River Rising comprises the musical talents of Megan Deiger and Tim Hazen, whose voices tightly weave country and folk music over a backbone of bluesy sensibility. Lyrically, they capture heartache, waywardness, and emotional strength with a soulful quality reminiscent of a spiritual. Simple orchestration of accompaniment is welcome, allowing words, melodies, and often ethereal harmonies to take the lead on each song.
River Rising has played in and around Chicago in such venues as The Beat Kitchen, Bottom Lounge, City Winery, Schubas, Subterranean, and Uncommon Ground. The band has performed with fellow local bands as well as national touring artists. In addition to its strong presence in the Chicago music scene, River Rising is an active contributor to the local theater and storytelling communities. The band has performed sets at Chicago’s Fillet of Solo Festival, Here’s the Story, Real Talk Live, and Story Sessions, and recently composed and performed an original score for the storytelling show and WBEZ podcast PleasureTown.
The duo released its debut 4-song EP “When I Find You” in 2014.
Visit River Rising on their website riverrisingmusic.com or follow them on Twitter @RiverRisinMusic and Facebook!
What does a typical work session with the producers of PleasureTown look like?
Working with Erin & Keith is always a pleasure and is also a great confidence booster! Erin and Keith are endlessly supportive of our work and they always make us feel like the best band in the world whenever we are in the studio. We typically receive the scripts and/or narrative details for each episode and we write a piece of music for each character story, each . Normally recording is done 2 episodes at a time and each session takes about 2 hours to get everything done. The team at WBEZ is top-notch. It’s a joy to work with Joe & Collin and Erin himself served as the recording engineer recently for the music on episode 205 and 206.
The PleasureTown show collaborates with exceptional artists who come from all different kinds of backgrounds: voice acting, writing, music. Working with River Rising, however, is admittedly a little different. After all, your work is present in almost every scene in every episode. Can you tell me a little about the role music plays in an episode and how it interacts with the dialogue?
As soon as recording is done the music is out of our hands. The guys do a masterful job of weaving our music into each episode and that’s truly where the magic takes place.
We approach the music thematically. We examine what will take place in each episode and after reading each story we determine what type of music is needed for a character’s segment. It just so happens that Pleasuretown explores a lot of dark, tragic, and sad themes so the music tends to fit that mold. We try to remain consistent with characters across episodes by using similar tunings and similar variations.
One of the pieces you wrote for episode 207, Needed Quiet, is aptly named “The Drowning Song.” What makes this song particularly special?
This song’s official title is “Dream Again,” but it has been lovingly called the “Drowning Song,” or the “Suicide Song” in its various iterations. It is a track from my (Megan’s) folk musical “Ballad of the Weavers.” When we first read the script for this episode we were struck by the similarities between Goldie and the character from my show. The two women meet a very similar fate in both stories so we thought the song would be a good match. We’ll be performing Ballad of the Weavers at the Chicago Fringe Festival on September 4th, 5th, and 7th. For the final performance PleasureTown’s own Erin Kahoa will be lending his talents to the production.
And finally, some happy news from PleasureTown. You two are getting hitched! Which PleasureTown character would you want to officiate your wedding?
This is a wonderful question. I would either have the Shaman or Angie officiate the wedding. However Claude is in charge of the party!