Viv & Riley’s “Kygers Hill” Captures The Bittersweet Journey Of Leaving Home

The Indie Roots duo Viv & Riley have announced their new album, Imaginary People, coming up on September 15th, 2023 on Free Dirt Records. The first single, “Kygers Hill,” is a “melancholic ode to leaving home.” The new album was produced by Alex Bingham of Hiss Golden Messenger and features artists from Durham’s Roots scene.

Viv & Riley say about “Kygers Hill”:

I grew up in Lexington, Virginia. My mom lives in town, while my dad lives way out in the county on the top of a ridge. I’ve done the 25 minute drive between their houses probably hundreds of times. When I moved back to the southeast after finishing college on the west coast, my first few visits home hit differently. The drive can feel really long, but I always know that once I crest Kygers Hill, I’m in the homestretch. The hill overlooks serene pastures, and gets the most beautiful light.

While I was visiting home, I felt very sentimental. I was staying in my childhood bedrooms surrounded by old toys and relics of my youth. Things that my dad used to say that bored me now felt precious and important. This song is about visiting your childhood home(s) and feeling happy and full of love, but also realizing that you have moved on from that place in time and can’t go back. It’s about missing your old home while trying to make a new one. It’s about growing up.

A similar bittersweet nostalgia lies at the heart of Imaginary People. Though the duo composed the songs in a Folk tradition, the production then headed into experimental territory. This marks Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno’s first album under the name Viv & Riley.

Ultimately, Imaginary People is about “carrying and honoring our pasts, about letting that inform our new steps forward.”

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