Although this is the official debut by the wife-and-husband team of Alyssa and Douglas Graham, they've played together for many years in different contexts, most notably on two excellent jazz-folk solo albums by Alyssa. Riverman's Daughter was written as the New York City-based Grahams traveled the length of the Mississippi River, inspired by the lives and stories they encountered along the way. Produced by the Grammy Award-winning Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Giant Sand), it was recorded live to tape in Nashville with few frills.
The Grahams interpret Americana by embracing traditional country and old-timey folk in a contemporary setting, but they avoid blindly re-creating these sounds.
The album kicks off with playful, gospel-infused bluegrass ("Revival Time") and indulges in an old-fashioned country waltz ("You Made Me Love You"). Throughout, Alyssa's voice serves as a smoky, soulful foundation, while guitarist Douglas provides expert harmonies.
Fans of The Band will be drawn to the way the Grahams approach 1970s-style country-rock. "Lonesome Child" and "Carrying the Torch" are gorgeous, with multifaceted harmonies you can get lost in. But the title track is the most powerful example of this style, filled with a sultry bayou orchestra of fiddle, banjo and organ.