Rural Song

Hazel Rickard, of Portland, Oregon, and her sister Heather rode the TransAm Trail from west to east in 2008. Hazel used the trip as a catalyst for songwriting.

“I brought my mini-banjo and took it out to play whenever we stopped. The west was marked for me with boom and bust towns and widows reaching out to us like daughters, telling stories about cowboys and ranching and a slow life, alone but with great faith. The plains brought children and families so welcoming, telling stories of farmland and oil drilling, love of the wind and the openness. Moving into the hills of the east there were the homesteads, porch sitters, backyard graveyards, lone chimneys and stray dogs.

“This trip re-affirmed my faith in this world – there are so many kind people building up their communities, craving to connect, but content with a calm, rural life.”