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Getting to know Kilgour

Duluth native Rachael Kilgour has been attracting audiences with a balance of provocative, topical lyrics, passionate musical delivery and a charmingly witty stage presence over the last eight years. She performs at 8 p.m. Saturday Feb. 22 at Oak Center General Store in rural Lake City.

Kilgour began writing and performing her own songs in 2005. She was invited to join recording artist Catie Curtis on a tour of the Midwest as an opener and backup musician in 2006 and again the following year.

Her debut album was released in 2008 with the help of indie-folk starlet and producer Haley Bonar.

On the self-titled album, one can hear the music of the life and politics of a young woman turned wife, mother and advocate for what she describes as a generation of unsatisfied global citizens.

In the years since, Kilgour has performed across the country in coffeehouses, concert series and radio studios as well as protests and picket lines.

She’s shared the stage with such folk luminaries as Greg Brown and Holly Near.

Last year she released “Whistleblower’s Manifesto: Songs for a New Revolution” completed in Minneapolis at the Humans Win! Recording Studio. Her brothers Jake and Jeremy Hanson (guitarist for Mason Jennings and drummer for Tapes ‘n Tapes) and her wife on harmony vocals accompany Kilgour on the record. The album was, again, produced by Bonar.  

Songs are about love and family, but perhaps the most compelling are her songs about human nature, societal shortfalls and our own potential to create change.

Tickets for the show are $15 to $5 based on ability to pay. For more information, call 507-753-2080 or visit

To find more on Kilgour or to hear her music, check out her site

We asked, they answered - Rachael Kilgour

 What are your first musical memories?

The very first thing that comes to mind is dancing in the kitchen while my grandpa played his guitar and sang something silly like “Oh, Susanna.” I must have been two or three at the time. He and his siblings were all very musical and it was the same on the other side of my family as well.

Describe the music you play

My music is smart and funny and can also make you cry. Generally I fall into the “folk” category, being a singer-songwriter with guitar, but it’s fresher and more lyrically intense than you’d expect. I cover everything from personal struggles to social justice.

What inspires your work?

My writing is driven by empathy, justice, humor and connection to a collective conscience. I’m inspired by whatever keeps me up at night, whether it’s parenting or poverty.

What is your favorite part about performing?

I love to look around a room and feel that I’ve made an audience think about something in a new way, but I also love to make them laugh. Both are equally important.

Are you currently working on any project?

I’m not working on anything new at this moment, I’m trying to focus on sharing my latest recording, “Whistleblower’s Manifesto: Songs for a New Revolution” that was released last year.

Do you remember the last song you had stuck in your head?

I have a young teenage daughter, so though I hate to admit it, it’s probably going to be some top 40 song I’ve been forced to listen to every day for the last year. It’s hard to pick just one because they’re all specially formulated to stick in your head.

What is one thing someone wouldn’t know about you?

People who have seen me perform are often surprised to find how introverted I am off the stage. I think that’s pretty normal for performance artists though.

If you could perform with any musician – dead or alive – who would it be?

There are so many artists I respect, it’s hard to choose. I would have loved to have shared the stage with the late, great Pete Seeger, but I also really identify with Janis Ian’s work. There are also plenty of newer artists I admire and would love to perform with including Brandi Carlile, Nellie McKay and M.I.A.

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880