Cliffrose by Savannah King: Buffalo artist traveling and writing music from her van in Arizona

Abby Wojcik

Features Editor

Savannah King’s new album Cliffrose, released on March 5, features nine songs inspired by her travels in the Southwest and her experience living full time in her 1987 Ford Coachman since 2016. Originally from Willson, NY, King hopes to bring the beauty of the Southwest to Buffalo through her alternative folk music.

Accompanying the record is a 24-page book with various photos, stories, poetry and conversations that accumulated over the duration of making Cliffrose. The book is only available on King’s website, with an option for a CD and book bundle.

“I’m so excited about it,” King said. “It sorta rounds out the whole album so you can get a real feel of what was going on at the time the songs were being written.”

King has gained popularity mainly through Instagram as she captures her experiences traveling, performing and living in her Coachman van.

“I had so much support from people on Instagram who were enjoying the photos of my van in the dessert and hearing about the things we were doing,” she said.

This is really where the inspiration for the book comes from. So much of King’s journey has been told visually that a book of visual storytelling seems like the perfect way to showcase her biggest project yet.

As King’s second full-length album, Cliffrose is completely different from her past work. The last album was recorded in Lockport five years ago, before the Coachman became her home and before all her traveling,

“It feels like a huge step forward for me,” she said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot really quickly being on the road. I’ve totally shited my mindset, what I want out of life, how I think about things, how I process them and how I write about them. That’s why I’m so proud of the album. I feel like it’s me in this moment.”

Cliffrose and the companion book have been completely funded by the Kickstarter campaign that raised over $8,000 in two weeks. This money allowed King to record the album in Nashville, which King expressed her immense gratitude for.

The album gets its name from the idea that everything growing in the desert is there because it’s fighting to survive, a concept King read in an Edward Abbey book. In other words, only the strongest things have adapted to survive in such harsh environments, but these things are also so beautiful. King incorporated this theme of beautiful resiliency throughout the whole album.

She first got a sense of this kind of resiliency from her start in the Western New York music scene.

“The musicians that I know from the Buffalo music scene are some of the hardest working musicians I’ve ever encountered,” King said. “That is a really good thing to learn early on in a music career, just to be resilient and be hardworking.”

“From traveling the rest of the country and seeing all the different areas and the different mindsets,” King continued, “I think there really is something to that rust belt mentality. Like, you get knocked down, dust yourself off, get back up and try again. I think I really got that from growing up in the Buffalo area.”

Getting to be immersed in Western New York and southern deserts has given King an appreciation for both landscapes. She plans to showcase this at her June 8 CD release party at Nickel City Arts, located in Akron, NY. King will perform an intimate, acoustic listening room style showcase of her songs. Tickets are available on her website.

Savannah King is living and creating to inspire herself and others. Cliffrose combines the charm of the Great Lakes area with her passion for Southwest deserts. Listen now for a taste of the southern rust belt blend.

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