Americana Highways brings you this premiere of Surrender Hill’s song “A Whole Lot of Freedom,” the title track from their album due to be released on April 3. “A Whole Lot of Freedom” is Robin Dean Salmon on bass, acoustic & electric guitars, dobro, and vocals; Afton Seekins Salmon on vocals and tambourine; and Matthew Crouse on drums.
Surrender Hill is an energetic musical incarnation that has captured the flavor of “a little country in their soul” (and a little rock ‘n roll too) as a result of band leader Robin Dean Salmon’s global roots. Coming from a wide open background, Surrender Hill has synthesized life’s experiences into a universal sense of freedom both lyrically and musically.
When I was a teenager in the early ’80s, I started getting really into reading about South African history and apartheid. Although I spent my first 13 years of life in South Africa, growing up there in a very rural area as a white South African, I didn’t really understand the extreme and terrible nature of apartheid and what it meant to black South Africans, about how their most basic rights and freedom were stripped away, their dignity placed in question every day. Apartheid was an horrendous policy that left me feeling like one’s freedom was the most important feeling and “possession” we as human beings could ever have.
Freedom has always been a running theme in my life. I resisted all authority in boarding school and anyone who tried to clip my wings. I was very lucky to have grown up, first, on a large farm in Africa where my parents let me run free and be and do anything I wanted, until boarding school of course, and then on a massive working ranch in the Hill Country of Texas, where the same was true. I have always loved the feeling of the open road and traveling in all parts of the world. “A Whole Lot of Freedom” is kind of an anthem for my life and for people who have done their best to live by their own rules and embrace life. One of the most poignant lines of the song is, “Every day I would wake up and go where the warm wind blows and never stick around long enough to make a name.” That has truly been my life. I have had some serious ups and some serious downs. I don’t think I would change a thing.
The recording of this song was interesting, as we had always played it completely stripped-down with just voices and an acoustic guitar. When our friend and drummer, Matthew Crouse, came down to our studio in Ellijay, GA, to work on the album with us, we started messing around with the song, and we all got kind of frustrated with it. For some reason, what came across really well live with just an acoustic guitar wasn’t making the jump to recording. It just didn’t have the drive that it does live. During our frustration, I suggested to Matt that he just ride the hell out of the floor tom and let’s beat the shit out of the tune and that’s what felt good and that’s what stuck. — Robin Dean Salmon
Order and follow Surrender Hill here: https://surrenderhill.com/