Margo Cilker quietly broke the internet with her acclaimed debut album Pohorylle. Cilker's meditative view of rural living netted her a nomination for UK Americana Album of The Year alongside Brandi Carlile and Robert Plant, and earned Cilker a slew of festival performances and tours supporting American Aquarium, Hayes Carll, and Drive-By Truckers. Today, Cilker is announcing her sophomore release, Valley of Heart's Delight, out on Sept. 15 via Fluff & Gravy Records.

The first cut off the album is "Lowland Trail," a sun-dappled ranching song whose plodding rhythm matches the cattle the narrator is minding. As with any good country song, it's about more than the work in front of the narrator: just like life, things start out simple but then go over our head before we know it.

Cilker brings the band back together on Valley -- literally. Producer Sera Cahoone (Sub Pop, Carissa's Weird, Band of Horses) drums and produces; John Morgan Askew (Neko Case, Laura Gibson) engineers; Jenny Conlee-Drizos (The Decemberists) provides piano, organ, and accordion; Rebecca Young (Lindsey Fuller) plays bass, Kelly Pratt (Beirut) on horns, and of course, sister Sarah Cilker contributes harmonies. Those needing more twang will appreciate the addition of Paul Brainard's (M. Ward, Richmond Fontaine) pedal steel and telecaster work, Annie Staninec's (Mary Gauthier) fiddle, and the mandolin and high lonesome harmony of Portland country standard-bearer Caleb Klauder.

This Pacific Northwest folk royalty turns its attention to Cilker's youth in the Santa Clara Valley of California, transporting us to a time before the tech boom.

"I wrote these songs surrounded by the wild landscapes of the Northwest, but I was leaning toward the place I'd come from," Cilker explains. "I felt cut off from my family and the valley that held them. I spent hours thinking about my sense of belonging. I'd traveled through many places and then, when the travel stopped, I ruminated on where I had ended up. Where were you when the music stopped? I was in Enterprise, Ore. And there in Enterprise, my mind drifted back to the Valley of Heart's Delight."

You can learn more about Margo Cilker and see a complete list of upcoming tour dates by visiting her official website.

Top 10 Billy Strings Songs

Billy Strings is one of those once-in-a-generation artists who revitalize their genre with the scope of their talent and original perspective.

While to some, it may have seemed like Strings appeared on the bluegrass scene suddenly, his connection to the genre was far from new. Strings began playing guitar at five years old, thanks to the influence of his father, Terry Barber. Strings learned the bluegrass songs that were the soundtrack to his rowdy family's life, along with metal and classic rock favorites.

Born and raised in a small town in Michigan, Strings' childhood was marked by difficult losses and hard times as his parents struggled with meth addiction. As a young adult, Strings dealt with his own addiction issues but was later able to find sobriety. 

He eventually left home and found his way to Nashville, where he gained his first exposure playing with mandolin player Don Julin. After four years with Julin, Strings went solo. Critical acclaim quickly followed.

From 2016 to 2022, Strings released one EP and four albums. Two of his records, 2019's Home and 2021's Renewal, have been nominated for Grammy Awards, with Home earning the top prize. He has also won an Americana Music Award and numerous International Bluegrass Music Awards, among other significant accolades. 

At the young age of 30, Strings has created a remarkable legacy, and we can't wait to see where he goes from here.

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