Storyhill

Storyhill

 Bozeman, Montana, USA
BandPopSinger/Songwriter

Red House Records' progressive acoustic duo. 2 guitars, 2 vox. Critically acclaimed songwriting, tight harmonies. Finger-style to hard-driving guitars. 15+ yrs performing/tours. 13 CDs. Solid following (10K mailing list). Tours across U.S. and sells out 500+ in West/Midwest.

Biography

Storyhill is a folk duo that brings infectious melodies, smart story songs and heartbreaking harmonies together in one perfect package. Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson grew up and started performing together as teenagers, while living in Bozeman, Montana. Both were musical from the get-go, singing with choirs, playing in bands and mastering many musical instruments—piano, guitar, trumpet, violin, harmonica, bass and accordion. Although their 7th grade world geography class is what ostensibly brought them together, it was their musical passions that made them close friends and lifelong musical collaborators.

They recorded their first tape as Chris and Johnny in 1989, upon graduating from high school. Although they then temporarily parted ways—Chris going to Spain and John to Minnesota for college—they continued to play music. Chris, who had previously played piano with John, took up the guitar and focused on his songwriting, soaking up the Spanish culture. Meanwhile, John was making a name for himself on the campus of St. Olaf College, where he was pursuing a music degree for violin performance. He got regular gigs in town, performing his own original material. He encountered such success selling his and Chris’ first album that he encouraged Chris to come out and join him so they could play together. Chris did, and together they developed a strong fan following on campus and in the nearby Twin Cities as an acoustic songwriting duo. After graduating in 1993, they toured the country, playing the college circuit. For three years they toured constantly and recorded several self-released albums, selling an impressive number at their shows. Exhausted from the travel and finding themselves pulled in different directions, Chris and John, or Storyhill as they were now known, embarked on a series of farewell concerts (much to fans’ dismay). Chris moved west to Seattle for a year, then returned to settle back in Bozeman where he continued to play his own songs, fronted and recorded with a small acoustic band (Sixth Sense) and shared tours with Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Justin Roth (resulting in a live recording—2 forms of ID). John, on the other hand, went east, moving to Norway for a year. There he wrote material that would result in his first solo album, recorded when he returned to Minneapolis. He began performing solo and with his band Alva Star.

Meanwhile, Storyhill fans continued to clamor for more, so Chris and John played a few sold-out reunion shows in Minnesota and Montana. Discovering the old chemistry was still there along with some new creative energy, they reformed Storyhill and fully committed themselves to touring and recording as a duo. They enlisted the help of rock/pop songwriter and Grammy winner Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Dixie Chicks, Trip Shakespeare) to produce Storyhill’s next album, their first to be released on independent roots label Red House Records. The album, simply named Storyhill, was a return to the basics that have made the duo so popular—strong melodic songs. Released in 2007, it received rave reviews and was selected as the Best CD of the Year by the Indie Acoustic Project. It also led them to win the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Contest and perform on national radio shows like Mountain Stage.

Now, with the release of their new album Shade of the Trees, Storyhill confirms that they are one of the most important songwriting duos today. Mixing old-fashioned storytelling with hauntingly spare acoustic arrangements, they sing about love, war and the many sorrows that accompany them.

In support of the new CD, Storyhill is now touring across the country. They will also host two songwriter festivals in Montana and Minnesota--Storyhill Fest and Storyhill Fest Midwest. Both events draw fans from across the country for weekends of live music in scenic outdoor settings. Featuring some of their favorite artists that they have met in their travels, they have brought in such artists as Antje Duvekot, Danny Schmidt, and Anais Mitchell.

In addition to their work with the duo, Chris and John continue their separate pursuits in Montana and Minnesota. Chris produces recordings at Basecamp Recording, a studio he built just outside of Bozeman. John works as a producer in Minneapolis and continues to play with Alva Star.

Lyrics

Love Will Find You

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

You may be watching from a safe distance. You may be so close you can taste the blood. You may have headed for higher ground. You may be drowning in the flood.

No matter what you do, Love will find you.

You may have lost what little faith you had. You may believe with all you heart. You may be pulling yourself together again. You may be falling apart.

No matter what you do, Love will find you.

You may see that Love's a long lost friend. You may not recognize her face. You may run to her with open arms. You may fall down in disgrace.

No matter what you do, Love will find you.

You may see a million different gateway's home. You may think there's only one way through. You may be waiting for the Kingdom to come. You may believe it's in you.

No matter what you do, Love will find you.

Room In Your Heart

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

There was a time I'd do anything for you, if your roses went blue I made them red. It's not that they're dead but those flowers don't bloom, and it's just empty wands instead.
You should know wherever you go, if you're lost in the crowd, or you're happy alone. You have my attention, whatever I can do. There will always be room in my heart for you.

Remember that day the moon blocked the sun and we danced all around the back yard. Playing our past on the radio, total eclipse of the heart.
You should know wherever you go, if you're head's in the clouds or you're stuck on the ground. You have my commitment, whatever I can do. There will always be room in my heart for you.

You should know wherever you go I'll be waiting here...

You know how they say the more things change, the more some things stay the same? Things around here got perfectly clear the minute you went your own way.
But you should know wherever you go, any time of the day, any reason at all. You have my word, whatever I can do. There will always be room in my heart for you.

