The serene beauty of North Carolina’s mountains offer inspiration to artists of all mediums. Its lush, green woods delicately announce fall with the shedding of orange and yellow leaves that attract many to the area. It’s no surprise that a couple young bluegrass musicians formed here. The Brushy Rides, which is based in Wilkesboro, NC, will play a show at Satellite Bar and Lounge this Saturday, September 6th.
Their sound comes tinged with the simplicity of western NC. Band members Shay Lovette (guitar, banjo, harmonica, vocals), Locke Griffith (lead guitar/banjo/vocals/producer) and sometimes-member Chad Lovette (upright bass), began honing their Americana roots at a young age. Locke has been playing music since he could walk, and Shay and Chad’s father introduced them to the sounds of bluegrass during childhood.
They formed in 2010 and derived their name from their natural surroundings. “The Brushy Mountains in Wilkesboro inspired the name,” Shay describes. “This area is chock-full of apple orchards and scenic views visible from the road. People still ride around on these roads checking out the views. That’s where the ‘rides’ part of the name came from.”
They officially formed back in 2010 while Shay and Locke attended Appalachian State University. They began to jam together and write their own songs. Luckily, Locke studied recording and music business in school, so they began recording in his home.
They released their debut, self-titled album in 2013. Since they have been traversing the region, touring throughout NC and Tennessee. “It’s always fun to travel and play music for strangers,” Shay says.
“Brushy Rides” contains peaceful melodies. Their songs’ banjo chords are smoothed by Shay’s soft vocals. The harmonica layers their sound with soul. The album showcases their rural inspirations, with lyrics like:
“Do you remember, was it August/Or September, we were burning/Like the embers to meet the morning/Ashes and wind/Every dark day, every heartache/Takes you closer to that true fate.”
Taken from the song, “Wheels of the Seasons,” its sound transports listeners to both summer afternoons spent on front porches and dark, winter nights cuddled by cabin fires.
The lyrics from “Other Side of Town” channel a sense of playful youth, while still showcasing sonic maturity. Shay croons:
“But if you could find me, you’d be found/I wont feel a thing until you come around/Pick me up, lay me down/I’m waiting on the other side of town.”
His words harken small-town innocence, while also touching on the heartbreak of an ended relationship or an unrequited love.
Never one to force the writing process, Shay carries a portable recorder that he uses to capture a potential song whenever a note or a lyric strikes him. “Every song I have written recently begins with a melody, and then I gradually breakdown a mood or feel for the song and hopefully lyrics start to come,” he details. “I like to touch on subjects that hopefully have an emotional impact on the listener.”
Looking toward the future the Brushy Rides are planning for a new recording to be released this fall. Folks can get a taste of their sound by downloading their debut album for $5 on their Bandcamp site (brushyrides.bandcamp.com/album/brushy-rides).
Shay teases that the band will be trying a few of their new tracks onstage this weekend. “Whoever attends the show should be ready to dance and holler,” he proclaims.
Saturday, September 6th, 10 p.m.
Satellite Bar and Lounge
120 Greenfield St. • Free