If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the new bluegrass and string band scene your first impression on hearing Tellico may well be the thought that you’ve heard it before – three of the four band members are alumni of Dehlia Low.
Tellico springs from the bustling roots music scene in Ashville NC. Their tunes are firmly rooted in bluegrass and Americana storytelling, backed up by strong yet sweet musicianship and vocals that will take you home to the Appalachian mountains.
The band is Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle, vocals), Stig Stiglets (bass, harmonica, vocals), Jeb Willis (mandolin, clawhammer banjo), and Aaron Balance (Dobro, pedal, and lap steel). Jon Stickley makes enough guest appearances on drums and guitar that by any means he can be considered an additional band member on this album.
While this album owes much to bluegrass it could also be very much described as Appalachian string band or mountain roots music. Anya’s vocals aren’t “high-lonesome,” I’d call them comfortable back-porch Appalachian country style. Since Anya provides the majority of the album’s lead vocals it comes as a bit of a surprise when a song pops up with Stig leading with his raspy down-home vocals, vocals which are really a perfect compliment to Anya’s. Add in the superb traditional musicianship, a light touch of background drumming for some accent, and some folky harmonica riffs, and it moves things nicely towards the roots music camp.
If you want a quick taste of Tellico check out “Foresaken Winds” for Anya’s vocals, and “Hawkey Pierce and Honeycutt Blues” for Stig’s vocals (and humor!), or pick any song at random for a taste of their fine playing – you really can’t go wrong!