Let me first say this about Emma Hill. She was born and raised in Sleetmute, Alaska, a village of 100 people, give or take, on the salmon-fed upper Kuskokwim River. She’s well-traveled, and has toured the world sharing her exquisite musical talents with eager listeners everywhere. And reviewers have compared her music to that of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (no, really….I’m not kidding!)
As young as she is, Emma Hill has learned boatloads about the pains of first love (and second and third), the tragic loss of loved ones, and the rigors of being on the road in service to her art. Lucky for us it is from these experiences she so soulfully shares the rhythms of her life.
|Brian Daste and Emma Hill|
But she never forgot her home ground. After living in Portland for five years, Emma returned home because she missed the land and people that made her who she is. I say this without sentimentality. Alaska…the rivers, mountains, coastlines…the sweep and scope of the place is like a character in a story, not just a point on the map. Its mystique runs deep in your heart, and holds a mighty tight grip you just can’t shake.
Emma will tell you so. She grew up singing and writing songs, and remembers sitting in the back of her Dad’s Cessna jotting down words to songs as they flew up and downriver in their travels from the village. That was many years ago, and she’s still cranking out great music. Take a listen to this tribute to her uncle/pilot Steve Hill, who lost his life in a small aircraft accident. For Alaskans listening tonight, you understand. Everyone of us knows someone who has encountered the same fate in a land where airplanes are as common as taxis and buses. Emma pours out her heart with grit, grace and passion on this song titled, “A Pilot’s Goodbye.”
Tonight Emma brought the memories of her home and life into ours, and it was indeed, a memorable show.
Thank you Brian and Emma, and thanks to all the friends who came over to hang out with us in the living room. To hear more of Emma’s music, click here: http://www.emmahillmusic.com/listen/