Rachel Garlin is a San Francisco-based singer-songwriter, currently working on her sixth album at Fantasy Records with producer Julie Wolf. In between her Berkeley childhood and her current life in San Francisco, Garlin lived in NYC while touring and headlining at nationally recognized venues such as Club Passim, The Bitter End, and The Freight and Salvage. Garlin grew up in a folk-music-infused household in Berkeley, California. She spent as much time strumming Tracy Chapman tunes on her dad’s Gibson J-50 guitar as she did practicing her jump-shot with the State Championship Berkeley High basketball team. Passion for sports and singing went hand in hand as she went on to become a member of the Harvard hoops team while cutting her teeth at open mics in and around Cambridge. Before becoming a full-time singer-songwriter, Garlin earned her teaching credential and taught at King Middle School where she spearheaded an after-school songwriting group that composed songs related to social justice. The combination of social justice work and singer-songwriter-ing continued as Garlin linked up with producer Lisa Zeiler (from Rebecca Riots) and released two albums, with songs that gained her recognition on the Telluride Troubadour stage and won her first place in the Newport Folk Festival’s Talent Search. Garlin recorded her third album during two live shows at the historic Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Bassist Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Sarah McLaughlin) and keys-player Julie Wolf (ani difranco, Indigo Girls) joined the effort and became lifelong collaborators. During this time, Garlin’s momentum on the road allowed her to tour full time, but she continued to work with young people along the way. She taught social-justice-oriented songwriting workshops at the Kerrville Folk Festival, at the Dublin women’s prison, in public schools in NYC, and later at Live Oak School in San Francisco. Garlin’s April 2015 release, Wink at July, continues in the folk-rock storytelling vein that brought her accolades from Performing Songwriter Magazine. Media fans include Curve Magazine (“storytelling at its best” ) and Diffuser Magazine (“an impressive catalogue of unforgettable stories.”) Garlin’s songs have aired on Click and Clack’s Car Talk, NPR’s Democracy Now, and radio stations throughout the country. Her live performances bring together a natural stage presence and the same folk, rock, and roots flavors that season her recordings.
- Samuel Ortiz