About

Rachel Zylstra


Her primary musical goal early in her writing career was "to make the next song different" from anything she'd previously written. Classically trained on piano and "smoky, sweet and verbose (in the best ways)" (Scoutmob), Rachel writes songs rich in narrative while her voice, described as "wood-warm, unwavering" (No Depression), weaves "luminous cadence [and] sweet melancholy" (Revista AntrópikA) throughout her music.


Making an early-20s move from the grievous and blissful Midwest to the wilds of New York City, the lanky, wordy Grand Rapids MI native developed a following playing small cozy clubs on NYC's Lower East Side, most notably the acclaimed Rockwood Music Hall. Over the next years, she independently released three albums, toured regionally, and opened for noted American indie acts including David Bazan, Over the Rhine, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, and Jay Brannan. One time she even opened for Bono - in a manner of speaking.


With a frank lyrical style, Rachel's songs explore themes of longing, doubt, faith, purpose and finding one's place. In 2012,  she found musical companions in this plaintive storytelling endeavor. Collaborating with bassist Russ Wedelich, an Eventide DSP engineer, and drummer Alex Paul, geneticist and songwriter in his own right,  the three began performing Rachel's songs as a power-pop trio, The Tacit Turn, and bringing new energy and urgency to live performances. In April 2015, at Let ‘Em In Music in Brooklyn, the band captured these arrangements with the sound engineering expertise of Justin Milner (Strings) and Dave Brenneman (Before You Could Decide). Blending pop-standard elements, ambient Radiohead-esque electronic effects and Americana-tinged harmonies to heady, lush, and at times dark effect, the album, titled The Tacit Turn, was released in October 2015 as Rachel Zylstra's 4th studio album, with the incredible support of numerous Kickstarting fans and listeners.


May of 2015, buoyed by rich friendships and feeling led away from the ambition grind, Rachel uprooted from a decade of New York City permanence to enter into a season of full-time music and life on the road.


In early 2016, Rachel paused before making another move - to Scotland, to chase the longing in its landscape. Today she resides in Edinburgh, directs worship at a Church of Scotland parish on its west side, and continues to draw creative inspiration from her surroundings and circumstances. She is touring in the US this November and currently making her 2018 schedule.


If you would like to book Rachel for a concert at your church, venue, or in your home for a living room concert, in the UK or further afield, please drop her an email.

 

 

debut at Edinburgh Fringe, August 2016. photo credit David Simpson

 

 

 

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