Deserted Village desertedvillage(at)

Larkin Grimm Interview
        Larkin Grimm       interviewed by:     Righteous Ivan Pawle

You seem to have spent a lot of this year on tour; is it something you enjoy or is it a chore?

I love touring. I was travelling the world before I started playing music, just for adventure’s sake, and I’ve hitchhiked thousands of miles at this point… I’m just a rambling woman. I’ve got it in my gypsy blood, and I can’t shake the craving. Whenever I stop moving, the demons start catching up to me. Gotta go! Of course, there are things you sacrifice: health, security, romantic partnerships, privacy... The list goes on and on. The hardest thing for me is that I am an artist, too. I used to make oil paintings and big sculptures/ installation art. I can’t make these things without a studio. The most wonderful thing anyone did for me during last year’s European tour was when this wonderful Swedish woman in Umea took me to an art studio where they had oil paints and brushes all set up and a big canvas, and they let me paint! I was so happy I nearly cried. I also had a terrible cold at the time. I remember I could hardly stand up, and every night...bam, bam, bam, NEW SHOW. I’ve really learned to appreciate a quiet room and a soft, clean bed and kind, nurturing mothers everywhere.

When did you start playing the dulcimer and what attracted you to it?

My father actually named me after a dulcimer player in Memphis, Tennessee, Larkin Bryant. So it was unavoidable destiny, but I did manage to evade the instrument until my 23rd birthday, when I picked one up. It was hanging in my father’s string shop. I started to play it, felt the magic immediately, and traded a cello for it. Not a very smart trade, money-wise, but I was a terrible cellist anyway. No discipline.

You have a new album due out at the start of October; could you tell us a bit about it? Did you collaborate with other musicians on it?

The Last Tree is my adventure album. I was travelling the whole time I was writing it, and I’d record with beautiful characters I met along the way, including Japanese improvisational superman Teppei Ozawa, Wild Mountain Mama Lara Polangco, a seven-year-old girl named Sadie, various members of my family, roommates, lovers... But the album is still very personal. Deeply personal. I’m a bossy collaborator. I just take hold of your life’s energy and bend it to my will. Oops!

I hear you're bringing some other musicians with you on this tour; could you tell us who they are and how they started playing with you?

Leah and Chloe Smith (Rising Appalachia)are the two banjo-playing daughters of Old Time Music parents who used to play with my father in Georgia. We’re the second generation, keeping Appalachian music alive. Playing together is just an experiment. You’ll see how well it works. These girls are beautiful and charming and totally legit old time players, superior to me in terms of skill. I’m really looking forward to playing with them.

- In search of Space Zine #1

     Rising Appalchia  
"Fire dancing captivates that “realm of consciousness beyond ego and ambition where the mind becomes a silver minnow in a great electric lake of soul and where the quarks and the gods pick up their mail on the way from nowhere to everywhere…”
- Tom Robbins.

Chloe & Leah will be getting into town early on this tour for some fire eatin' before foot-stompin' and wailin' at night.

“we like a good bit of hootenanny and hoedowns that tickle the gizzards way down to their sultry inner depths...little bit of good boot stompin' fiddle banjo/tunes passed down from many a mountain hobo...what tunes we can carry on long journeys we do- and travel frequently in old dusty backpacks and vagabond hammocks, throwing out a hitch hikers glorious mark as often as possible. We came from hip-hop to hick-rock and love every minute of it...” Leah

Leah and Chloe grew up in the bosom of the Southern Appalachian music renaissance. Born to a fiddlin' mother and a folk-sculptor father, they were raised with old-time melodies and contra dances as their lullabies long before mention of the sound tracks of Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain. With influences in everything from urban jazz and hip hop, to roots music from around the world, they have created a style that is truly their own. Now, as young women, they have coddled that same Appalachian tradition, and continued to shape it and help it grow through music and song. Their simple eerie banjo and fiddle tunes and effortless sister harmonies are compared to that of Hazel Dickens, Rosetta Tharpe and Gillian Welch. The story further unfolds as the girls met the dynamic percussionist Mr. Forrest Kelly in one of their many trips to the magical hills of Asheville, North Carolina. Forrest's unique drumming style and subtle rhythms overlay a driving and hypnotic groove that is unstopable. With an occasional jaw harp, trumpet, djembe,or spoons they offer a fresh,raw approach to a beautiful old tradition. Collectively they have traveled and lived in Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Holland, Spain, Alaska, Hawaii, Vancover, and from East to West across the United States using their rich Appalachian tradition as a way to connect cultures. Having recently cut their debut self-titled album, Rising Appalachia, please join them in taking the world of music by storm! The more boot stompin' the merrier! Wooo Hooo!"