Over the course of 13 months, folk singer-songwriter Abigail Dowd’s house flooded six times. Exhausted by the seemingly Sisyphean renovations and repair work that resulted, not to mention health concerns, Dowd decided to hit the road. She spent five months living nomadically, writing songs on friends’ porches, in her car, and as evidenced in this video, even in the middle of rivers.

In this Acoustic Guitar Session in Place Dowd performs “St. Vrain,” an enchanting and melodically-rich fingerstyle arrangement that was written atop a boulder in the St. Vrain River in Colorado. “It almost felt as if the river was writing the piece for me,” Dowd says of the songwriting process. “It all just sort of flowed together and my hands knew where to go.”


With her Taylor DN3 capoed at the sixth fret Dowd delivers bright, chiming melodies and a rich, grooving rhythm that channels the ever-changing flow of the river. “St. Vrain” appears on Dowd’s latest record, “Beautiful Day,” a collection of 12 songs written during her nomadic era.

The cover of folk singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist Abigal Down's album "Beautiful Day"

Want to start writing your own songs? Check out our instructional guide, Songwriting Basics for Guitarists, available as a PDF+video download from the Acoustic Guitar store.

This article is free to read, but it isn't free to create! Make a pledge to support our work (and get special perks in return.) LEARN MORE...