Singer-songwriter Maia Kamil is at home in the world. Maia has spent years refining a musical style that weaves eclectic influences, vocal dexterity, and complex lyrics to create tiny worlds in which the listener can get lost. Growing up, Maia was always asked to sing. At 3 years old, she lined up her parents’ friends and directed them like a choir. That vision lent itself to songwriting as she grew and, at 7, she wrote her first song for her cousin’s memorial service. Three years later, her brother was adopted from Ethiopia, and she found herself writing another song, inspired by her brother’s arrival. Her grandmother gifted her with a guitar and she taught herself to play around campfires, echoing the sounds she heard around her. In 2020, Maia relocated to North Carolina where she worked with guitarist and producer Charlie Hunter, who helped hone her craft. She became known as the local Norah Jones for her warm vocals, spiritual center, and ease with stepping into a variety of genres from Hip Hop to Neo-soul and folk. Much like her writing, Maia’s performances are an invitation to form community and create deep human connection. Her simple melodies act as launch pads for her graceful vocal runs, creating a new sound with a global soul. Her music offers transport to worlds away—the woods she’s walked in, the Dead Sea she’s floated in, the words of her ancestors, the lullabies she sang to her three younger siblings—while simultaneously bringing the listener back to a campfire with friends, singing melodies they feel they’ve always known.
Learn more at https://www.instagram.com/maiakmusic
Birthplace: Elkin, NC
Instruments Played: Guitar/Vocals/Harmonica
Musical / Personal Influences: Tom Petty, Hiss Golden Messenger, Seth & Scott Avett, Jackson Browne, JJ Cale, Gram Parsons, Jim Croce, and so many more.
Favorite Concert Attended: Seeing City & Colour in Raleigh at the Lincoln Theater the summer of 2012. Behind songwriting, I'm really big on instrumentation and what artist choose to use to bring out the best in their songs. They used my favorite instruments and melted the place at all the right times.
Favorite Time Sawyer Moment: 2012 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. It showed me that this is something I can do for a living.
What drives You To Play Music: Music gives you the ability to connect with everybody in some shape or form. It is such an emotionally powerful tool. Its so honest and true. I think we're all going through a lot of the same issues in our own ways, and writing songs lets me say what I need to say while being able to connect with people who may be feeling the same way I am.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/SammyTayloe
The Blue Ridge Girls, like their name, invoke a picturesque simplicity with their take on traditional mountain music. The trio features Martha Spencer, Jamie Collins and Brett Morris. They feature a variety of old time, bluegrass and country songs, flatfooting to fiddle and banjo tunes, with original songwriting and a unique take on other familiar crowd-pleasers. All three women grew up in musical families and are working to preserve and promote the Blue Ridge’s rich musical heritage.
Jamie Collins is a singer-songwriter, bassist and guitarist from Bristol, TN. Growing up with her Dad, Tony, who was one of the area’s best flat pickers, Jamie has been surrounded by talented musicians since birth. She has played with her family and several ensembles through the years. Jamie has been an elementary music teacher for several years and shares her love of music by also teaching at Junior Appalachian Muscians, Inc. (JAM). Jamie released her first solo album in 2022, and tours across the US.
Brett Morris has been playing and dancing to traditional Appalachian music with her family since childhood. She is an accomplished claw hammer banjo player, bassist, flatfoot dancer and exceptional songwriter. Brett has a creative and rhythmic musical style based around old time, bluegrass and country music traditions. She makes her home in Galax, Virginia, where she is also the mother of two. She is the Director of Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM), a freelance musician and dance teacher. She wrote the trio’s debut single “Wildflowers”
Martha Spencer is a singer-songwriter, mountain musician and dancer from the Blue Ridge Mountans of Virginia. She grew up in the musical Spencer family and learned to play several instruments(guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, mandolin) and flatfoot/clog at a very young age. she performs and records with various groups, and has been involved with several roots music projects. Martha has played shows, festivals and led workshops across the US, Australia, UK and Europe. She just released a solo album and has been included in articles in Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Wide Open Country, Americana Hiways, PopMatters, and more.
Learn more at https://theblueridgegirls.com