As she tells it, it might have taken Carley Arrowood a little while to figure out what she wanted to do when it came to recording her music — but since she did, there’s been no stopping the young fiddler, singer and songwriter. Now, the upcoming release of her first album for Mountain Home Music Company puts an exclamation point on an upward trajectory that not even a pandemic could stall. Goin’ Home Comin’ On is now available for pre-order, add and save ahead of its April 8 release.
“There was a time when this project was only going to be an EP; some of my favorite fiddle tunes and one or two songs I had written,” Arrowood recalls in her liner notes. “Something that just encompassed me as an aspiring solo artist….[A]s time progressed I was blessed to sign on with Mountain Home. I’ll never forget my first meeting with Mickey Gamble. When I told him I wanted to ‘see what happens’ with my EP, he looked at me with raised eyebrows and a genuine heart, and said something like this: ‘You’ve got to be all in; there ain’t no ”see what happens” here.’ From then on, it was all or nothing.”
That spirit of commitment animates every minute of Goin’ Home Comin’ On, from the first bold fiddle notes of the album opener and title track to the high octane reading of an early Alison Krauss classic that closes the project. And though she’s supported by award-winning banjo player Kristin Scott Benson and her husband, acclaimed mandolinist Wayne Benson while taking on a set list that includes songs from award-winning writers like Jenn Schott, Jenee Fleenor and bassist-producer Jon Weisberger, it’s a measure of that commitment — and her abilities — that Arrowood’s supple fiddle playing, songwriting skills and, especially, her confident, expressive singing, are never overshadowed.
Indeed, it’s Arrowood’s musical personality first and foremost that knits together the project, begun while she was still contemplating a solo career and recorded in three sessions over as many years. And while she’s grown as an artist during the process, the maturity of her artistry was already clear in the album’s first single, the contemporary-flavored, self-penned “Dear Juliana.” By the time she released the project’s title track in August, 2020, the way had been paved for a long-lived single that reached audiences across bluegrass radio through most of 2021, and since then, more singles — as well as a featured turn on one of the label’s all-star “Bluegrass at the Crossroads” collaborations, “Lift Your Voice, Bow Your Head” — have heightened anticipation for her full-length debut.
An instrumentalist since she was a child, Arrowood claims a place among the leading players of her generation in both traditional and contemporary styles with the durable Kenny Baker favorite, “Ducks On The Millpond,” and her own “Double Sunset”; offers heartfelt testimonials to the power of her faith in her “Jesus Drive The Train” and “You Are Mine,” and demonstrates her interpretive depth on both her own songs like “Letting Go Now” and “Dancing In The Rain” and more country-leaning material like the popular single, “My Kind of Nightlife” and “God Made the Country.” The result is a wide-ranging collection that presents a well-rounded and compelling portrait of a musician coming into her own.
“Almost every track is a brand new song,” Arrowood concludes. “Each with a different aspect that moves my heart in a way that feels like coming home. My hope is that they do the same for you.”
About Carley Arrowood; Though she’s young, Carley Arrowood is already something of a musical veteran. Singing since she was old enough to talk, she’s been playing fiddle for over thirteen years and has spent the past five years as a featured band member with the award-winning duo of Darin & Brooke Aldridge.
Carley began playing in a classical vein but soon gravitated toward the bluegrass music and fiddle tunes of her western North Carolina home. With her sister, Autumn, she formed a band called Carolina Jasmine, which became the first all-female group to win the Junior Band Championship at the famed Fiddlers Grove convention. Her career progress flourished through high school, as she began to work at Dollywood, competed in — and took home trophies from — an impressive list of fiddle contests, and became one of the featured musicians in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) annual Kids on Bluegrass program.
A developing songwriter — her “Jesus Drive The Train,” a co-write with the award-winning Becky Buller, earned her a showcase appearance at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in 2015 — Carley’s been recognized for her fiddle playing as well, receiving an IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year trophy in 2017. And in 2014, just a day after graduation, Carley began filling in with Darin and Brooke, joining them full-time that fall after turning 18. Since then, she’s performed with the duo at the Grand Ole Opry, on television shows like “Larry’s Country Diner,” on European tours and at bluegrass festivals and concerts around the country.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Carley Arrowood, (3) Becky Buller (unknown/website).