Eclecticism and variety are highly valued in today's roots music scene, and musicians try to embody these qualities with honesty and authenticity. That comes naturally to Western North Carolina's Zoe & Cloyd, whose third album, I Am Your Neighbor, will be released September 27 from Organic Records. It is available for pre-order now.
Drawing on deep family and musical roots, the duo - Natalya Zoe Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller - have crafted a collection that moves effortlessly from authentic old-time sounds and pointed, heartfelt originals to startling, yet seamless blends of styles as diverse as bluegrass and klezmer.
Whether they're tackling the traditional gospel of "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down," the incisive commentary of their first single, Miller's biting - and strictly bluegrass - environmental anthem, "Looking Out For You And Me," or the sophisticated lope of the gypsy-flavored original instrumental, "Zisa Meydele," Zoe & Cloyd bring together respect for tradition and bold, progressive attitudes in a combination that's uniquely theirs.
"I Am Your Neighbor is an album that delves into themes of connection and responsibility to each other and the planet," says Miller. "While addressing pressing concerns such as climate change, the album also explores the myriad of complexities of interpersonal relationships. Add in a dose of klezmer and other traditional music, and you have a record that celebrates our roots while pushing the envelope of New Appalachian songwriting."
"Zoe & Cloyd's love for the musical legacies they've inherited comes through in their impeccable mastery of them," producer Jon Weisberger adds. "But they're not afraid to bring them forward, either, and their sense of when and how to blend them in new and distinctive ways is one of their greatest musical strengths."
With the help of thoughtful and spirited support from bassist Kevin Kehrberg and banjo player/guitarist Bennett Sullivan, the duo offers beautifully matched harmonies and strong, inventive musicianship in a compelling variety of material and arrangements. There's the classic wry bluegrass humor of "Only Game In Town,"the traditional lament of "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still," a frank exploration of relationship tensions in the folk-flavored "Build Me Up," an impassioned plea for the planet in "Rising Waters," the acknowledgement of common humanity in the title track, that klezmer-bluegrass instrumental mash-up, "Berditchever Sher," and much more.
With the release of their first three singles from the new collection - "Looking Out For You And Me," "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down" and "Berditchever Sher" - Zoe & Cloyd served notice that eclecticism, fidelity to tradition, themes of social engagement and more can stand side by side in one body of work. Now, with the release of I Am Your Neighbor, they reveal that, with the right talents, an even greater variety can be woven into one harmonious whole.
Pre-order I Am Your Neighbor HERE.
About Zoe & Cloyd
Zoe & Cloyd spring from deep roots in American music. Founding members of the acclaimed Americana trio, Red June, and long-time veterans of the Asheville, NC music scene, Natalya Zoe Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller released their second full-length album, Eyes Brand New, in spring of 2017. Highlighting their emotive songwriting and signature harmonies, this album showcased the breadth of their collective musical spirit, seamlessly combining original folk, country, old-time and bluegrass with sincerity and zeal. Zoe & Cloyd's debut recording, Equinox (2015), was met with high acclaim and the pair has continued to gain momentum with a 1st place win at the prestigious FreshGrass Festival Duo Contest along with performances at MerleFest, Music City Roots and more.
John Cloyd Miller's foundation in traditional bluegrass and old-time music coupled with his modern sensibility combine to make him a natural musician and performer. A twelfth generation North Carolina native and the grandson of pioneering bluegrass fiddler and NC Folk Heritage Award winner Jim Shumate, his Appalachian roots run deep. John is well known for his haunting mountain voice as well as his instrumental prowess and award-winning songwriting. He is a 1st place winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest and a recipient of an Artist Fellowship for songwriting by the North Carolina Arts Council.
Natalya Zoe Weinstein also comes from a musical family: her father is a master jazz pianist and her grandfather, originally from Russia, was a professional klezmer musician. She is an accomplished fiddler in a variety of styles as well as an inspired singer and songwriter. While trained classically in her home state of Massachusetts, she has spent many years fine-tuning her bluegrass and old-time fiddling with some of the country's top traditional musicians. Now a mentor to many young players, Natalya is a sought after instructor and is in high demand as a teacher and session musician.