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Singer Who Sings About Whiskey and Blood Sweeter Than Anyone You’ll Ever Hear

Voted “Best New Artist” at the Austin Music Awards last year, Caroline Herring sings of deep Southern living with the complicated lyrical themes of a songbird perched on the shoulder of William Faulkner. Raised in Canton, Mississippi, Herring began making music while in graduate school for Southern studies. Her background in southern folklore is evident in her lyrics, which paint rich images of Delta highways, piping hot biscuits, fields of white “Mississippi snow” cotton, and stained-glass baby Jesuses. During college, she joined the regionally acclaimed bluegrass band Sincere Ramblers, the members of which founded a popular radio show that hosted artists including Gillian Welch and Peter Rowan. Herring then moved to Austin, Texas, to tap into the city’s thriving music scene and release her debut album, Twilight; she soon earned radio play and a substantial following with her weekly appearances at premier venues including Stubb’s BBQ and Threadgills (best known for being one of the first places where Janis Joplin got trashed and belted out soulful tunes).

Coming off the heels of her 2001 debut, Herring is about to release her second album and continues to be signed on with Blue Corn Music, an independent music label known for producing Americana, bluegrass, roots, and folk music. Much to the dismay of her growing fan base in Austin, Herring recently relocated to Washington, D.C. Luckily, Herring is fast becoming a regular addition to local and celebrated folk festivals including the Newport Folk Festival, South by Southwest, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The real reason to seek out Caroline Herring is to give your ears that same pleasure your mouth gets with a cool, refreshing glass of icy lemonade on a sticky summer evening. At times haunted, and at other times tinged with childlike bewilderment, Herring’s voice is blessed with the depth and purity that many old-time folk heroes would trade in their top guitars for. And her lyrics are smart—far smarter than one would expect from someone so young—as she weaves through tales of ghosts of slavery’s past, nostalgic final family suppers, and finding home on a moonlit Highway 61. Backed by guitars, mandolins, and resonant vocal harmonies, Herring’s music will carry you back to a time and place that you wish you lived in, where a gentle breeze tempers the dusty cotton fields and rickety porch swings as the sun sinks along a still, Mississippi horizon.

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