By Bailey Faulkner
Clear all of your plans for Thursday, April 21 — Mipso will return to Legends to show how “renegade traditionalists” interpret Appalachian music. Before Mipso takes the stage, local favorite Kate Rhudy will kick off the night with her “sad river folk” music.
Far from strangers to the High Country, Mipso is filled out by:
Jacob Sharp (mandolin)
Wood Robinson (double bass)
Joseph Terrell (guitar)
Libby Rodenbough (fiddle)
Mipso takes four-part harmonies and Appalachian influences into completely new territory, creating a sound that is both recognizable and unique. Since forming in 2010 as students at UNC Chapel Hill, Mipso has taken its innovative sound to audiences across the country.
Each of Mipso’s members is a lifelong musician. As a kid, Sharp was given his first mandolin after winning a fishing bet with his father. Terrell’s music career began when his grandmother taught him his first song on guitar: Doc Watson’s “Tom Dooley.” Growing up, Robinson and Rodenbough were students of jazz and classical violin, respectively. Rodenbough even took a year off from school to study folk music in Chicago and fiddle in Ireland.
Since its debut album Dark Holler Pop, the band’s popularity has grown exponentially. To Mipso’s surprise, the album rose to No. 8 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts.
“We didn’t know so many people would buy it. And we definitely didn’t know we were a bluegrass band,” Sharp said.
Mipso is now touring in support of its latest album, Old Time Reverie. Produced by Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin, the album is a “gripping, mature sophomore release that finds the quartet expanding their sonic resources while doubling down on their experimentation with string band tradition.”
Old Time Reverie introduced new instruments and sonic textures, highlighting the band’s growth and increased experimentation since Dark Holler Pop. The album even includes electric organ played by Josh Oliver of The Everybodyfields.
Much of the latest album explores the complexities of living in the modern-day South.
“Luckily we are influenced by many of North Carolina’s musical heroes. There are some great musical legacies in the state,” said Sharp.
That doesn’t stop the band from taking a critical look at what it means to live in our part of the country, however.
“We’ve chosen to stick around in this place where we’re rooted, to reckon with and learn from its contradictions,” Terrell said.
As reflected in Old Time Reverie, a sense of openness and inclusivity lies at the heart of Mipso.
“We come from a place where traditional music is a living, changing thing, so we feel like having an ear for all kinds of stuff is not only true to ourselves, it’s a nod to the tradition,” Rodenbough said.
Mipso is especially excited to share the Legends stage with Kate Rhudy. The band has been working on setting up a show with the High Country musician for some time now.
Rhudy was pleasantly surprised that Mipso was excited to share the night with her.
“We’ve known Kate for a while. She’s a really cool songwriter and singer,” Sharp said.
To say that Rhudy is excited for the opportunity to play alongside the Appalachian-influenced musicians is an understatement.
“I’ve been a fan of Mipso for years thanks to my sister, who went to UNC with some of them. It was a dreamy aspiration of mine to open for them, so I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to actually do it,” Rhudy said.
Rhudy has seen the band explode in popularity since she was first introduced to her fellow North Carolinian musicians.
“I’m glad to be exposed to a lot of musicians like them that find folk music just as invigorating and integral to their lives as I do. I think there’s a lot of sincerity in their music, and for that matter, in folk music in general, and that’s what I hope to convey in my songs as well. I hope that fans of Mipso will enjoy what I have to share with them,” said Rhudy.
Rhudy will perform a few songs for the first time at the Legends show. She is looking forward to seeing how the Legends audience will react to the new tunes.
“I’ve only been sharing my own music and trying to book solo gigs since the summer of 2015, so I’m still really new to this music scene. Seeing my name next to theirs promoted around school has downright tickled me.”
Joining Rhudy on stage will be her “phenomenally talented bass playing friend,” Jon Church.
“Legends is one of the most unique clubs we’ve played around the country,” Sharp said.
Legends’ accessibility to ASU students reminds the band members about their time as college students.
“Boone is one of the first places that felt like home for Mipso. We’re really excited to return to North Carolina to some big energy at Legends,” Sharp said.
Mipso will certainly be feeling at home during the Legends show — currently in Colorado, the band will travel across the country for its show in the High Country.
Thursday’s show will have something new for everyone, even if you caught the band’s last Legends performance. Since then, the band has released its latest album and is working on another studio effort. The band plans to play some new songs that have yet to be recorded. Additionally, Mipso will be adding a banjo player for the show.
In addition to seeing Mipso, you’ll get the chance to check out one of the High Country’s hottest new musicians.
“It’s a big deal — I still can’t believe I get to share the Legends stage with them, and I’m looking forward to their set,” Rhudy said.
Mipso’s show at Legends is a must for High Country music lovers. Doors will open at 9 p.m. and music will start at 9:30 p.m.
The show will be $6 for students who buy tickets in advance. $8 tickets will be sold to the public and at the door. Legends is BYOB with a six-pack limit.
After the Legends show, Mipso is looking forward to a summer full of traveling and playing music. The band is thrilled to perform at the many festivals they have lined up for the warmer months. The band will make appearances at two particularly exciting music festivals: the Red Wing Roots Festival in Virginia and the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon.
For more information on Thursday’s show and policies at Legends, click here.
Don’t miss out on this night of Appalachian-born tunes!