Three new record releases from Western North Carolina artists explore different musical styles, but they all share a focus on themes of love and optimism.
Tellico – Woven Waters
For its second album, Asheville folk/bluegrass band Tellico – formed by former members of Dehlia Low – weighs in on world events. The album’s centerpiece is “Courage for the Morning,” a song that avoids earnest politicizing in favor of a positive message that can be embraced by anyone, regardless of political affiliation. The music and musicianship are reliably top-notch as well. Irish music giant (and Asheville transplant) John Doyle produced and collaborates on the record. (Read my interview with Tellico’s Anya Hinkle here.)
Dave Desmelik – with an Army of Love (Childhood Battles)
On this unusual and deeply moving record, Desmelik does something not at all uncommon for singer-songwriters: he lays his heart bare. But the subject matter – his young son’s inoperable brain tumor – is an especially weighty topic. Desmelik strikes a hopeful tone, aided by talented friends from the region’s music scene. This collection succeeds on a musical level, too. Proceeds benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Make-A-Wish Central & Western NC, and Angel Flight Soars. (Read my review of Desmelik’s 2017 release here.)
Jane Kramer – Valley of the Bones
Kramer’s third full-length finds the singer-songwriter joined by members of Free Planet Radio plus musicians on violin and cello. There’s a breezy, feel to Kramer’s original story songs like “Waffle House Song” and “Two Broke Kids.” The subtle instrumentation of the album closer, “Wedding Vows” is a highlight on this impeccably-crated album.
An edited verison of this article appeared previously in WNC Magazine.