Sage Meadows and High Country

Honest songwriting in the vein of traditional country is what listeners can expect from Sage Meadows and High Country's debut album, "River Roads."

It's named after the country roads that ran along two rivers near Meadows' childhood home — the Salmon and the Scott — in Northern California.

The cover artwork features scenes of the two rivers embroidered by Meadows' mother, Trudy.

"I've been wanting to make an album of my own for a while, because I've made them with other bands and it's a fun, creative process," Meadows says.

Her band, High Country, features her husband, David Hampton, on Stratocaster guitar, Jeff Addicott on bass, Aaron Alkire on pedal steel guitar and Kyle Coroneos on drums.

All of the songs they perform are original tunes written by Meadows, "but they sound like older songs," says Hampton.

Meadows is inspired by musicians such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Lefty Frizzell and Lucinda Williams.

"Really, my goal was to have a band in a place where we could play three hours of originals, and make sure there was variety," Meadows says.

Originally, Meadows played as a trio with her husband and Addicott on bass, but when they found out friend Coroneos played drums, they added him to the ensemble.

"Kyle actually kind of kept it secret for a long time that he was a drummer. I asked him to sit in one time and his sound was exactly what I was looking for in a drummer," Meadows recalls.

"I think I fit the style, because Sage is so much about the songs, there's no need for some kind of blast drummer to sit back there and impress someone with his work on the toms," Coroneos says. "And it's great for me because I get to sit back and listen to Sage Meadows and I just try to complement what she does and get out of her way."

When Alkire started playing pedal steel, the band pulled him in, too.

"You can't have a real country band without a pedal steel," says Hampton.

"When Aaron started learning how to play the pedal steel it was a no-brainer for me," Meadows says. "I was definitely inspired by the Bakersfield sound where you have the telecaster and you have the pedal steel and there's that contrast and that conversation. Also I make Jeff carry around the big stand-up, because I love that sound, too, I like the warmth of it."

Having played together for three years, High Country members have developed a full sound with a relaxed style.

For the Tidings Cafe, Meadows and High Country performed "Hello" in Meadow's sister's rural home, where they also recorded the album. See the video at

Meadows works as a music teacher at the John Muir School. Friday will be Meadows and Hampton's 10-year wedding anniversary. The two met while studying music at Southern Oregon University.

The group will perform songs from the new album at its CD release party at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Wild Goose Cafe and Bar, 2365 Ashland St. There is no cover charge and "River Roads" will be available for $10 at the performance.

Featured on the 13-track EP is also Mark Reaves on harmonica and Bob Evoniuk on lap steel.

"As a songwriter, when I wrote these songs I was hearing how I wanted them to sound and when you put an album together, it's an opportunity to make them sound how you want," Meadows says. "So it's a satisfying thing to do as an artist."

Reach Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at

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