Videos: “Heat Of The Day”
Bio: All I Want From You, the shining debut album from traditional folk and bluegrass duo Chatham Rabbits, tells you to listen. Produced by Jerry Brown (Carolina Chocolate Drops, Doc Watson) at the famed Rubber Room Studio in Chapel Hill and featuring fiddle from Libby Rodenbough of Mipso and mandolin from Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, All I Want From You blooms with hand-me-down acoustics. But listen closer and it’s the solid songwriting from the Rabbits, husband and wife duo Sarah and Austin McCombie, that makes All I Want From You a patchwork of stories, hard worn and holy, coming down from another time. The album tells tales of domestic abuse, suicide, baptism, and fires—all held by what Sarah describes as “something primal” and what Austin describes as “natural”—that is the sound Sarah makes when she clawhammers her 1921 banjo and how Austin joins in with his 1941 Gibson guitar. A sound they shared only with each other back on their front porch in Bynum, North Carolina well before they hit the road and signed to Robust Records (Mipso; Hank, Pattie & The Current; Caleb Caudle). Folks, the McCombies live by North Carolina’s state motto: To Be Rather Than To Seem.
— Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
Bill and the Belles
Videos: “That’ll Be Just Fine”
Bio: With their enchanting debut album, Dreamsongs, Etc., Bill and the Belles have captured the freewheeling, lighthearted approach to music that has endeared them to listeners of every generation. With a spirited sound that falls somewhere between old-time country and vaudeville, the group puts its own spin on a golden era of music, specifically the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.“We like old music and some of us are consumed by it,” says lead singer and guitarist Kris Truelsen with a knowing laugh. “But we don't have a desire to copy it. We want to sound like ourselves and tell our story.” In 2015 Bill and the Belles stepped into the role of house band upon the launch of a live radio show, Farm and Fun Time, presented by Radio Bristol. Truelsen launched that community radio station, housed within the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Tennessee. Along with sharing the stage with the nation’s top roots artists (Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, Del McCoury and Earls of Leicester), the band writes and performs the snappy, comical jingles for the show’s monthly sponsors. “Singing and playing music in front of audiences is great but when you add in the platform of live radio it’s even better,” Truelsen believes. “Especially when the audience is a community of folks who come day in and day out to support you. What a feeling, and boy, the stakes seem higher with live radio – like it’s bigger than just us playing music. It keeps us on our toes and makes us want to deliver not only good music but a good show.”
Anya Hinkle & Tellico
Videos: “Ever What They Say”
Bio: With vivid storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Asheville NC’s Tellico explores the beauty of songcraft through the lens of the Appalachian stringband tradition. Tellico features the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle, originally from the mountains of southwest Virginia, steeped in the tones of bluegrass and folk but seasoned by travels across the world. Hinkle has toured nationally and internationally for over a decade and has developed as a notable songwriter with her band Tellico and, previously, Dehlia Low. Her song “Courage for the Morning” off Tellico’s freshly released album Woven Waters (Organic Records) was #1 on the Folk DJ charts in November 2018, and her song “Ballad of Zona Abston” was the winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition and a finalist in the Hazel Dickens Song Contest and in 2019. Her song “Ever What They Say” off of Tellico’s freshman effort Relics and Roses was included in the prestigious Songwriter Showcase at the 2016 conference of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Tellico’s most recent album, produced by Irish guitar legend John Doyle (Transatlantic Sessions, Joan Baez, Tim O’Brien), was #9 on WNCW’s Top 100 Albums of 2018 and No Depression writes, “Tellico reminds us cannot abandon our own humanity, even when others try to grind it out of us.”
Shay Martin Lovette
Videos: “Wherever You Roam”
Bio: Boone, North Carolina based songwriter and musician, Shay Martin Lovette has been honing his craft on tour across the southeast and beyond in support of his latest album 'Swifter Drifter', since its release in the summer of 2018. With this impressive solo effort we get a glimpse of Lovette's life and those that have connected with him. Each song full of joy, pain, yearning, triumph, and heartbreak—a relatable swath of emotional experiences that ties his sound to the listener. His music has also started to drift overseas where the Berlin, Germany based new folk music curator and playlister, Songpickr referred to Lovette as an "undiscovered jewel" and selected 'Swift Drifter' as one of the top albums of 2018. Public radio powerhouse, WNCW also ranked 'Swift Drifter in their top 100 albums of 2018 as voted by their listeners. Lovette has performed at nationally renowned festivals like Merlefest and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in the past and recently began working on a new album at the Rubber Room Recording Studio in Chapel Hill, NC with Joseph Terrell of the band Mipso at the helm as producer.
