"Elements of Americana, Folk, Country and Singer/Songwriter, sounding like a perfect cross between Bruce Springsteen, Rodney Crowell and Dolly Parton, both vocally and musically speaking. It all sounds very fresh and memorable, with a nice variety due to the use of both male and female lead vocals as well as sharing them. Surrender Hill delivers high quality and should therefore not be ignored."” - Strutter Magazine

SURRENDER HILL  -  River of Tears -

Americana duo Surrender Hill to release new album,
River of Tears, on June 14, 2024

“…the couple’s multi-cultural, multi-genre, 
fiercely unique histories… fuel their songwriting.” 
– American Songwriter

“The duo’s voices are perfectly suited… 
the musicianship is absorbing.” 
– Americana Highways

Americana duo Surrender Hill is set to release its seventh album, River of Tears, on June 14, 2024, via Blue Betty Records. After exploring many sonic nooks and crannies across their previous releases, with this album the pair has produced its grittiest release thus far, leaning into rock and soul influences, delving into classic country and western sounds, taking listeners dancing into roadside honky-tonks, and devastating them with heartfelt ballads and love songs. The album came together as a tribute not only to the loss of some loved ones but a way of life, and the writing and the making of the album became a cathartic experience for the duo, an honest expression of where they were at the time.

Band members – and husband and wife – Robin Dean Salmon and Afton Seekins Salmon recorded River of Tears at Blue Betty Studio in their hometown of Ellijay, GA. Robin produced, engineered, and mixed the album, with Grammy Award-winning engineer Joe Smith doing additional mixing. Joining Robin (lead guitar, acoustic, vocals) and Afton (vocals, percussion) in the studio were Jonathan Callicutt (guitar), Matt Crouse (drums), Mike Daly (steel guitar, dobro), Eric Fritsch (organ), Drew Lawson (bass), Kevin Thomas (organ), and Mike Waldron (guitar).

“Some of the songs called for an edgier, at times, darker perspective,” says Robin Dean Salmon, who previously spent several years in a rock band signed to a major label and has also produced acts making everything from gospel to metal music. “We ended up exploring a rock & roll edge, balanced equally with tender, Southwestern soul-feeling landscapes.”

For this newest offering, the range of sounds matches the range of emotional experiences. As Afton points out, those titular tears are both sad and joyous. “I certainly shed a tear when Robin played ‘River of Tears’ for me, a love song about us,” Afton recalls, “and writing ‘Cry Baby’ helped me through a very rough patch.” Overall, River of Tears “is about relationships that we have with people in our lives — family and non-family — and places we’ve lived and been, and growth in our personal lives,” Robin says.

Past albums usually found the duo co-writing the songs, but River of Tears came together differently.  Much of this album consists of songs written individually. Afton was mourning the deaths of two important people in her life while working on the album, and the process of songwriting proved therapeutic to her as she processed major life events and distilled them into song. She came home from a childhood friend’s funeral and immediately wrote the previously mentioned rocker “Cry Baby.” “It was a healing process for me, big time,” says Afton, who penned more than her usual share of songs on River of Tears. She wasn’t writing as often or as many songs as usual, but, adds Robin, “Every single song she wrote was a winner!”

Another of Afton’s songs is the single from the album, “Get Out of Your Own Way,” which will be released on May 31, 2024. “This is a song about perspective,” she explains. “I have always believed that if I had a dream or wanted to change something about my life, I had the power to do it. My parents have always allowed and encouraged me to follow my own path, and that gave me the courage to take chances. Because of that, I have traveled and seen the world, gaining a new perspective on life, love, and people.”

“This record’s not so much about our relationship, although there are moments,” says Robin, “specifically, the title track and ‘Holding Me.’” Robin wrote the former for Afton, and she wrote the latter for him, both for Valentine’s Day in 2023. “Those two songs, for us, are wonderfully important,” Robin says. “They’re very much from the heart, very honest, and for each other.”