Somewhere In Between

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

I was sleeping. I don't know if we're in Iowa or Missouri. It's one of those dreams caught between the clearing and the blurry. I'm not awake, but I'm not sleeping I'm somewhere in between.
She said "You know it's funny how he could need somebody he can't even stand to be around. He calls me from the bar when he's sorry; he can only talk to me when he's standing on familiar ground. And he takes me for a fool, he says he'd be home if he hadn't promised one more game of pool. And I don't love him, but I don't hate him I'm somewhere in between."
You say you don't know where you stand now that all the light has somehow left her face. You used to be her's and she used to be your's and you saw everything that way. But now all of your connections have faded away, like meaning from direction, like color from the day. And you're no longer lovers, but you're not strangers. You're somewhere in between.
They started fighting last year at Christmas, and it's just getting worse everyday. He gave you his pride and she gave you her ego but they mostly give you silence today. And if he's pulling closer, she's pushing away. And you'd try to help, but what can a kid say? And you're not on his side but you're not on her side. You're somewhere in between.
I've tried to get through to let you know how much of who I am I owe to you. But you won't let me and you turn and twist my words and make cracks for them to fall through. And I waste my time trying to be honest. Looking for words to bridge the gap bewteen us. But you don't hear them, and I'm still talking. They're somewhere in between us.
I was sleeping, I don't know if we're in Iowa or Missouri. But it doesn't matter, it all looks the same between the corn fields and snow flurries. And I'm just passing through on the way to somewhere. The destination's distant, but I don't care. I haven't yet arrived, but I'm I'm not just starting. I'm somewhere in between.

Old Sea Captain

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

Raise the anchor, a warm wind has begun to blow. Hoist the sails, it's almost time to go. Farewell words to a fair and gentle man. Old Sea Captain, you'll soon be sailing again.
From the shores we'll stand and watch your wake unfold. From the lighthouse, we'll send our signals so you know. You're in our prayers with plenty of air to fill your sails. On the high ocean, and through the storms you will prevail.
Go well Old Sea Captain.
You've been our anchor, you've been our beacon in the night. Through struggle and anger, you showed a peaceful way to fight. And 'round your table you brought together a family. I'm standing strong now, 'cuz I once sat on your knee.
Go well Old Sea Captain.
Querido abuelo, me oyes cuando te canto a ti. No me explicado, lo que significas para mi. Pero cuando yo canto, y cuando miro hacia al mar...Pensare en ti.
(Dear grandfather, you hear me when I sing. I never told you all you mean to me. But when I'm singing and when I look to the sea... I'll think of you.)
Go well Old Sea Captain.

Another Time

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

You wish them well, what else can you do? They're on their way now and so are you. You look forward to another time. To tell them how it's been.
Some days are dungeons while others shine. And burn in your memory like turpentine. Some grapes are raisins, some are wine. You'll tell them sometime.
Tomorrow is so bright it burns his eyes. Everyone's happy he's happy with life. He's got a kid in the cradle, a car and a wife. That's how they say that you've been.
How long since we were kids? The crazy things we did...Throwing apples at cars, measuring the skids. And blaming the neighbor kids.
So much for college and the higher mind. You read for pleasure when you got the time. You found the job that works you fine.
Thanks for dinner and the table wine. Someday I'll settle and I'll bring you to mine. I look forward to another time.

Happy Man

Written By: Chris Cunningham & John Hermanson

I wanna be a happy man, wearing your wedding band. I know it won't be easy, I'll do everything I can.
I know that I can get down sometimes, I know I can get blue. But noone helps me see the bright side the way that you do.
Oh give me a fighting chance - I wanna be a happy man.

Seems like we always have the same fight - no one ever wins. But there's a big love waiting and I'm ready to give in.
Oh can't you see we're on the same side? Noone's wrong and noone's right. And I never want to argue the way we did tonight.
Oh give me a fighting chance. I wanna be a happy man. Yea, after all I've put you through I want to make you happy too.

Oh give me a fighting chance. I wanna be a happy man. Yea, after all I've put you through, I wanna make you happy too. Yea, after all that we've been through, I wanna make you happy too.

Paradise Lost

Written By: John Hermanson/Chris Cunningham (Storyhill)

Everbody wants a piece of Paradise
A house upon the hill with a view of heaven
Now everyone's here, so close together
Paradise is lost and gone forever

When we were young we used to walk out in those fields and run forever
in the back yard woods
now the old trails disappear in neighborhoods,
with streets named after
what's gone for good

The hills above town used to be the best place
for starry eyed lovers and inspiration
Now it's all paved, every street's a dead end,
and empty summer houses stand all along them

When we were young we used to walk out in those fields and run forever
in the back yard woods
now the old trails disappear in neighborhoods,
with streets named after
what's gone for good

Now there's no tresspassing
there's no going back again
I only hope you remember
the way it was
what we had back then

When we were young we used to walk out in those fields and run forever
in the back yard woods
now the old trails disappear in neighborhoods,
with streets named after
what's gone for good

Everbody wants a piece of Paradise
A house upon the hill with a view of heaven

Discography

"Shade of the Trees" (Red House Records, release date: 4/20/10)
"Storyhill" (Red House Records, release date: 2/13/07)
"Duotones: a Tribute to Duo's of the 1970's" (2005)
"Dovetail" (2002)
"Reunion" Double Live CD (2001)
"Storyhill Live" (1997)
"This Side of Lost" (1996)
"Clearing" (1995)

Set List

Storyhill usually performs two, 45 minute sets of original songs.