Ellijay-based duo Surrender Hill is set to release its fourth album, “A Whole Lot of Freedom,” on April 3 and will kick off their upcoming tour with an album release show at 8 p.m., April 2 at Madlife Stage and Studios, located at 8722 Main St., Woodstock.
Surrender Hill consists of husband and wife Robin Salmon and Afton Seekins. The group’s music is a mix of Americana and roots-rock. “A Whole Lot of Freedom” was recorded at the couple’s newly-constructed home studio in north Georgia, with contributions from drummer Mathew Crouse, fiddler Wyatt Espalin and guest guitarist Jonathan Callicutt.
Of the 36 songs originally written for the record, Salmon and Seekins chose 18, turning “A Whole Lot of Freedom” into their first double-album. The tracks that made the final cut were, by and large, both melodic and mellow, influenced heavily by the arrival of their first child, Wren, the couple said. The result is an album that’s both personal and universal, stocked with character-driven songs and first-person accounts.
“The songs were inspired by experiences we had on the road, stories from our youth growing up, stories told by family, and, of course, the feelings and experiences that come up when you have a child and you watch him grow and you reevaluate what’s important,” Salmon said. “Wren’s arrival played a huge role in the songwriting, and there is a thread of some version of freedom in all the songs on this album.”
Prior to forming Surrender Hill, Salmon and Seekins chased their own muses as solo artists. Salmon was an award-nominated punk rock frontman who’d grown up in South Africa and Texas listening to a cross-cultural mix of Bob Wills, Sex Pistols, Marty Robbins and The Clash.
He launched the band See No Evil soon after high school and later moved the group to New York City, landing a deal with Sony Music in the process. A decade later, though, Salmon found himself drawn to the rootsy sounds he’d heard as a child on the ranch and he re-launched a career as an alternative country songwriter, eventually crossing paths with Seekins while playing shows in Sedona, Arizona.
Meanwhile, Seekins grew up splitting her time between an Alaskan fishing village and an Arizona frontier town. Throughout it all, she honed her talent for dancing, eventually moving to New York and working as a choreographer. Unable to resist the need to pursue songwriting, she later headed back to Arizona, where she turned the contents of her personal journal into the lyrics of her very first songs.
Surrender Hill, who is featured in an episode of the documentary series currently airing on Amazon Prime entitled “Undiscovered,” plans a busy touring schedule in support of A Whole Lot of Freedom.
Touring dates in Cherokee County and other cities and states can be found at surrenderhill.com/home.