As a musical duo, as a romantic couple, and as partners doing life together, Surrender Hill has experienced “unbelievable” growth in recent years, largely due to reflecting on their shared and individual pasts, lives lived with gusto, enriched by adventure in travel, relationships, love, hurt, school, work, art, play, and the end of an era through deep loss. The results of that time of reflection are present throughout River of Tears’ 16 songs. For Robin and Afton, the album is a cathartic journey — and they hope it will be for listeners, too, as well as for the audiences who get to hear the new songs in a live setting.


Surrender Hill

The early years

Robin Dean Salmon

Born in Durban, South Africa, Robin came of age in a disjointed country plagued by violence and political turmoil. His father’s disaccord with the apartheid-favoring government led to a pending threat of him becoming a banned person, which at the time carried the sentencing of house arrest that was doggedly enforced. The family fled to America in 1977, settling outside of San Antonio, TX on the largest Longhorn cattle ranch in the country. Life was reinvented and the way of the rancher instilled in the fabric of young Salmon. Spending the impressionable years of a young man’s life in the Texas hill country in the early ’80s, Salmon and his musical roots were a cross-pollination of musical legends Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, and Marty Robbins, and the contemporaries of punk rock – Sex Pistols, U2, The Clash, and The Ramones. At 15, Salmon got his first guitar, wrote his first song, and realized life as a performer was an inescapable dream.

Fresh out of high school, Salmon formed the band See No Evil, which would later prove to be a success for its four young members. While the band was living in Austin and playing every obliging hole in the wall, Salmon penned a song for International Youth Year, a festival held by the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. The opportunity to perform live before the United Nations, and the intoxication of the vitality and grit that was New York in the ’80s, Salmon and his fellow See No Evil members packed up and moved their outfit to the city. While living in a Greek Community of Queens and surviving on white rice and Kool-Aid, the band played steady gigs at the infamous CBGB. At one of these late-night gigs, legendary producer Richard Robinson, of Lou Reed and David Johansen notoriety, discovered the young musicians. Impressed with the band and particularly Salmon’s songwriting, Robinson secured the band a deal with Epic that would produce two records. See No Evil and Songs, both produced by Robinson, were released to rave reviews.

Nominated for three prestigious New York Music Awards, the band toured tirelessly until 1992, when Salmon was in a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his life. Faced with months of rehabilitation and an arduous recovery, Salmon felt the New York City winters and brazen population were something he was not eager to endure. A lover of the balmy comforts of the South and her soulful music, he relocated to Atlanta.

The inception of FMG Studios, affectionately named for his dog Fat Muddy George, came from the desire to wear the hat of both recording artist and producer. During FMG Studios’ existence, Salmon produced over 40 records spanning virtually every musical genre from Baptist gospel records to heavy metal. He also released several independent records of his own: a 1994 acoustic album, Aiming for the Sun, and 1997's High Energy Alternative Power Pop with his then-band, Christopher Robin.

Evolution as an artist is inevitable and Salmon was no exception with his shift from punk rock Manhattanite to the roots-infused sound of a Bohemian balladeer. Referencing his Texas roots and country influences, Salmon released two albums under the name Jack West, Gunslinger and Suicide Alley, both applauded by the critics. Hal Horowitz of Creative Loafing said, “‘Gunslinger’ fits comfortably into the current crop of alt-country traditionalists.” Heavily influenced by the work of other respected artists, Salmon references Rodney Crowell’s Houston Kid as being a turning point in his musical direction. The honesty of the human condition and rawness of Crowell’s storytelling was something that Salmon responded to and worked to incorporate in his own work. Americana music, undecorated and intelligent, was a genre of music that resonated deeply with a South African refugee raised on a Texas Longhorn ranch.

In 2005, Robin relocated to Nashville, TN, where he worked as a producer and songwriter, before heading to San Diego in 2009 where he continued to perform and write songs. It was in 2011 that he co-founded Surrender Hill in Sedona, AZ, where he was working at a producer and songwriter.

Afton Seekins Salmon

Originally born in Alaska, then moving to Arizona when she was five, Afton spent her childhood traveling back and forth between the two. School years were spent in the frontier town, Camp Verde, in northern Arizona and summers in the great Halibut fishing town, Homer, located on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Afton comes from hard-working, frontier people. One grandfather was a preacher, the other a fisherman. Her mother and father were entrepreneurs who started a water hauling business in Alaska and later a heavy construction business in Arizona. All were people who knew how to live off the land and knew the value of family. Hard work and strong ethics were instilled in Afton from a very young age.

