Nora Jane Struther
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Nora Jane Struthers is a rootsy artist with a bent toward mixing traditional country and contemporary rock stylings into her passionate Americana sound. Born in Virginia in 1983, Struthers grew up in New Jersey where she first became interested in music by attending folk festivals with her father, a bluegrass musician. Diagnosed with dyslexia in her youth, Struthers was inspired to earn her teaching certificate from New York University, after which she spent several years teaching high school in Brooklyn. However, she never let go of her love of music and in 2008 relocated to Nashville to pursue songwriting and performing full-time. She quickly formed her first group, the Bootleggers, and in 2010 won the band contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That same year, she released her self-titled debut album and joined the group Bearfoot, with whom she recorded the album American Story in 2011. By 2012, Struthers had gathered a new ensemble of musicians she dubbed the Party Line. She also launched a Kickstarter campaign, ultimately raising enough money to record her sophomore solo album, 2013's Carnival. Buoyed by fan support, Struthers and the Party Line toured the U.S. for the next few years, working up new material on the road, and in 2015, she delivered her third full-length album, Wake.
Growing up in Idaho, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist Korby Lenker started taking piano lessons in 1984 at the age of eight, and he really never looked back, stating that he never had a backup plan, that "it was always gonna be music." He had a band in high school, Clockwork Orange, which did new wave and rock covers, and while attending Western Washington University in Bellingham, he formed a regionally successful alt-bluegrass band called the Barbed Wire Cutters in the late 1990s. When the Cutters broke up following a pair of well-received albums -- 2002's self-titled Barbed Wire Cutters and 2003's Full Moon to Rise -- he moved to Seattle to focus on a solo career. Blessed with considerable acoustic guitar skills in multiple styles, and a versatile, flexible singing voice, Lenker worked hard on his songwriting, developing an accessible, non-impressionistic style that hid subtle sophistications, a bit like Paul Simon, say, or a poppier Randy Newman, combining an ease of delivery with strong song character and substance. He moved to Nashville in 2007. Lenker has released several solo albums, starting with First Takes in 2001 and including Ghost of Whiteboy in 2002 and Bellingham in 2003. He began moving in a more rock- and pop-oriented, but still largely acoustic-based, direction with 2006's impressive King of Hearts. The self-titled Korby Lenker appeared in 2014.