Rachel Garlin


Musical Discoveries


(06 Jun 2016) Folk songstress and storyteller, Rachel Garlin, arrived back on her old stomping grounds and performed at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA on Sunday, June 5th before a full house. She donated all of the proceeds to Mothers Out Front, a grassroots organization mobilizing for making climate change an issue. A number of her friends from her college days were in attendance as well as former coaches, and the entire audience was supportive and enthusiastic.

Rachel was most personable and quite comedic throughout her lead-ins to her songs. She was definitely endearing herself to the crowd and listening to her personalization and backgrounds to her songs helped set the stage. Local musicians -- Jon Evans on double bass, Dylan McKinstry on guitars, banjo and mandolin; and Aaron Edgcomb on percussion -- accompanied Rachel who played acoustic guitar throughout the set.

The set was comprised of her back catalog, some new songs off her latest album, Wink at July, as well as an upcoming album she is doing with Jon Evans where studio takes are available at shows on a new EP. The clear vocal tones and simple guitar created an atmosphere of toe-tapping tunes, and wonderful stories.

A particularly touching tune, "The Sea You See," was a tribute to her Scottish mother who was travelling from home as a young woman, on her way to New Zealand, but ended her journey in the USA. Rachel's ballads and imaginative narratives reflect who she is and what is of importance to her.

Another fun melody appears in “Gwendolyn Said," a nod to the poet Gwendolyn Brooks. "Broke Down House" was the story of some friends who were thinking of selling their home, but in the end, they couldn't leave due to the memories ensconced in their home. Other songs highlighting the night included "Up on a Ladder in Boots" and "I Have, I Will."

Rachel Garlin's performance was charming, and she was able to create sharp images through her wonderful storytelling. Her beautiful tonal quality and simple melodies captured the heart and mind. She has polish and finesse, as well as a sweetness to the music. It was an enjoyable evening of anecdotes, music and entertainment.--Audrey Elliot in Boston, MA


Music Connection Magazine

Material: Singer/songwriter Rachel Garlin’s music can be categorized as more than just songs, but as lyrical stories. “Broke Down House” tells the tale of friends who were offered a decent sum for their house, but turned it down because it was their home. “The Sea You See” is an ode to her mother, a Scottish traveler who found herself in America after planning on going to New Zealand.

“Wartime Gig” is about her father growing up during WWII, and “I Have, I Will” is a beautiful love song for her wife. What’s most notable about Garlin’s lyricism is that she doesn’t tend to write about herself; she’s more interested in the stories of others.

Musicianship: Garlin has a very soothing quality about her, not just in the simplicity of her melodies, but also in her singing voice. In this performer’s world, simple isn’t a bad thing as she lets the stories in her lyrics be the star of the performance. Stripped down with only an acoustic guitar, there is nothing for the singer to hide behind, which helps prove her talent.

Performance: Though her music is simple and sweet, that isn’t to say her presence at this show was anything less than enthralling. She told a story of being a teacher, and it honestly made so much sense given her ability to speak to an audience. Garlin is clearly adept at holding a room’s attention. Even with a minor hiccup in her set—she started a song wrong—Garlin nevertheless held the audience, joking about her miscue before moving forward. By the end, she brought Eisenberg and Collins—who’d performed earlier that night—to join her on stage, and the three meshed together wonderfully as they breathed a new life into the finale of Garlin’s set. This is a singer/ songwriter who practically glows while performing, and it is obvious she loves what she’s doing.

Summary: Rachel Garlin is more than just a singer; she’s a storyteller with an infectious radiance about her that can enthrall an audience. She is clearly a musician performing without an agenda, and just a love of music.

The Players: Rachel Garlin, guitar; Kate Isenberg and Heather Collins, backup vocals.

Venue: Room 5 Lounge
City: Los Angeles, CA
Web: rachelgarlin.com

–Victoria Patneaude

Music News

“Holding it together is a metaphor/For someone trying not to fall apart/Like the bellows of a loosely hung accordion/That move against a tightly pleated heart/They say it’s like a one-man band/A piano right inside your hand,” sings San Francisco singer/songwriter Rachel Garlin on the second track (“Accordian Song”) of her latest album “Wink At July.” It’s typical of her conversational-poetry style of writing and her observant eye for detail; Garlin’s 11 other self-penned songs  here comfort and sometimes dazzle the listener with words and her easy-to-take-in, Shawn Colvin-inspired, mostly acoustic musical vibe.

