Photo by Neilson Hubbard
Nora Jane Struthers grew up playing bluegrass and old-timey music, while also listening to the more socially-acceptable-for-her-age-group sounds of future Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. Inspired by trendsetters from Eddie Adcock to Eddie Vedder, Struthers absorbed and blended what she heard, creating a style that has made her an Americana favorite. On Champion, the new 13-song album by Struthers and her like-minded band The Party Line, she continues to draw from this well of perhaps unlikely influences.
Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, Struthers became an NYU-educated English teacher who went to work in Brooklyn. Through it all, music was a constant in her life, a family affair that culminated in her performing and recording with her father, Alan, in the duo Dirt Road Sweetheart, playing the music of close harmony duos like the Blue Sky Boys, Jim and Jesse, and the Everly Brothers. “When I graduated from college my dad and I formed a more ‘official’ father-daughter duo,” she says, nursing a can of sparkling water while sitting outside a suburban Nashville ice cream shop. “Then we did a couple years of shows at folk halls in Jersey and dive bars in Brooklyn.”
Struthers was no strict folkie, though, developing her mostly acoustic craft while living near one of the major hubs of rock and pop music, New York City. “I’m obviously very influenced by American roots music, but also by mainstream bands like Pearl Jam,” she says. When asked about any country female vocal influences, like, for instance, the Dixie Chicks, she says country doesn’t figure much into the equation,... Sign In to Keep Reading