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.”
Videos: “West of the Cumberlands”
Bio: Vivid original storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Asheville NC’s Tellico explores the beauty of songcraft through the lens of the Appalachian stringband tradition. Their distinctive sound combines some of the most authentic voices, compelling songs and talented instrumentalists in North Carolina and beyond. Tellico features the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle) and Stig Stiglets (bass, harmonica), with Aaron Ballance on dobro and Jed Willis on mandolin and clawhammer banjo.
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.
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.
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.