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Rachael Kilgour is a Minnesotan songwriter and performing artist whose sincere, lyric-driven work has been called both brave and humane. The 2015 grand prize winner of the esteemed international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition and winner of the 2017 Kerrville New Folk Contest, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center, at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and by the ASCAP Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival.
Married in her early twenties, Kilgour devoted her young adulthood to parenting her stepchild and building family and community. Her work from that time (Self-Titled 2008, Will You Marry Me? 2011, Whistleblower’s Manifesto 2013) chronicled her life as a young parent in a same-sex partnership and addressed sociopolitical issues from government corruption to income inequality and religious hypocrisy. Kilgour’s music career took a backseat during those years as she lived a slow, home-focused life.
In 2014, divorce brought an unwanted end to her role as a member of the family she had helped to grow. In the aftermath, Kilgour found solace in songwriting. Her third full-length album, Rabbit in the Road (2017), was born out of that time.
Called “…a heartfelt slice of master crafted indie folk brimming with the battle-tested capacity to endure the worst in others” by Billboard, Rabbit in the Road took an intimate and often painful look at the failed marriage and loss of family. Kilgour’s writing and delivery cut deep, with resolute simplicity. Ravelin Magazine observed “this sort of metonymic ability to evoke the whole of someone or the entirety of a feeling is typical of Kilgour’s poetic songwriting.”
In February of 2019, Kilgour followed up with the release of her new EP, Game Changer. The aptly titled work examines the artist’s tentative first steps into a new existence, post-heartbreak. With a clear head, Kilgour touches on the complicated nature of romance and relationship, sets up a stunning defense of queer love, and reassesses her priorities as a citizen of a changing wider world.
Kilgour was awarded a 2020 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to focus on a songwriting project about the life and recent death of her father.