Ro Myra’s ‘Railroad Weed’ Honors Her Farming Roots [Exclusive Premiere]
Southwest Nebraska native Ro Myra grew up watching her father struggle to keep alive the family farm that had been passed down for generations. Falling corn and wheat prices, and rough weather, made it hard to make ends meet as an independent and organic-focused farmer.
"If you want to know what it’s like to be a farmer, just go to a casino and watch the gamblers who take too many chances. That was my dad, but that’s all he had known," Myra tells The Boot. "He told me he started running his family farm by himself when he was 10 years old. That’s a lot of weight and responsibility as a kid, so with that, it seems that he found ways to escape."
Myra's new song "Railroad Weed" — premiering exclusively via The Boot — captures her rural roots, and the little escapes we all crave: "We get so high beside those railroad ties / Summer nights, we get so high / We get so high, feel those trains roll by ... We ride that rail in the sky," she sings each chorus.
The song is something of a tribute to her father, who died recently and who was always asking his daughter if she'd finished her album yet. It took Myra two years to record: a bit in Austin, a bit in Nashville, a bit in Kansas City.
"For me, the most magical moments with this song happened when I sent the song to my friend, Joshua Grange. He plays full time with Lucinda Williams and Sheryl Crow, and he can play just about any instrument you can imagine," Myra says. "When he added that baritone guitar and those drums last summer, I felt like the song landed right where it needed to be."
"Railroad Weed" is one of seven songs on Myra's forthcoming debut album, Nowhere, Nebraska. She is the project's sole writer and producer, but in addition to Grange, she worked with fellow musicians Phoebe Hunt, Bobby Holland, Eric Moon and more.
"I grew up in a small, dried-up oil and farming town in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. I spent most of my life running away from it, and now I'm right back where I started," says Myra, who lives in Nashville after spending time all over the country while working in education reform and academia, and who earned honorable mentions at both the 2018 and 2019 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Awards.
"I wanted people to be able to listen to this record and feel what it's like to stand in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska on a hot summer day, to feel the heat just radiating off of the wheat fields," Myra adds. "I wanted it to sound like what growing up there felt like."
"Railroad Weed" is due out widely on Friday (July 9) and available to pre-save now; Nowhere, Nebraska is set for release on Aug. 6 and is also available for pre-order. Fans can keep up with Myra at HiMyNameIsRo.com.
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