Rivers lead us to routes, let us revel in recreation. More than fun, they also provide us with food, induce energy, and provide water for our well-being. A river’s home begins in the hills, or high lands, from a collection of condensation, which forms tiny streams known as gullies. As gullies grow they either shape into streams or synthesize with a stream that’s already set and stable. A tributary meets and merges into another stream at a confluence. From a myriad of these merging tributaries, a river is made.
The Hills and the Rivers are a great example of a creative confluence. Originally two separate entities, The Hills were symphonic siblings Isaac, Heidi and Ian Hill and The Rivers were repped by Faith Hersey, James Bristol, Noel Mullen, and Chris Fazio. Attracting each other via their artistry and activism, the bands began busking together in September of 2013. Besides the very obvious vocals, The Hills and the Rivers play a plethora of things at a performance: percussion, djembe, a stand up bass, flute, fiddle, trumpet, tenor guitar, and their music even includes a mandolin.
Self-described as “post-apocalyptic river folk,” these all acoustic artists don’t need electricity to entertain. They will have you gently rolling on their hills and rocking the boat on their rivers, captivating with their creative currents. Like a gully that grows into a raging river, they think that “music is one of the most powerful forces in the world, and can be used to take people through emotional and spiritual journeys of personal and collective transformation.”
Like looking into a river and seeing a reflection, their music and lyrics reflect their commitment to collectively help heal the planet and people. They’ve played at places like Occupy Pittsburgh, Teach-Ins with the 4th River Free Skool, and solstice celebrations. I saw them at the Owl Tribe’s Owl You Need is Love celebration on Saturday. You can see them at their upcoming shows – Wednesday February 19th at The Courthouse at 7 P.M. with Saul Conrad, Conemaugh Trio, Lrad, Joey Molinaro, and Colin Hill, Monday February 24th at Roboto at 6:30 with White Gold, Mark Natural, Darger, COLDfront, and Whoovez, and Sunday March 9th at Firehazard Studio with the Homeless Gospel Choir, Charmaine Evonne, Abandoned Ranch Struggler, and Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists.
A river eventually flows into another larger body of water. Like the gullies give to the river, so the river offers to the oceans, births into the bays, lends to the lakes. A river doesn’t just find its flow or have a perfect path, it changes the earth’s surface so it can continue, it carves out its route, redefining rocks, shifting sediment, bustling boulders, constantly creating its course. The Hills and the Rivers started out as separate sources, but became a growing gully, their music merged at a creative confluence, and their river of resourcefulness is readily contributing to the community. With a full length album allotted for a spring release, they are also changing the surface on which they flow, plotting their own path, shifting minds and moving things with their music. They are a gully that just keeps on giving.