Alyssa and Doug Graham's New York City apartment is about a thousand miles from the Mississippi River.
But when the married musical duo wrote a song called "Riverman's Daughter," it was the impetus for them to get inspiration from one end of the river to the other.
"It sort of propelled us down the Mississippi," Alyssa Graham said from the couple's home. "We decided we wanted to be Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and the best way to do that was to get out on the river and start meeting the people and listening to the different sounds and start exploring the territory."
The result is an album also called "Riverman's Daughter," which was released earlier this month. The couple returns to the Quad-Cities on Wednesday as the guest headliners for an open-mic night at the Redstone Room in the River Music Experience, downtown Davenport.
"We fell in love with that area. Rock Island and Davenport are like a second home. We love it there," she said. "The people are cool and mellow, and there are cool car shops and coffee shops and good music. We love the RME."
During the summer and fall of 2012, they had some interesting encounters, many of which were song-worthy.
"We played in small little clubs, some frightening, some awesome," Alyssa said. "Met some really interesting characters along the river. We did this for several months, and then we ended up on this houseboat in the Louisiana swamp for the duration. We wrote the songs from the top to the bottom, living on the houseboat."
The couple, who have been friends and making music together since they were 9 and 7 years old, respectively, (some 24 years ago) in New York, said they relished their months on the Mississippi.
"People are friendly to us. We like telling our stories to people, and usually they're receptive," Alyssa said. "So that makes us feel right at home."
She had already made a name for herself as a jazz singer, earning acclaim from All About Jazz magazine, the New York Times and Amazon.com.
And although Doug has been a member of her jazz groups through the years, this is the first time The Grahams have been billed as such.
"Riverman's Daughter," they said, goes back to the time when they first played music together.
"This is how we grew up. Southern rock and Americana and really old-time folky stuff. The '60s and Neil Young and all that stuff," she said. "It's back to the way we were making music as kids, harmonizing with two acoustic guitars, sitting around and just telling stories to each other."
Some of the songs on the album are centered in certain places along the river, they said. Others are mentioned in the lyrics.
A song inspired by Davenport is called "Lay Down Delilah." It's a bonus track on their album on iTunes. The couple recorded a video for the song while standing on the Davenport skybridge this past fall. (The video accompanies this story at QCTimes.com/entertainment.)
"One song in particular that we wrote that didn't make it was about the Minneapolis area and the northern part," Doug said. "That'll be on the next album."
"We're not done with this journey yet," Alyssa added.