Nora Jane Struthers: Singin’ the Party Line


“When you go to a Carnival, you go into a sideshow tent, and on every stage you find a different person with a different story,” says Nora Jane Struthers. “That’s why I’m trying to do with this album – craft vignettes, and in some cases more developed narratives, about imaginary people’s lives.”

This was the mission statement for Nora Jane Struthers’ newest album, Carnival, the follow up on her award-winning self-titled album from 2010, which further displays Nora’s skills as both a vocalist and a songwriter of Americana music. Carnival also marks the recorded debut of her touring group, The Party Line, consisting of Joe Overton (clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals), Drew Lawhorn (drums), Nick DiSebastian (upright bass and guitar), and Jack Devereux (fiddle).

While Nora is rooted in the country tradition, through a combination of her songwriting, her voice and her presence both on and stage in recordings, she has advanced traditional country in great new ways. We discussed the song “I Heard the Bluebirds Singing,” a song from an album she recorded with her father, and the process behind the creation of Carnival, as well as her song-writing and use of imagery–rooted in the tradition, but contemporary, too.

For more information about Nora Jane and her music, view her website, which includes links to her discography and her touring schedule.

The Interview

Nora Jane Struthers (Recorded 3/05/14; original broadcast date: 3/18/14; host: Mandorichard), 26:48, 25.7 MB.

The interview will re-air on WVUD on Tue 4/01/14.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Dirt Road Sweetheart / I Heard the Bluebirds Singing / I Heard the Bluebirds Singing / Blue Pig Music / 2009 / Nora Jane and her dad, Al Struthers
  • Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line / Bike Ride / Carnival / Blue Pig Music / 2013
  • Nora Jane Struthers / Mocking Bird / Nora Jane Struthers / Blue Pig Music / 2010
  • Bearfoot / Tell Me a Story / American Story / Compass / 2011 / (Excerpt in podcast; full version when aired on WVUD)