As a young girl, music and dance became Afton’s true passion. When she wasn’t concentrating on her studies or finishing her daily chores, she was singing and dancing. In high school, she worked hard and graduated a year early. Immediately, she went to college, and after her third year, she realized she wasn't following her heart and decided to make a change. While contemplating her next move, Afton moved back to Alaska and reacquainted herself with the extremes of the great outdoors. Taking risks became just another one of her passions.

With newfound courage and direction, Afton moved to New York City to pursue professional dance, training at BLADE Dance Academy. With the aid of diligent perseverance and the ability to quickly grasp what she was learning, she was working professionally within months of her entrance into the company. Her work has been featured on many programs including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” MTV, and VH1, to name a few.

After eight years in New York City, Afton felt her roots and the inspiration to challenge herself creatively calling her back home. Afton moved back to Arizona in 2010 to concentrate on her other creative calling, that of a singer-songwriter. She found her personal journal, that had kept her company for so many years, was also her foundation as a songwriter. She taught herself to play guitar and within months was performing her songs in local venues. Afton soon found herself surrounded by local, accomplished musicians who helped teach and nurture her growth as a singer-songwriter.

One of those musicians was former Sony recording artist, songwriter, and producer Robin Dean Salmon. Robin and Afton found an immediate connection, personally and professionally. In early 2014, Afton and Robin started work on their first album as the duo Surrender Hill.

Ten years later, they are married, have thousands of performance hours behind them, seven full-length albums, and a very handsome 5-year-old boy named Wren. Afton and her boys call Ellijay, GA home.  To hear Afton sing her songs is to learn about her journey from Homer to Ellijay.

Surrender Hill's “Sunshine and Silver Linings” was nominated as a 2022 American Songwriter's Song of the Year.


“The duo's most thorough and far-reaching album to date, A Whole Lot of Freedom, showcases their strengths for strong harmony singing and engaging story songs” -Times Courier- 

"These two ain’t about clichés – they’re singing for Everyman and they can definitely pull that off on this solid Americana entry." -Rock and Roll Call- 

"The two songwriters present beautiful country music, heart-warming, sometimes also bittersweet, but always building soft, melancholic melodies that are easy to listen to." - Country Jukebox- 

“Surrender Hill is much more than a man and a woman just singing together. On Their second album 'Right Here Right Now', Robin Dean Salmon and his partner Afton Seekins are once again performing strongly with heavenly harmony vocals and impressive country ballads that will easily help to put you in the right mood for an evening in the arms or your beloved." -Rootstime- 

"Elements of Americana, Folk, Country and Singer/songwriter, sounding like a perfect cross between Bruce Springsteen, Rodney Crowell and Dolly Parton, both vocally and musically speaking. It all sounds very fresh and memorable, with a nice variety due to the use of both male and female lead vocals as well as sharing them. Although there are countless similar releases and in the past we have seen many album releases in this style, Surrender Hill delivers high quality and should therefore not be ignored." -Strutter Magazine- 

“Salmon should be the poster boy for the Americana-Roots music movement that can only be described as real and honest music.” Dan Engler - Kudos Magazine 

"Surrender Hill deliver a packed collection of close harmony acoustic Americana and country rock." "Undeniably absorbing listening." -Fatea Magazine- 

"Surrender Hill is mostly a duo, but the two also work well inside a band. Salmon's voice has just the right amount of spit for country/folk music and Seekins adorns hers with small touches of nasal twang." 

-Off Center Views- 

"Surrender Hill creates an effectively homey vibe on their rootsy new “Tore Down Fences,” a welcoming environment built on a comfortable blend of country, rock and soul." -Knoxville Sentenal- 

"Together they radiate a lot of positive energy" -Alt-Country NL-


Public Relations: Lance Cowan


Seven Continent Publishing



Surrender Hill Shows