Stand & Sway #10 water lillies

Beth Wood and Ara Lee James — Stand and Sway

Folk duo Stand and Sway — Beth Wood and Ara Lee James — are playing a show at The Rooster’s Wife Thursday, Oct. 10, beginning at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at

Stand and Sway officially releases its debut album “Deep Blue” on Oct. 25.

As a duo, Wood and James push the boundaries of soul and folk music and attempt to break down the walls that have separated the worlds of music and poetry. The duo’s debut album is more than a soulful, folk-dusted Americana record tinged with world-spanning sounds and gauzy atmospherics. It is a stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful work of art,” says a spokesman.

Texan-raised, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Beth Wood has labored in the world of independent music for 23 years, morphing from a young classically-trained, folk-tinged singer-songwriter to a wailing southern rock band leader to a college-circuit coffeehouse sweetheart to a well-respected nationally-touring poet and troubadour. Through all of these incarnations, Wood has remained true to herself and to her artistry; she has done it her way. Wood’s 11 independently released solo albums have gained her a fan-base that is loyal and true, and her creative work has earned her the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Award and the 2019 Oregon Book Award Peoples’ Choice Award.

Appalachia-raised, Washington-based Ara Lee James is an award-winning singer, poet, and truth-teller with an unmistakable sound and commanding presence; and a voice that will leave you speechless. Rooted in the traditions of gospel and deep South soul, James (formerly Ara Lee) holds court on stage like a modern-day mystic. James writes songs that are haunting and spiritual and feel like they are pulled from deep down in the earth. Her delivery is nothing short of a one-woman revival. While Wood’s dynamic, clear-as-a-bell voice cuts to the quick, James’s voice soars and expands and contracts. Together they change the weather in the room.

‘Deep Blue’ was born of ashes. James and Wood wrote these songs because they needed to. “The making of this album was healing, and that it was an end in itself,” they say.

“Deep Blue” is an album is about loss, certainly. It’s about being on the other side of young, of should-haves, of disappointment, and what comes after you’ve made spectacular mistakes and lost everything. More so, however, it is an album about choosing life after loss, and waking up. It’s about the music that shows up to heal you, and all of it being worth it at day’s end.

“Deep Blue” is about more than just two friends making music as catharsis. It is about friendship and the power of sisterhood. It is about falling down and crying on the floor and getting back up. It is about that tiny ray of hope that tells you to keep on going. It is about harmony and power and storytelling and joy. It is about waking up. It is about one plus one equals a thousand.

Stand and Sway is two artists coming together and taking a stand. “Most people don't realize there is a whole world of blue-collar musicians out there working in the margins,” Wood says. “We believe in the importance of live music to open, to transport, to invite people to feel. We believe in story and the written word and voices lifted up in service of the song.”

The Rooster’s Wife is a community arts organization dedicated to bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills. Home base is the gallery room of Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., in downtown Aberdeen, two blocks east of  U.S. 1 at the Rent-a-Wreck sign.

The first Thursday of each month finds the Rooster’s Wife in downtown Fayetteville, at the Cameo Arthouse Theater, 225 Hay St. Medical outreach and school programs occur regularly offsite. Frequently, musicians are available for private instruction and workshops.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:45 shows.

Children are welcome. There is dinner available for purchase and a full bar, featuring Southern Pines Brewing Company and Reverie Cocktails.

For information, visit

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