5 Questions with Rachael Petit of Cold Heart Canyon – interview & photos

In anticipation of another good evening of music coming up this Thursday at Sentient Bean, I asked my buddy, and the ‘Gal’ leading the guys at Gents & Gal In The Round a few questions. She’s got plenty to say, and plenty goin’ on these days. Check it out….

HL: For those not in the know already, what is your musical background & current project(s)?

RP: Oh man, do we want to go all the way back to little Rachie in the choir group? I’ve been doing the damned thang since I was a little girl. Well not the damned thing quite until I was older. I started off in church choirs and worship bands, even have my own CD floating around out there (find it if you dare). But as I came into my own, and decided to start living my life for myself I took up a route that I’d been searching for all along. Cold Heart Canyon is the name and raising hell is the game. We aren’t afraid to write and play about the most raw and real aspects of our lives. The good, the bad, the nitty gritty. Hell, I don’t think we have a single love song. If you’re looking for something to make you feel like … “Yup, I’ve been there before,” we’re here for you! I’ll be playing acoustic at The Sentient Bean, but the folks who play alongside me are some of the best musicians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Christopher Salmon and Jenna Mobley swap between banjo, accordion, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar, making your jaw drop at their finesse and skills. Robert Green is hellion of a bass player! He also takes on the guitar while I have a go at the bass for a few songs. Robert also sings dual/background vocals and he adds such an awesome grit and power. Robert and I have done a lot of the writing, but Christopher (aka the Magical Creature) has brought an entirely new voice to our songwriting and it is killer! Lastly, Ol’ Caleb “Killed This Shit” Probst, is a smooth operator on those drums. Somehow between laying down the most pocketed beats, he manages to finger gun and wink in all the right places. If there is such a category as Darker Americana/ Experimental Bluegrass, that’s where you’ll find Cold Heart Canyon.

Cold Heart Canyon by David Parham

HL: The Atlanta to Savannah ‘roadtrip to gig’ seems to be a regular thing with the Americana/Bluegrass/Folk bands these days. You’re also scheduled to perform at Trinity Sanctuary Concerts annual singer-songwriter, 2018 opening show, that a slew of fellow ATL pals came down for last year. How has your experience been with Savannah audiences?

RP: I am so looking forward to that Trinity Sanctuary shindig! I’ve never met a stranger in Savannah that’s for sure. Everyone here loves music, all kinds of music! It’s my home away from home. CHC has played The Jinx a handful of times and walking into there is like seeing an old friend. The people in this town and community are so welcoming and always ready for a good time. That’s all I ever want for anyone at shows!

Rachael Petit by Stephen Crocker

HL: With Cold Heart Canyon you’ve performed multiple times in Savannah, but what brings you down this time, and are you doing more solo gigs these days?

RP: A friend of mine had asked when the next time CHC was playing in Savannah. I’ve been trying to play more music on my days off and figured it was about time to pay Savannah a visit. I looked up a few places for open mics and came across The Sentient Bean. I got the hair brained idea to see what Ol’ Cory Chambers of City Hotel and, yourself, Mr. Jon Waits of Waits & Co. were up to! We get to play songs with our bands and some times there is opportunity to go into a greater detail behind the songs, but I figured let’s really get down to the heart of things and put together a songwriter in the round. Adding my fellow Atlantan, Reverend Justin Hylton in the mix is going to make for a great evening of story swapping and sharing. As far as the solo gigs, I have been doing a few here and there but mostly in the name of Cold Heart Canyon. Trying to spread the word, the love, and the weird whenever I can!

HL: We’ve heard through the grapevine that a new CHC album has already been recorded, and is soon to be released. Any details that you’d like to share with us about that experience, and the new work?

RP: That’s classified!!! Well, I’d love to say it’s already recorded but we are still in the process. CHC’s very own Robert Green is recording and engineering this album over at Unity Studios, and the rest of us get to join in on the production. We are trying to take our time on this album. It’s our full length and we have our complete line up for this one so we want to make sure it is captured to its fullest potential. Not to say we are dragging our feet by any means, we can’t wait to get this out for everyone to hear! But as with any fine aged whiskey, it takes just the right amount of labor of love and time to produce just the right product. Let me tell ya, this album is going to be a-whole-nother animal! Keep an ear out for it!

Rachael Petit by Jenny Thomas

HL: Last, but not least…a completely random question, concerning something that I’ve teased you about before, but…what’s the story behind your trademark raccoon hat?

RP: It’s my good day hat!! It’s impossible to not have a smile on my face in that thing, and it sparks a good bit of conversation too. Whether I’m swimming in a lake, camping, or for example, even the day I got put on probation, I put that hat on and it does it’s job! Not to mention I really love bones and taxidermy. Put a coonskin cap and some bones around my neck over a tiara and sash any day! I’ve also added a wolf tail cap and red fox cap to my collection.