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.”
Videos: “Fruits of my Labor”
Bio: Creating music isn’t a means to an end, it is an end with a meaning for Aaron Burdett. Writing and creating songs is rooted somewhere deep in his psyche; it’s something that can’t be denied and must be shared. His lyrics are soul-touching, intelligent, witty, and poetic all at once, while his music style is a seamless blend of Americana, country, blues, bluegrass, and folk-rock that cohesively creates a story.
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 received critical 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.
Aaron’s writing is as prolific and genuine as the man. He grew up the oldest of three boys in the fairly isolated small town in Saluda, NC, where the Blue Ridge meets the Smoky Mountains. When Aaron was about 10 years old he was introduced to the music of Cat Stevens, the first of many musical influences that include the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Norman Blake, and David Grier.
Videos: “Great Expectations”
Individually, the members of Lovers Leap have each made an impact on the evolving Americana music scene. Means began singing and playing upright bass as a teenager in a family band on the high plains of Wyoming. These talents led her to Nashville where she landed a GRAMMY nomination with distaff bluegrass powerhouse Della Mae. Timmons, as a founding member of Charleston, SC’s brass-forward jam band Sol Driven Train, has cultivated a grass roots following through the band’s two-decade-long commitment to touring, sonic playfulness, danceable rhythms, and musical independence. Timmons and Means teamed up in 2017 as husband and wife duo, Sally & George, and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Tip My Heart. Lucey, a founding member of The Biscuit Burners, helped propel the band to international attention with her powerful singing, bass playing, and songwriting. She also played with Uncle Earl alongside John Paul Jones for their album release tour. Cardine has been hailed as a slide guitar pioneer and innovator, taking the Dobro with him into unchartered genres, teaching around the world and performing from the jungles of India to New York’s Carnegie Hall in addition to being a producer and composer. As a founding member of The Biscuit Burners and current member of Acoustic Syndicate and Rapidgrass, he continues to show off his chameleonesque voice on all things slide. He has collaborated with greats such as Debashish Bhattacharya and Jerry Douglas. Collectively the bandmates have presented their sound from the Kennedy Center to Bonnaroo, Merlefest to Telluride, and across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.
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.
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.
Videos: “Soul Mountain Country Blues”
Bio: Born and raised in a small Appalachian town of North Carolina, singer-songwriter Rob Nance brings a much needed authentic approach to the landscape of folk, Americana, and alt country. A storyteller, poet, and versatile musician, Nance’s music draws on his experiences, hard and easy. Steeped in southern tradition, Nance continually finds a way to experiment with sound and imagery that exists outside the traditional boundaries of the genre. As comfortable leading a band as he is alone with a microphone on stage, Rob Nance delivers songs with a lyrical punch that are equally supported with musical chops. Rob Nance currently lives and plays music from Chapel Hill/Durham, North Carolina.
Rob was a Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Finalist, and also won second place in the 2018 Troubadour Songwriting Competition at Telluride.
“It's rare to find an artist so capable of mining classic appeal to create a sound that's faithful yet so assured."
Bio: 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: 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.
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.