Zoe and Cloyd: Bringing Both Sides of the Appalachians Together
Who are Zoe and Cloyd? They’re a husband and wife duo who, in their own words, hail from the opposite ends of the Appalachian Mountains. Natalya Zoe Weinstein is a renowned fiddler and vocalist; John Cloyd Miller an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. If you’re thinking “all Appalachian music sounds alike” – think again. “People think of Appalachian music as one thing,” Miller said. “But there’s really quite a lot of diversity within that.” From traditional bluegrass to gentle ballads to classic Yiddish melodies (yep, Yiddish, as in, if Fiddler on the Roof met, say, any number of great bluegrass fiddle and guitar players,) their music keeps you on your gently tapping toes. As one Event producer put it, “Zoe and Cloyd are soulful and captivating offering everything from rousing self-penned songs and tunes to mournful and sorrowful traditional ballads. They connect immediately with the audience and never fail to please be it on an intimate stage or entertaining a festival crowd of thousands.” Another reviewer explains that “The group’s sound is always evolving as well, and they’ve recently started to incorporate some klezmer (Jewish eastern European music) — which is just folk music from another part of world when you get right down to it — into their bluegrass mix.” Reviewer Alice Gerard puts the finishing touches to this colorful description by saying “I’m a sucker for great duo harmony singing, well-written originals, choice material, and fine playing—all of these are here with Zoe & Cloyd. I absolutely love them!”
So, that’s who, and what, Zoe and Cloyd are. But why choose them for Beartrap? Well, Eyes Brand New named one of the “Outstanding Roots Music Releases of 2017″ by No Depression Magazine. Lisa Snedeker with the Huffington Post declared them “Favorite Musical Picks of 2017”. But more importantly, these folks love what they do, and love sharing with people like us who really appreciate good music. In a Facebook post from May 1st, Zoe and Cloyd wrote “Excited and honored to be an official showcase band at the International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass in Raleigh this September!!” And, with a declaration a little closer to (our) home, John Cloyd Miller said “We performed there (Yes, at Beartrap!) in 2012 with our previous band, Red June and we'd love to share this new project with you guys.”
Right now, I’m watching a 2016 youtube video of Zoe and Cloyd, and bouncing on Zoe’s lap is their unbelievably adorable baby daughter. She can’t help but respond to the music, and neither can I. My head’s bobbing, I’m grinning – and although I’m about a continent and a half away from being adorable myself, I’m pretty sure that if I’m this into a youtube performance video, we’re all really gonna be digging them live.
I’ll leave you with this little nugget from their song “Running on Empty”…
“I’m runnin’ on empty/no gas in the tank,/keep trying t’ remember/ but I’m drawin’ a blank… I’m so tired/ but I can’t sleep/ got bills to pay, ‘n mouths to feed, promises I can’t keep.”
We’ve all been there, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t sung about it nearly this cheerfully. Which is yet another reason we’re looking forward to listening – and watching – them do their thing on the mountain.