Thu Apr 9 @ 7:30pm
Story Song Series is an art series highlighting local and regional songwriters. Each episode will pay special attention to craft, inspiration, and the process of songwriting. The Story Song Series is an intimate opportunity for artists to discuss the concepts that create meaning for their writing as audience members hear stories and songs intertwined. The pilot event will feature Dogwood Tales and Høly River. Positioning itself somewhere between Austin City Limits' live performance and NPR Fresh Air's interview, this unique event is a night of inspiration for musicians and listeners alike.
Dogwood Tales is an Americana duo from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Beginning in 2016, Ben Ryan and Kyle Grim set out to keep the dual vocal harmony tradition of the blue ridge mountains alive. Attempting to sing and write two voices as one harmonious melody, the duo creates an authentic sound grounded in contemporaries like David Rawlings & Gillian Welch or inspirational trendsetters, Gram Parsons & EmmyLou.
Since the band's birth, Dogwood Tales has played hundreds of shows across America, from Virginia to California– coast to coast, dancing with lyrical ghosts, chasing whitelines, highway signs, and finding rambling inspiration along the way. The release of their debut record, “Too Hard to Tell” (Crystal Pistol, WarHen Records) in 2018 made the steering wheel a constant companion, roaddogging to steadily create a dedicated fanbase. The release highlights not only the songwriting process of the duo, but sonically explores previously uncharted ground for the band, deconstructing and rebuilding their intimate sound with a rhythm section and classic country timbres. Lyrically, the record explores the duality of beauty within their surrounding geography, veiling the vices of small town living. The tradition of the ballad is still alive thanks to the heart shattering croon and pedal steel weeping. The songs carry a deep sense of longing for what is gone and an even greater sense of uncertainty for what is coming. But this isn't an idealized nostalgia; the paradox of existence finds hope in the complex narratives in each song, blue collar stories, redemption painted in tragedy. The record has been followed by the double single release of their set staples, “Riding Horses” & “There Goes the Light”, released in July of 2019.
Since playing Red Wing Roots Festival and opening for the likes of Lela McCalla, the Felice Brothers, & the Steel Wheels in 2019, Dogwood Tales is on the road again for 2020 with a new EP titled, “Closest Thing to Heaven” slated to release in the Spring.
Høly River is founded by multi-instrumentalists Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price. Their music is difficult to contain to a singular genre. Fusing together the pulse of drone pop and worldly instrumentation, this experimental music would best be described as a landscape, as a biome all its own. Høly River's musical phenomena has come to be known as Earth folk, a type of music inspired thematically by the natural environment: flora, fauna, soil, stars, and the human experience. From harmonium engulfed melodies to mouth-harp stomp grass, Høly River taps into an embodied and innate celebration of internal and external worlds, attempting to bring them closer together with each beat. On record or in-person, a listener is entranced in the soaring vocal ballads bathed in the moonlight of dance beats and folk inspired roots.
In their hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Laney and Jameson allow their art to grow both figuratively and literally alongside community. Having founded a community space called “Earth Folk Collective”, they are creating an accessible and enriching soil for art, plants, and neighbors. This project is expanding into a non-profit record label. Another element of inclusive Earth Folk ideology beyond music has manifested in their founding of Fonticello Food Forest, a public orchard and community garden intended for community gleaning and nature connection education.
The music of Høly River carries the message of humanity’s need for reconnection with itself and the earth. Mystically political and wholeheartedly grassroots, this DIY band finds themselves playing on large festival stages as well as backyard fire pits of intentional communities around the world.