Florence Dore is a Nashville-born, North Carolina-based independent musical artist whose June release Highways and Rocketships won the Best Americana album of 2022 at Lonesome Highway Magazine. The road from her first LP Perfect City (Slewfoot 2001) to Highways and Rocketships has been anything but straight—and that’s not even counting the pandemic delays. She has spent a lot of that time between then and now riding around on Steve Earle’s tour bus, catching up with her Dukes-drumming husband Will Rigby.
She also wrote a book, put on a conference at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and took a seat on the board at the Bob Dylan Institute. Somewhere along the way she and Will had a kid too. Back in 1994, the Posies covered her song “Christmas” on a 1994 Geffen compilation, Just Say Noel, while Florence was making her way in the music scenes of Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Cleveland. Highways an Rocketships was produced and recorded by none-other than Don Dixon and Mitch Easter (REM, etc.) at Fidelitorium. Florence and her ace touring band—comprised of the dB’s rhythm section, husband Will and Gene Holder, as well as Mark Spencer (Son Volt)—are out and about now.
Learn more at https://www.florencedoremusic.com
Traphill, North Carolina, native Presley Barker plays country/blues music and is a singer/songwriter.
“I enjoyed music from a really young age,” Presley recalls. “My mom liked clogging, so we were always listening to folk music.”
Presley was particularly fond of Doc Watson, and started playing guitar at seven years old, It did not take him long to start getting the hang of the instrument and catching the attention of the local music community. Soon, Presley started taking lessons with Steve Lewis, a past winner of the prestigious Winfield National Guitar Championship. Presley also made frequent trips to Grayson County, Virginia, to meet with guitar builder and player Wayne Henderson.
“Every time I visit Wayne, he teaches me a new tune on the guitar,” Presley says.
Presley also traveled around the region to fiddlers conventions. He started entering guitar competitions and bringing home lots of blue ribbons. In 2015, at age 10, Presley won the Old Fiddler’s Convention Adult guitar competition in Galax, Virginia and won a second time in 2017. In 2017, Presley also won the prestigious Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Championship. While Presley says that the Galax blue ribbon was one of his most prized awards, the competitions are not as important as playing music with friends.
Presley sings and plays guitar at his local church, and gives performances at concert venues and festivals around the region.
He has appeared on the NBC Today Show with Al Roker. He has played the National Folk Festival, Richmond Folk Festival, Lowell Folk Festival, Montana Folk Festival, Masters of Steel String Guitar Event in Washington, D.C., PBS Song of the Mountains Show, Doc Watson Day Celebration in Boone, NC, David Holt’s State of Music, Blue Ridge Music Center, Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, Houstonfest, Carolina In The Fall, and Merlefest. Presley also appeared on NBC’s “Little Big Shots” with Steve Harvey and “Wonderama” TV show in New York City. Most recently, Presley was invited by Country Music Hall of Fame and Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Ricky Skaggs to play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Presley released his first solo album entitled “JUST-TEN” in the fall of 2015 and is now working with Dolly Parton’s producer and Grammy Nominated Kent Wells Productions in Nashville TN to release some new music coming soon.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/thepresleybarker
One of the foremost contemporary practitioners of Sacred Steel, a blues-gospel tradition dating back to the Pentecostal-Holiness churches of the 1930s, DaShawn Hickman grew up hearing the pedal steel in the tiny House of God church his family attended in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and listening to his mother play lap steel in their home. Hickman picked up the instrument at the age of 5. In his teens, he formed a group with three of his cousins that found fame as The Allen Boys, North Carolina’s only touring Sacred Steel band.
Now, Hickman puts his own spin on the Sacred Steel tradition with Drums, Roots & Steel, his debut album on Little Village, produced by Charlie Hunter (who also plays bass on the recordings), and featuring the soulful vocals of Hickman’s wife Wendy on several tracks. “We just want to spread love and joy to people,” says Hickman. “That’s our mission, me and my wife both. We love what we do, and we just want to take it out and let other people experience it, and be heard in the right manner.”
Learn more at https://bit.ly/DaShawn-Wendy-Hickman