[IVPR] June 6, 2023 - Asheville, NC - “Apparently, my neighborhood is cursed,” says Graham Sharp, Steep Canyon Rangers’ banjoist and co-writer of their brand new single, “Hominy Valley.” A pulsating romp through the hills and valleys of which the Rangers sing, “Hominy Valley” dives into the backstory of Sharp’s cursed neighborhood: the story of General Rutherford’s campaign against the Cherokee during the Revolutionary war. “The story is that the army got wind they were being followed by two Cherokee scouts and poisoned a creek that one of them drank from,” recalls Sharp. “His friend buried him sitting upright on the hill, under what is now a huge old oak tree, looking over the valley to keep watch.”
Sharp had been trying to write “Hominy Valley” for years and never got it across the finish line until one random night, sitting with his song idea after dinner. “I sat down and the whole thing was there,” he remembers. “The story never felt right until it connected with the current construction of apartments going on at the very spot right now.” Along with his co-writers and bandmates, Aaron Burdett and Barrett Smith, Sharp tied together the centuries-spanning effect of outside influencers taking North Carolina’s land for their own and the band shaped the song in only the way the Steep Canyon Rangers could; a moving story about the layers of human history in Sharp’s West Asheville neighborhood. “It’s not just a shared history, but a living history. Nothing is stamped and finished,” he says.
“Hominy Valley” is the opening track and first single from Steep Canyon Rangers’ upcoming album, Morning Shift—due out September 8th. Produced by the distinguished Darrell Scott and engineered by the legendary Dave Sinko, Morning Shift found the Rangers recording their 14th studio album in Bat Cave, North Carolina, at the Inn Bat Cave, a historical refuge settled near a long-forgotten crossroads of Southern Appalachia. This was the perfect space to feel confident in expanding upon that Carolina sound, the perfect runway to let their well-oiled machine do what it does best- craft stories from the ground up, as a unit. “It was like going to recording camp,” said Scott, “We ate together, we stayed at the Inn together the whole time, and we recorded. Going about it that way made for a very organic record. We had a great engineer with Dave Sinko, who could in essence create a studio space in a rustic, historic home.”
Morning Shift also marks the band’s first album with new band member Burdett on guitar and vocals, bringing a soul-stirring element to the Rangers’ mastery of mountain music. Burdett is an award-winning singer-songwriter and a student of folk tradition providing a fresh, emotional context to the Rangers’ songbook.
Today, Folk Alley premiered the track writing, "'Hominy Valley' perfectly kicks off the anticipation of another excellent new album from the Steep Canyon Rangers." Fans can listen to “Hominy Valley” now and pre-order or pre-save Morning Shift ahead of its September 8th release right here. Steep Canyon Rangers are on tour throughout the summer with a string of dates with longtime collaborators Steve Martin & Martin Short beginning in September