Inspired by storyteller-songwriters such as Leonard Cohen and Laurie Anderson and writers like James Joyce and Anne Carson, bandleader Alicia Jo Rabins creates first-person songs based on obscure stories of Biblical women. Through orchestral indie-rock, bluegrass-inflected murder ballads, and the occasional dance number, Girls in Trouble investigates the hidden places where the complicated lives of Biblical women overlap with our contemporary lives.
Alicia Jo Rabins is an award-winning poet, composer, Biblical scholar and violinist based in Portland, Oregon. (Find more information about Alicia’s poetry and other projects on her website.) Girls in Trouble’s eponymous debut album (2009) was composed by Rabins in a closet-sized apartment in Brooklyn and recorded on tape by Scott Solter in a North Carolina farmhouse-studio; their second, Half You Half Me (2011), was recorded during an epic snowstorm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and their third album, Open the Ground (2015), was recorded at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, OR with a cast of Portland musicians.
Each of the three albums feature Rabins’ intimate vocals surrounded by electric guitars, drums, keyboards, and strings. Her husband Aaron Hartman (of K Records band, Old Time Relijun) plays the bass; Rabins herself, a classically trained violinist, writes and performs the intricate string arrangements. Performing solo, duo, and as a full band, Girls in Trouble has toured across the US, Canada, and Europe, in venues ranging from the Great Synagogue of Stockholm to punk-rock LA club The Smell, and many living rooms in between.
In 2015, Rabins received two prestigious grants – a Covenant Grant and a Joshua Venture Fellowship – to support the creation of the Girls in Trouble Curriculum, launching the educational aspect of Girls in Trouble. Intended for teens and adults in diverse settings including university classrooms, teen workshops, self-study and women’s groups, the curriculum makes the unique and transformative power of Biblical women’s stories accessible to people anywhere. Study guides covering ten in-depth characters are now available for download. Concise study guides for the remaining characters are currently under development.
“Mesmerizingly arty folk‐rock…On “Yiftach’s Daughter,” [Rabins] strums an austere acoustic‐guitar pattern while cooing with a sweetly beguiling intimacy, joined by hauntingly lovely pastoral harmonies.”
“Catchy indie-rock originals. [Rabins’] retelling of…often scandalous, murderous tales distills them to a universal essence, so that they work as reflections of contemporary life, not just as fables.”