Nora Jane Struthers, says NPR, “has written some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists.” Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, Struthers grew up attending festivals and fiddlers’ conventions with her banjo-playing father. “It was pretty much a group of musicians camping in a muddy field for a week, playing tunes and singing songs,” she recalls. “But these traditional music communities greatly influenced me.” After graduating from NYU with an education degree, she taught high school English. But then a visit to another bluegrass festival changed everything. Watching one of her heroes, Tim O’Brien, she stood in front of the stage, glanced back at the crowd and the mountains and thought, “This is what I want to do.” She moved to Nashville, found herself woodshedding as a writer, while touring with groups like Bearfoot and the Bootleggers. Soon she was working with bluegrass stars like O’Brien, Stuart Duncan and Bryan Sutton, and releasing critically-acclaimed albums.
Korby Lenker went from being a mortician’s son in rural Idaho to being one of the most innovative voices in Nashville’s current music scene, a tale only slightly less fascinating than his music: Songs that are simple and catchy, yet sophisticated and wry. In fact, Lenker is a sneaky-good songwriter. And singer. And multi-instrumentalist. He’s opened for acts ranging from Willie Nelson to Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Keith Urban and Susan Tedeschi. He had a successful run with one of the hottest young West Coast bluegrass bands of the aughts, The Barbed Wire Cutters, and won in the Merlefest folk songwriting contest as well as the Kerrville Folk Festival’s elite New Folk songwriting competition. According to KEXP, Korby Lenker “offers up some edgy roots-rock and rhythmic pop. His songs also continue to get sharper, and he puts them across with hushed, intimate vocals.” His latest album, released July 14, is A Thousand Springs.
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