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Visit Official Site: Singer-songwriter Gigi Love is the National Park Service’s official “Trails and Rails Troubadour.” Throughout 2017, Love will perform songs from her new CD “National Parks Centennial Songs” for passengers traveling on Amtrak trains while visiting the nation’s national treasures, national parks and historic sites.
The Trails and Rails program is a partnership between Amtrak, the National Park Service, and Texas A&M University’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences, founded in 2000 to educate travelers on the natural resources and heritage of a specific region while traveling by rail. This is the first time a musician has joined the crew of volunteers to help tell the national park story.
While Love was performing last year on her National Parks Centennial Songs Tour at the Bright Angel Lodge at Grand Canyon National Park, Jim Miculka, national coordinator of the Amtrak-NPS Partnership, and Eric Smith, route director-Southwest and Coast Starlight and Southwest Chief for Amtrak, happened to be in the audience. The performance led to an invitation to be the Trails and Rails’ first official troubadour.
“We were both really impressed with her music,” Miculka said. “We thought she’d fit perfectly into our train program.” Love kicked off her troubadour gig in August while performing aboard Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train, from Los Angeles to Seattle. The impetus for the “National Parks Centennial Songs” CD began in Yosemite National Park when a rock climber sold his mandolin to Love for gas money. She sat down with the mandolin in El Capitan Meadow and wrote a song about the park. “Yosemite Gold” ranked number nine on the Folk DJ chart in June. Eleven national parks and 11 songs later, “National Parks Centennial Songs” was released.
Recorded in Nashville, “National Parks Centennial Songs” includes saxophonist Spencer Kellogg, Rick Gerber on mandolin, Josh Matheny on dobro and lap steel guitar, bass player Byron House, and Steve Brewster on drums. Lead guitarist is Brian Ashley Jones. Peter Nicholson plays lead ukulele and bass, and provides backup vocals. Love plays guitar, mandolin and ukulele and is lead vocalist.
Love performed recently in Hawaii at a CD release party at the Volcano Art Center followed by a performance at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Her message is “protect the earth, wilderness, and our national parks.” While traveling with Trails and Rails, Love will stop at various national parks to perform at campgrounds and visitor centers.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Gigi began playing the guitar and singing at age 7. At 12 years old she was performing at major venues around the state such as Johnny High’s Country Music Review in Ft. Worth, Grapevine Opry and the Stephenville Opry House. She currently has 4 original albums on the Vast Horizons Music label and a special performance on the album Utah Remembers Bruce “Utah” Phillips, of Utah’s song Going Away, on the Waterbug label.
Discography: National Parks Centennial Songs 2016, Sweet Relief 2012, Utah Remembers Bruce “Utah” Phillips-Tribute to Utah Phillips 2011, Cosmic Tales of the West 2008, Turning to Gold 2004, Coyote Bones 2001.