and writing music together, we dreamed of taking a journey down the mighty Mississippi like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. “Riverman’s Daughter,” the title track and first song written for this debut record (with childhood friend and co-writer Bryan McCann), inspired us to “light out for the Territory.” We took to the Great River Road with backpacks and guitars and traveled the 2,500 miles from Minnesota to Louisiana, experiencing the roots and musical culture of America first-hand.”
“We ended up on a houseboat in the Atchafalaya swamp in rural Louisiana,” they added, “where we holed up for the season to write the record and give life to the stories we wanted to tell about the river, the journey, and the folks we met along the way. ‘Through the fog on the river in the morning light I can see a smokestack gleaming. Could it be my darling coming home, could it be my love come steaming?'”
Stream the full album, including the six bonus tracks, below.