Appalachian Roots

Anya Hinkle’s (2019 Merlefest’s Chris Austin Song Contest winner) distinctive vocals set the tone for Asheville-based Appalachian roots-music band, Tellico. A native of Southwest Virginia, Anya’s native influences coupled with her worldly travels makes for a seasoned musical flavor full of honesty and heart.

Both of Anya’s parents were musicians, and she grew up playing violin, singing in the church choir and playing guitar during her high school years, where she really started getting in bluegrass/Americana music. “My first love was Norman Blake and Tony Rice,” she said. Anya went off to college and didn’t really pursue music intentionally until one day while in California she wandered into a guitar and fiddle shop in Berkley, CA called the Fifth String.

“I just started picking with those guys and got really into it, and thought to myself, ‘what am I doing out here; I’m going home. I’m still real close to those California folks, and really appreciate them supporting me as I was getting started,” she said.

The band’s latest CD, Woven Waters, blends the group’s bluegrass sensibilities with British Isles influences, creating an eclectic collection of poignant folk songs. Fellow band mate, Greg Stiglets (song­writer, vocalist, bass, harmonica player) songs are inspired from the stories and events of daily life, while his attention to melody and groove help to further showcase the instrumental prowess of the band.

Central North Carolina’s Aaron Ballance (dobro, lap steel, pedal steel) and Jed Willis (mandolin, clawhammer banjo, electric guitar) round out the Tellico quartet. Their more than a decade of collaboration has helped shape their sound into well known and sought after band in the string band genre. Relics and Roses, their first CD, was well-received, and won many accolades. It even earned them stage appearances at the some of the country’s most prestigious festivals, MerleFest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.

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