Margo Cilker’s sophomore album, Valley of Heart’s Delight, refers to a place she can't return: California’s Santa Clara Valley, as it was known before the orchards were paved over and became. more famous for Silicon than apricots. Margo is the fifth generation of Cilkers born there, and in this 11-song collection, family and nature intertwine as guiding motifs, at once precious and endangered, beautiful and exhausting.
The trees here are family trees, or they’re apricot trees, but suburban sprawl isn’t looking good for either. Cilker moved from California to the Pacific Northwest in her mid-twenties and wrote much of Valley of Heart's Delight while living in Enterprise, Oregon, a small town near the Snake River and powered by the river’s massive, publicly-funded hydroelectric dams.
The dams (part of the same system Woody Guthrie was hired to write about) provide clean electricity to much of the western US but make it extraordinarily difficult for anadromous fish (such as Steelhead Trout) to return from the ocean and spawn in their native streams. Valley Of Heart’s Delight feeds off of this tension-how we live in and off of nature, how we live within and without family, and why we return to the places we were born.