Videos: “Fruits of my Labor”
Bio: Aaron is listed as one of the top 10 most important musicians of western North Carolina by WNC Magazine, alongside such greats as Doc Watson, Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Avett Brothers. He has also receivedcritical acclaim as a songwriter, winning Our State Magazine’s Carolina Songs competition in 2012 with “Going Home to Carolina.” Aaron’s song “Magpie” won third place bluegrass song in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in 2013. Over the years Aaron has been a finalist in numerous other songwriting competitions, including The Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest, The NC Songwriter’s Cooperative Songwriting Contest, and the Hank Williams Songwriting Contest.
Bio: Momma Molasses's music is soul stirringly resonate, and smothered in good old fashioned folk sentiment; blending Americana, Old-Time, Alt-Country, Piedmont Blues, Swing, Appalachian, and Bluegrass music into a uniquely timeless sound. Momma Molasses has toured extensively in the South East playing around 200 shows in the past year, and is continuing to gain momentum as a new voice in roots music. Currently Momma Molasses tours full-time while pursuing her passion for roots music through writing, researching, and curating a weekly radio program ,"Folk Yeah", which broadcasts live from The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA. on WBCM Radio Bristol.
Bio: Coming of age in the shadow of the Sauratown Mountains, Will Easter learned the family traditions; working hard, enjoying life, and playing music. His father and grandfather instilled in him their gifts, talents, work ethic, and love for the nature surrounding their home. These lessons combined with inspiration from the wild calm of the land and steady roar of the river impressed on Will’s heart the inspiration for his masterful lyrics and music. Will embraced their gifts, combining them with his love and appreciation for many genres, crafting his own unique sound. You can call it “Sauratown Mountain Folk.” You can call it “Grunge Grass.” Regardless, when you listen to his album, Carolina Home, you can hear his fearless vulnerability in every note and lyric. The last few years have been incredible for Will. He has shared the stage with acts synonymous with Folk and Bluegrass like the legendary Jim Avett, The Kruger Brother, Rhonda Vincent, David Childers, Time Sawyer, Brooks Forsyth, and Danger Muffin. In 2018 he earned his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, and in 2019 he recorded and released Carolina Home. From Boone and Asheville to the Triad and Charlotte, Will has become a staple of music venues and festivals throughout the Carolinas and Virginia. With a piece of every place woven into each song, his music has something for everyone, while paying homage to his roots. The road ahead for Will is exciting. He continues this sonic journey from coming of age to love lost and found, working hard while finding peace in the every day, always culminating in the winding road leading to his Carolina Home.
Bio: Since coming together at Boone, NC's Appalachian State University in 2004, the five members of Possum Jenkins have toiled and triumphed in bars, clubs, theaters and festivals. 15-years and four albums deep, the band delivers a sound as unapologetically Southern as bowl of hot grits. Brimming with elements of outlaw and '90s country, electric blues, classic funky soul and gritty rock, the band continues to turn heads throughout the Carolinas and beyond. Possum Jenkins has been fortunate to share the stage with several notables, including Jason Isbell, Billy Joe Shaver, Tift Merritt, Southern Culture On The Skids, Greg Humphries, Drivin' 'N Cryin', The North Mississippi Allstars, Yarn, Andy Friedman & The Other Failures, Naked Gods and Shooter Jennings, among others. Beginning with 2005's "To What's Her Name, Wherever The Hell She Is," Possum Jenkins has churned out a handful of solid recordings, including "On Time" (2007), "Collection Of Bad Habits" (2009), "Carolinacana" (2012). In recent years, the band's acoustic house show performances have generated considerable buzz, and the veteran outfit continues to play live shows in a variety of contexts. Possum Jenkins began hosting their own music festival--The Carolina Ramble & Reunion--in 2004. The event takes place annually just outside of Boone, NC.
Bio: Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, just 40 miles outside of Nashville, Earleine grew up immersed in musical culture. At 18 she picked up the guitar, and soon began writing her own songs. Earleine made her way to the Blue Ridge mountains in the Spring of 2016 to expand her musical horizons. Genuine and shockingly honest, her songwriting is mixed with poetic lyricism, and dreamy harmonies that seem to lift hard time memories into ephemeral realms. Earleine's style is Americana music with a swirl of folk, rock, and roots under a blanket of soul.
The Worthless Son-in-Laws
Videos: “Timaru Blues”
Bio: The Worthless Son-in-Laws actually inhabit a space between Americana and Indie-rock, where major sevenths and open chord voicings in the vein of Arcade Fire, the Shins or early R.E.M. are accompanied by Jayhawksian vocals and Son Voltish rock grit and draped over liquid bass with a solid backbeat. The melodies are king, layered with indie-pop sensibilities and a side of oddity—imagine a Southeastern Calexico, a less metaconfessional Father John Misty or maybe even a 21st-century version of Big Star.