Produced by JJ Wiesler and recorded in her home-base city, this Tactile Records release shows a lot of looking back, as on childhood moments in “Colorado Rain” and the poignant snap shots of the title track. Backed by a playful mandolin, Garlin beautifully describes an painter at work in “Up on a Ladder in Boots” and continues to “paint” a picture in “Stranded,” where Phoenix, Arizona sizzles with hot blacktop and prison inmates clad in pink.

In “Hey Keith Haring,” she vividly recollects the 80’s New York graffiti scene with a surprising country touch of dobro and acoustic guitar, tipping her hat to this late street artist whose “crawling baby” and “barking dog” are now iconic symbols of the once underground art form. Garlin is, in a sense, a visual artist in her own right, using effortless vocals and clear enunciation to bring her colorful lyrics to life.


Curve Magazine

Wink at July is Rachel Garlin’s fourth studio album soon to be released this April. Garlin has a folk slant with poetic tales mixed with tonal ballads; it’s a creative and fun album.

“Gwendolyn Said” kicks this 12-track album off with flare as it bops along giving us an insight into the poet Gwendolyn Brooks.  Grooving along and into “Accordion Song”, this track is storytelling at its best and you can imagine the coffee house scene-playing host to a solitary Garlin and guitar rendition of this one. “Hey Keith Haring” is simply great as we are drawn into his world of graffiti art and introduced to a man that drew “outside the lines we fear.”      

“The Winding Road” is upbeat and has multiple layers of instrumentals and beats at work, all with equal effect, hinting at a little bluegrass. Following on from this track with a slow ballad, Garlin’s voice is gravelly and folky as she sings “The Sea You See”.

A varied album with tracks that have no distinctive theme except for Garlin’s passions, whether it’s poetry, art or discovery – it all gets drawn together through her music. Introduced to a distinctive country twang in “Colorado Rain” we can’t help but start to sing along. “Up On A Ladder In Boots” is stellar folk singing as Garlin tells us the story of the painter who lives “up on a ladder in boots”. If, like me, you spend a lot of time flying then “Flying Together” will speak to you as it did me. Rounding out the album is “Dear Friend” and title track “Wink At July” each leaving a stamp on you. Recorded in San Francisco with producer JJ Wiesler (Matt Nathanson and Girls) and featuring musicians Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth), Prairie Prince as well as longtime friends and collaborators: Green, Kate Isenberg, Julie Wolf and Jon Evans, this album is a must for your collection.



Link to article on Diffuser

Ahead of the release of her latest full-length, Wink at July, Diffuser is beyond thrilled to partner with Rachel Garlin to give you a taste of what to expect with the record in the form of the new track, “This Winding Road.” Take the song for a spin in the audio player below.

Currently based in San Francisco, Garlin has amassed an impressive catalog over the years, with each release stacked to the brim with unforgettable stories, intricate musical arrangements and Garlin’s beautiful vocals — and “This Winding Road” might be our favorite yet.

“With references ranging from The New York Times’ Sunday column, ‘Modern Love,’ to the canyons and reservoirs of the Berkley Hills, ‘This Winding Road’ is a homecoming tale with a driving, yet retrospective, feel,” Garlin tells us about the new song.

She goes on about the album, “How each of us understand and view the people and places of our childhood while existing in a fast-paced modern world is a theme throughout Wink at July.”

As an artist who loves performing her music live, Garlin has several gigs lined up in the near future, including an appearance at “Lyme Aid,” a benefit show in Berkeley for singer-songwriter Melissa Crabtree, this Friday, April 17. You can find her complete tour itinerary here, and make sure to stay up-to-date with everything happening in her world — including the April 21 release of Wink at July – at her official website.


Exclusive Magazine

Title - 'Wink At July'
Artist - Rachel Garlin

For those not in the know, Rachel Garlin is a singer-songwriter whose character-filled songs have been noted for their vivid, lyrical imagery and themes that have been taken to heart by fans all around the world. With her songwriting skills having been recognized at festivals such as Kerrville, Telluride, and the South Florida Folk Festival, she was also honored with first place in the Newport Folk Festival Talent Search.

