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Former Verde Valley residents Robin Dean Salmon and Afton Seekins tour new album at Page Springs Cellars, Vino Di Sedona

Afton Seekins, left, and Robin Dean Salmon, of Surrender Hill, which will perform at Page Springs Cellars on Feb. 21-22 and at Vino Di Sedona on March 2.

Afton Seekins, left, and Robin Dean Salmon, of Surrender Hill, which will perform at Page Springs Cellars on Feb. 21-22 and at Vino Di Sedona on March 2.

Originally Published: February 19, 2018 10:26 a.m.

What started with a chance meeting at a friend’s birthday party in 2013 eventually became a marriage of music – as well as a marriage of two kindred spirits.

Robin Dean Salmon remembers the day he met his wife, and though they “didn’t really have much to say to each other,” he and Afton Seekins met in 2013 and “were always sort of in each other’s circle playing music independently of one another.”

The following year, Salmon and Seekins became friends. Then, romance followed.

“One day, I asked her if she would like to write a song together, and we wrote our first song,” Salmon says. “It was really easy, came out pretty good and our voices blended really well. We both knew right then that we needed to pursue this professionally.”

Three albums later, Surrender Hill, fronted by the husband-and-wife team of Salmon and Seekins, returns to the Verde Valley, the place they first met, the place they first loved, the place they first made music together.

Surrender Hill is touring its new record Tore Down Fences at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 and at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 at Page Springs Cellars, located at 1500 N. Page Springs Road in Cornville.

The band will also play at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2 at Vino Di Sedona, located at 2575 SR 89A.

According to the band’s bio, Tore Down Fences is an album about relationships, “delivered from the perspective of two songwriting partners who’d weathered their own share of breakups and missteps before crossing paths.”

With two prior records – 2015’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Right Here Right Now – that focus on the “honeymoon period” in relationships, Tore Down Fences tells about “the challenges that arrived before the pair got together.”

“It explores the reality of romance: the good, the bad, the bright, and the dark,” the bio states.

For Salmon, what inspires the couple’s music is “a combination of my experiences, her experiences and our experiences together. It’s kind of funny because we have three different points of view.”

On their first two records, Salmon says it was “clear that we were two people who’d fallen in love and were writing songs together.”

“This new record is interesting because we’ve been together long enough, both personally and professionally, to start exploring some of the darkness from our lives before we got together,” Salmon says. “We’re focusing on how great it feels to be past that. There’s still a lot of love on this album, but it comes from a darker point of view. It’s about what we went through, what we did, and what we overcame.”

Growing up, Seekins split time between Alaska and Arizona. Salmon, who grew up in South Africa before spending time in Texas and New York, lived in the Verde Valley for five years, a time he said he met “some incredible people there and made some lifelong friends.”

“It’s a fantastic thing to come back, almost like coming home,” he says. “I feel like I have some real roots in the Verde Valley and in Sedona. It’s wonderful to come back and see family and friends, play all our new songs and share our latest adventures with them.”

For more information, visit www.surrenderhill.com. Or call Page Springs Cellars at (928) 639-3004 or call Vino De Sedona at (928) 554-4682.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42