Wildwood Flyers Perform July 13 at Cup of Flow
BY KATHERINE SMITH
Special to The Pilot
The Wildwood Flyers' name is a "beat-you-to-it" Southern drawl on "Wildwood Flowers," like Mother Maybelle's pronunciation of it in the Carter Family's song "Wildwood Flower."
While the Asheville-based band's music does not wax with the same mourning as the song, it pans the same gold of confident old-time music and adds the prism of the trio's individual dynamics. Like a wildflower, it is not store-bought easy, but is instead a thoughtful gift of realistic beauty.
"What we want to do is," Pearl, a band member, says, "is preserve the great music that's been passed down to us."
The trio is composed of Laura Thurston on guitar, harmonica, foot pedal tambourine and suitcase kick drum, who also has a solo project; Gwyn Waller on charango, ukulele guitar, harmonica, percussion and kazoo; and Pearl on mandolin, banjitar and guitar, with all three girls' thrumming vocals blending together.
The Wildwood Flyers perform Friday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at Cup of Flow, in Southern Pines.
The band's sound is similar to that of The Be Good Tanyas.
Laura Thurston's dichotomy of peace and restlessness sifts her to play from her own journal's "see it yourself" experiences.
"I love to do what I love to do," says the 27-year-old. "I love traveling to see new places and experiences; to hear peoples' stories."
Unlike many who plop the enjoyment of travel on their list of interests, Thurston lives what she enjoys, and not just out of the obvious touring. She is from Rochester, N.Y., where she learned to play guitar before she moved to Charleston, S.C. There, she settled into a content community of "people 18 to 40 who are all into a lot of the same types of things."
Charleston was also her starting point for two years of cross country in a 1995 Chevy catering van.
"I was just curious about the rest of America," she says. "My friends that I went with played music, and they taught me a lot on the road. We went through Oregon, Colorado; all over. I had all kinds of odd jobs on the road - worked at a call center, changed people's oil, picked up restaurant shifts."
Her zig-zags across the country continue to feed her lyrics with their Allison Krauss, Joan Baez sound.
Gwyn Waller, 25, was also raised in New York, where she and Thurston went to the same elementary school and have been best friends since age 13. She says that by creating beautiful art, difficult chapters in life can be eased.
"My mother was a singer in church and played a lot of keyboard and guitar," says Waller. "She passed away when I was 15. She had this classical Yamaha guitar, and though I had picked up guitar shortly before that, the more and more I played afterward found me with a lot more emotion that was a necessity to get out."
Pearl, 28, remembers her grandfather, Arthur Bryson's, collection of Carter Family vinyls and field trips to bluegrass concerts as her beginning enchantment with music.
"He bought me my first piano and guitar," she says. "I remember just soaking in this bluegrass."
Pearl's native town of Burnsville provided her a stepping stone to get involved in an organic farm, where she milked goats, cared for chickens, helped farm an acre of land for every farmers market, and sank into her music passion.
"I remember I had heard Laura and Gwyn's music from a friend, really loved it, and burned a CD," she says. "One day I was sitting on the front porch of this beach house in Charleston, and I heard them playing music and couldn't believe it! I started going to their shows and filling in on mandolin before I became part of the band."
When the three tour at festivals, Pearl now also performs aerial strokes, trapeze and fire dances.
"All three of our voices together surpass what we're individually capable of," Pearl says. "We want to keep this old music alive."
For more information, visit reverb nation.com/laurathurston and reverb nation.com/wildwoodflyers.
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