Today we are welcomed back into Garlin's world with the brand new release, Wink at July, a delightful new recording that features 12 new songs with musical arrangements ranging from solo vocals with acoustic guitar to a full electrified band.

The album begins with 'Gwendolyn Said,' a track that kicks off this perfectly sound collection of storytelling in fine style. A song that draws inspiration from the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000), that's followed by the mid-tempo drift of 'Accordion Song.' Garlin then gently guides us through a full-band homage to the artist who "gave graffiti love and graffiti loved back," 'Hey Keith Haring.' Haring (1958–1990) was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980's.

With Wink At July recorded in San Francisco with producer JJ Wiesler (Matt Nathanson), it's no surprise to discover that other musical contributors on the album include: Michael Urbano (John Hiatt, Smash Mouth), Prairie Prince (Journey, The Tubes, The New Cars), James DePrato (Chuck Prophet), and longtime collaborators Green, Kate Isenberg, Jon Evans, and Julie Wolf.

The slight skiffle beat to 'This Winding Road' is next, before the sedate 'The Sea You See' gives way to the poetic lyrical love letter to the liquid known as 'Colorado Rain.' The fun, short tale of 'Up on a Ladder in Boots' is next, and is backed by both the solo intimacy of 'Flying Together' and then, for my money, one of the best tracks on this new album, the truly delightful 'Spin.'

The descriptive strengths of Wink At July continue onwards, as strong as ever, even as the album comes to its final bend. Bringing together folk, rock, roots and bluegrass, the teacher-turned-troubadour first delivers the dusky 'Stranded, then 'Dear Friend,' before the album is brought to a close with the title track itself, 'Wink at July.'


'Wink At July' CD Purchase Link

Celebrity Cafe

Rachel Garlin releases 'Wink at July'

By Chelsea Lewis 
Rachel Garlin has released her latest album,Wink at July, and this effort proves that Garlin is not only an incredible singer-songwriter but really takes the time to develop and create these character-driven songs that have a voice of their own. Garlin is the type of artist that has the ability to translate from a coffee shop to center stage at a major concert or music festival.

Wink at July opens with "Gwendolyn Said" and this single shows off Garlin's ability to play the acoustic guitar and frame her own vocal delivery. She uses each song that is on the album to tell a story and explain a different character that is woven throughout her musical effort. This opening single is fun, upbeat and is a smooth introduction to who Garlin is an artist.

This album combines a variety of musical influences ranging from pop to indie rock and folk but every influence is blended and constructed in a way that moves her sound forward; this mixing doesn't feel forced. The album is produced in a way that feels natural and organic, which is how Garlin's vocal range and instrumentals come across on Wink at July.

Garlin shines when she is having fun and just enjoying the moment on this album. Garlin isn't trying to create an album that will take over the music world; she is out to prove that she is a talented musician and that fans will be drawn to her sound because it's honest, fun and simple. She never tries to be more than a singer-songwriter who has a clear musical vision.

At times Garlin has a very similar style to that of an early Alanis Morissette back in her "Ironic" days but that is not a bad comparison to draw. Morissette was a trendsetter and really created her own musical style. Garlin has taken on that energy and is paving the way in the industry with this album.

Stand out tracks on the album include "Colorado Rain," "Spin," and "Dear Friend."

Pop Dose

It’s only fitting that a former schoolteacher could write so eloquently and with a sense of poetic finesse.  Thus, Rachel Garlin delivers these kinds of lyrics on her new – and equally warm and tuneful – album,Wink At July.  This is the San Francisco-based singer’s fifth album and, certainly, the argument can be made that it’s her finest (yet).  Twelve songs which almost read like a book of short stories; truly, an art form revisited.

Writing songs about poets and graffiti artists may be alien to some, but here, Garlin demonstrates her word skills on a track called “Gwendolyn Said”, a tribute to American poet Gwendolyn Brooks and “Hey Keith Haring”, about the late New York graffiti artist (“…you drew outside the lines we fear/you were here…”).  The musical landscape can’t be overlooked, as amongst the mix includes use of harmonium, accordion, piano and some very tastefulacoustic guitars, which color the songs.  “Dear Friend” is possibly the album’s standout track; it can be easily interpreted as an open letter to a friendship gone awry – and is very moving, lyrically and musically.

If you haven’t heard Rachel Garlin previously, this is as fine an introduction as you can hope for.


Wink At July will be released April 21st, 2015