When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Crimson Moon, 24 N. Park St., Dahlonega
How much: $14 advance, $16 day of show, $10 children younger than 12
If you browsed through the song list on the iPods of Dehlia Low bandmembers, you'd see a range of tastes, starting with bluegrass from the 1940s and '50s, up to the latest Neko Case album.
That's just one way the five-piece band, based in Asheville, N.C., keeps its high-energy bluegrass current. The band brings its traditional picking, vocal harmonies and foot-tapping melodies to The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega on Friday.
Although the songs harken to an earlier time, the music itself is anything but simple. Rather, it combines dobro, pedal steel, mandolin and fiddle in a complex, melody-driven way. Even if you're not a fan of Appalachian-style music, you can't help but want to get up and dance when Dehlia Low starts playing.
We caught up with guitarist and vocalist Stacy Claude before the band's gig to talk about how the band started and what we can expect on Friday.
Question: You formed in Asheville, N.C., about a year and a half ago. What is the scene like there, and how did it affect the band's start?
Answer: We all met through the bluegrass jam scene. There's a Thursday night jam in town and every one of us met there. We had all sort of played in various bands before Dehlia Low, and I heard Anya (Hinkle) sing one night at the jam, and I was pretty blown away by her voice. And then I had to convince her to get together with me and do some singing. We started doing some duo gigs and then decided it would be more fun to get some more people involved.
Q: Is everyone in the band coming from a specifically Appalachian background, musically?
A: It's definitely all part of everyone's roots. All of us are from somewhere in the South, especially Anya and Aaron (Ballance, who plays dobro).
(Other band members are Bryan Clendenin on mandolin and vocals and Greg Stiglets on upright bass.)
Q: What kind of collaborations do you do, or are there just a few members who come up with most of the band's songs?
A: It's pretty interesting. All five of us write. ... It usually starts on e-mail, actually - someone will put something up for one of all of us. And when it's a yes, that person brings what they have to practice. All the vocal stuff is pretty much done and there might be an outline of an arrangement, and then the rest is a collaboration.
It's so funny because we've been in the van before, and one of us will have one of those really rough things on an iPod, and it's funny to put those in sometimes and hear the embryo of a song.
Q: How do you take a style of music that is, well, old, and keep it contemporary?
A: I think because all of us listen to old music, we listen to bluegrass from the '40s and '50s, and we also listen to the brand-new Neko Case and the new Arcade Fire, so I think we're really drawn to the acoustic and tradition, and we also feel really strongly about original music.
There's a million bluegrass bands that play hours of nonoriginal songs. And while that has its place, that's just not what we're interested in doing. It's kind of staying in the instrumentation and vocal harmonies ... and keeping it relevant
Q: What can we expect from your show on Friday?
A: This will be our second time at The Crimson Moon, and we loved the venue and the room. And we're really looking forward to coming back.
Our live show is 85 to 90 percent original music and the rest is, we feel, well-chosen cover songs. There's a focus on instrument breaks; it's a little different from the CD, all five of us will sing. Because we have two hours to showcase it, everybody gets their chance.