The new album from North Carolina roots songwriter Andy Ferrell, At Home and In Nashville, is aptly named, for it points to a long lineage of artists traveling between their homes in rural Appalachia and the neon lights of country music’s capitol, Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Boone, NC, Ferrell grew up in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the birthplace of Appalachian traditional music and the home of the great Doc Watson.
Growing up in Watson’s shadow, and with a folk guitarist for a father, Appalachian roots play a large role in Ferrell’s music. What’s surprising about his new album is how far he has reached beyond these roots. On this album he focuses on country songwriting with a bittersweet edge, much like his heroes Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt. Recording the album between Nashville and Boone, he blends old-time roots and folk songwriting with a more polished country sound that verges at times on Paul Simon-esque balladry. Sweet pedal steel rings through his sound, mixed in with rich vocal harmonies and songs that look to the hard truths of a working man’s life as much as to the vagaries of love.