Americana Archive

Sarah Louise’s Atmospheric Americana

Describing herself as a musical omnivore, Sarah Louise makes music that draws inspiration from seemingly unrelated styles. The prolific Asheville musician has released five albums since her 2015 debut; three of those have come out just since early 2019. Her latest, Earth and its Contents finds her applying her talents to enhance the work of

Just Like Home: John Doyle

Irish musician bridges the gap between Ireland and Appalachia He’s an acclaimed and globetrotting figure in Irish music, guitarist, singer, folklorist and songwriter. But when he’s off the road, John Doyle makes his home in Western North Carolina. Nominated for a 2010 Grammy (Best Traditional World Album), Doyle is an astoundingly busy and in demand

Heart, Head, Hands and Feet: The Paper Crowns

It’s the age-old chicken-or-egg question. Which came first: the marriage of Spiro and Nicole Nicolopoulos, or their musical collaboration, the Paper Crowns? “Technically,” Nicole responds with a laugh, “the musical collaboration, then marriage.” Spiro clarifies things: “We had a year-and-a-half relationship before any musical collaborations.” Starting as friends, building a relationship, launching a duo and

Album Review: The Harmed Brothers — Across the Waves

Though it’s billed as rock/Americana, The Harmed Brothers’ fifth album Across the Waves is better described as heartland rock. There’s twang in the music to be sure, but the earnest and soulful presentation of these songs is truer to the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. “Skyline Over” benefits from a tight, concise and memorable melody, and

Brushfire Stankgrass: Making Up for Lost Time

“We’re not a bluegrass band,” insists Will Saylor, co-leader with brother Ben in Brushfire Stankgrass. Instead, the popular Asheville quartet uses bluegrass as the launching point for its musical excursions, venturing well into folk, jam and rock forms in the process. And while the group makes no claims to capture the essence of Asheville in

30 Days Out, June 2020 #1: TAUK, Ben Folds, Vancouver Electronic Ensemble, John Prine Tribute

In recent weeks I’ve conducted interviews with a number of professions whose businesses involve servicing the music community in various ways. A consensus seems to be forming – and this isn’t likely to come as any surprise to you, I suspect – that widespread live concerts aren’t likely to return until 2021. Festivals and small

Busker Abby ‘The Spoon Lady’ Roach Brings Out the Fine Silverware

Train-hopping hobos are part of America’s cultural fabric. From the late 19th century through the 1940s, hundreds of thousands of itinerant people in America made their lives on the fringe of society, traveling the rails, picking up work wherever they could. The hobo subculture developed its own traditions in music and folklore. And while today

Zoe & Cloyd: Looking Out for the Future of Appalachian Music

This story appeared previously (in 2019) in Bold Life Magazine. The duo has since released another album. Zoe & Cloyd are wife-and-husband musical team Natalya Zoe Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller. Together they make what they call “new Appalachian music,” a subtly updated take on traditional mountain music. After leaving popular trio Red June –

30 Days Out, April 2020 #2: Taylor Martin, Three Cool Cats, Kathryn O’Shea, Posey Royale

As we all begin to settle into what one might call the new normal, performing musicians are increasingly turning to livestreaming. I suspect their reasons are twofold: (1) to stay in touch with fans (and potential fans) and (2) to stave off boredom and exercise their creativity. I’m here to do my small bit toward

Che Apalache: Appalachia Meets Argentina

Joe Troop has a finely attuned ear. Seven years ago, the Winston-Salem native and former member of bluegrass group Town Mountain discovered the connections between Appalachian folk music and the musical traditions of South America. Enlisting the help of musicians from Argentina and Mexico, Troop embarked upon an exploration of those connections with a new