In the middle of June 2015, Vicky stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and it was blue sky for as far as the eye could see, big blue Montana sky. Putting two feet on the ground, she took in the mountains in the distance and raised her face to the sun. Then the wind took her by surprise, whirled her hair, billowed her skirt, and threw her completely off balance. For three days that fierce wind didn’t let up until she boarded her plane home to Minneapolis.
It was on this trip that Vicky recognized the parallel between that Montana wind and her own life. “I am a wife and mother to two small children, and most days I feel swept away by the complete chaos and incredible love that they bring into my life. The physical feeling of the strong wind that chased me around all weekend was the first time I could make a tangible comparison to how I was feeling emotionally. I realized in Montana that letting myself succumb to the wind, rather than resist and attempt to control every detail in my life, could bring me some much needed peace.”
The story of balancing a family and career is by no means a new one, but it is always an immense challenge for the person experiencing it for the first time. With her newfound perspective about letting it all go, the songs came and they came fast.
Always influenced by the work of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, Vicky also turned her ear to JD McPherson and Jason Isbell for inspiration. From there, she brought her batch of songs to longtime friend, collaborator, and acclaimed producer, Matt Patrick. Patrick produced her last two albums (Long Ride and Dust & Echoes) and readily signed on to produce a third. Enlisting the talents of Steve Goold (Sara Bareilles, Ben Rector), Ian Allison (Jeremy Messersmith), Jake Armerding (Bela Fleck, Nickel Creek), Aaron Fabbrini (Sarah Groves), Steve Bosmans (John Mark Nelson), the bedtracks were tracked in a live setting in three days and with Patrick’s vision, an incredible Americana album was born.
Patrick said, “Wake Me When The Wind Dies Down is a highlight record for me with Vicky. Her classic sense of songwriting permeates this album, but with a boost of vigor and feistiness. It charters both new and old waters of Americana music, which haven't yet been heard by Vicky Emerson fans. I believe this to be her best record to date and am honored and humbled to have been asked to be a part of it.”
Her music has always been steeped in blues, folk and traditional country, blended in her Americana trademark sound. By letting it all go, vocally and musically, Vicky was able to tap into that spark and sass that fans love to see when she plays live. The album was funded by fans and friends through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and validates the loyal following spanning the globe that Emerson has cultivated over the last decade through touring and previous releases.
Emerson said, “Motherhood has made me brave. I simply don’t have the time for the crippling back and forth with my self doubt anymore. Now I go with my first instinct and stay as close as possible to my internal compass. Conversely motherhood has made me vulnerable. The love I have for my family has cracked my heart open wide, overflowing with unconditional love. This intense love is always present in everything that I do. So, the dichotomy between these two entities provided some very fertile ground for my songwriting.”
Emerson was raised in rural Wisconsin, has lived in New York City and San Francisco before relocating back to her roots in Minneapolis to raise her children. She has opened for songwriting luminaries such as Malcolm Holcombe and Gregory Alan Isakov, toured on a national basis and has mentored many songwriters on touring and career management.
Wake Me When the Wind Dies Down was released on 1/1/2016 and continues to garner critical acclaim on a local and national basis. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said, “Vicky Emerson has voice like a fallen angel that's as pretty as it is strong, and now she backs it up with growing lyrical depth and richly blue Americana arrangements on her third album, "Wake Me When the Wind Dies Down." No Depression raved "From its wonderful title, understated cover, tight focus, and great songs, Vicky Emerson’s third album Wake Me When The Wind Dies Down is an all-encompassing musical experience. Forget genre considerations and labels. These are simply great songs. 9 out of 10 stars." The album reached #58 on the US Americana Charts and #5 on the European Americana Chart, which is a particularly interesting feat as Vicky administrated her own radio campaigns rather than hiring a promoter.
With the enthusiastic response from press and fans, Vicky is hitting the road with fellow American artist, Sarah Morris, as the duo The Home Fires. In 2017, Vicky will scale back her solo live shows and continue to write songs for a new album.