• By Alan Richard

BLUEGRASS PRIDE

It’s a long way from San Francisco to Mississippi, but singer-songwriter and banjo player Tyler Stegall of The High Water Line has traveled those miles many times physically and spiritually.


That’s what led the 27-year-old musician and his San Francisco Bay-area bandmates to sing about the journey on their new, self-titled debut album.


On the track “North of Jackson,” Stegall writes and sings a soulful story based on the migration of his father, grandparents, and other relatives, who flocked from the Deep South to upstate New York for work—and reflects on his own journey as a man and musician:


“The son of a preacher looks upon the field

He thinks to himself of the day he would ride away from Crystal Springs, Mississippi

Going north, far away

He’s leaving the delta, he’s going far away

Gonna do right by himself someday.”


“I was first in my immediate family to be born above the Mason-Dixon Line,” Stegall said. “I have spent probably a ridiculous amount of time, especially when I was young, thinking about Mississippi. I’ve spent a lot of time (there) emotionally.”


The High Water Line includes other originals by Stegall and other band members, along with bluegrass interpretations of older bluegrass and modern alt-country songs.


The group also includes mandolin player Tj Carskadon, fiddler Clare Armenante, guitarist Joel Cofield, and bassist Jim Toggweiler. They share lead and harmony vocals throughout, their ages ranging from late twenties to early forties.


Read more about this terrific new group in our curator's story for the online magazine Country Queer.



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