A Nashville-based, all-female string band, has a completely original style – sensitive yet assertive, intense yet playful, steeped in tradition yet undeniably current. Versatile instrumentalists and vocalists, they draw from a bottomless well of roots influences to create vibrant original music that conveys an expansive musical vision. With timeless lyrical truth-telling and an unmistakably contemporary sensibility, they stand alongside such roots-conscious acts as the Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, the Lumineers, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Della Mae were IBMA’s Emerging Artists of the Year in 2013, GRAMMY Nominees in 2014 for their debut album on Rounder Records, named among Rolling Stone’s “10 bands to watch for in 2015,” and have since traveled with the US State Department to over 18 countries spreading peace and understanding through music.
Their mission as a band is to showcase top female musicians and to improve opportunities for women and girls through advocacy, mentorship, programming, and performance.
Dori Freeman first broke out in 2016, with a stunning debut produced by Teddy Thompson and a sparkling voice that seemed to come from out of nowhere. Her songs were brittle, cracked, infused with heartbreak and seeming to speak for women everywhere, channeling Appalachian women in a way that harkened back to Loretta Lynn. NPR spoke of her “bruised sort of romanticism” and Noisey referenced her “heart-wrenching moments.” Freeman had written her first album on the heels of a failed relationship, a suddenly-single mother in a small town. There was a bitter taste in her songwriting that reflected the fiercely independent streak Appalachian women are known for and her own lack of patience for bullshit. Three years later, she’s now happily married (to drummer Nick Falk), and her new album, Every Single Star, to be released September 27, 2019 on Blue Hens Music (her second album on her own label after 2017’s Letters Never Read), features a very different perspective. She’s writing songs now for her new love, and for her daughter, as beholden as ever to the traditions that first inspired her as a young girl growing up in Galax, Virginia, but full of the same incisive eye for the human condition that’s always been her hallmark.
“The purity of Dori Freeman’s voice and the directness of her songwriting reflect not only her Appalachian hometown — Galax, Va. — but also a determined classicism, a rejection of the ways modern country punches itself up for radio and arenas.” – Jon Pareles, The New York Times
The Dempsey Sisters, from Smithfield, VA, bring a youthful twist to music both old & new. Their three-part sibling harmony along with their passion for the artistry of music delivers a unique blend.
“Most musicians learn from books, but sometimes they’re mechanical and the music escapes their soul,” he said. “They’ve listened and absorbed the music, so when it comes out of their mouths it’s like a new genre of the song.
-Virginia Mountain Boys and state bluegrass/traditional music legend Bill Jenkins, who is in the Virginia Music Hall of Fame.