‘Truckee to Kentucky’: Truckee-born artist returns, performs
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee born and Kentucky raised, Erin Sliney, returned home this week, bringing a “soulful country folk” sound to Rocky Mountain Underground Truckee on Wednesday night.
“Sing that song from Truckee to Kentucky then back again,” croons Sliney.
The Truckee-born artist, 33, lived in the area until age 1 before moving to Kentucky. She first returned to the Tahoe area at age 24, saying it immediately felt like home while also inspiring the song, “Truckee to Kentucky.”
Years later the song became the title track of her first album, released in February 2020.
“It felt like a home that I never knew,” said Sliney on returning to the area. “When I was a kid I always heard stories about Lake Tahoe and Truckee and I always felt like there was a piece of California in me.”
Sliney grew up on a farm in Kentucky, raising chickens, produce, and race horses. Following college and a career in environmental education and sustainability, the outbreak of COVID-19 derailed most day-to-day life. That downtime allowed Sliney to begin focusing on writing, months later she had drummed up enough material for several albums.
“That was the beginning of my song writing journey,” said Sliney. “I wrote probably four or five albums and I raised a giant garden.”
Encouraged by her mother, she began playing piano and singing as a child, inspiring her work as a musician today.
“My mom listened to a lot of soul and funk,” said Sliney. “My dad listened to a lot of old country. I like all of that plus more. It was a surprise to me that I sang and wrote country … but when I started writing songs, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, these are simple country songs.’ Allowing myself to write simple country songs is what allowed me the room to get into songwriting because I wasn’t judging myself too hard. It’s OK to sing about this is how I feel — three chords and the truth.”
Later, she picked up playing French horn, but as she transitioned from high school to college she said she “dropped” music until her late 20s when a guitar purchase reignited that passion.
“It just kind of came back,” she said. “I got a guitar and I couldn’t stop.”
Now in her 30s, Sliney has returned to Truckee, rocking downtown with a unique blend of country, soul, and funk. Jumping on stage hasn’t been the easiest endeavor, however, as time has gone by she’s slowly become more accustomed to the limelight
“I kind of like the adrenaline of being like if I keep everything together I’ll make it through this and everything will be fine. If I’m on stage performing it’s like ‘Alright here it is. If I can just go for it and hold on and not freak out’ but also I just like to lay it out there. Let it rip,” said Sliney.
“It just feels like what I should be doing. It feels like the right thing and I can’t stop playing music. When I try to do other things I just end up playing music.”
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