The renegade traditionalists of Mipso — Jacob Sharp on mandolin, Joseph Terrell on guitar, Libby Rodenbough on fiddle, and Wood Robinson on double bass — are doing their part to take three-part harmony and Appalachian influences into new territory. Formed in Chapel Hill in 2010, the three North Carolina songwriters of Mipso have wandered off the path blazed by Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson to find a new clearing for their southern string band sound.
From Morganton, NC, Jacob got his first mandolin after winning a fishing bet with his dad. Jacob graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 with a degree in Geography and International Studies.
Wood is from Greensboro, North Carolina. A student of jazz, his favorite album is Bill Evans’ “Sunday At the Village Vanguard”. Wood graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 with a degree in Geology and Environmental Science.
Joseph is from High Point, North Carolina, where his grandmother taught him his first song on guitar, Doc Watson’s “Tom Dooley”. Joseph graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 with a degree in Religious Studies and Cultural Studies.
It is July, and we are about to be putting some serious miles on the Subaru. Our Summer Tour started six hours ago when we filled up on gas and pointed west. We’re now headed to the great American city of Louisville, KY. After that we’ll be eating Cincinnati Chili in Cincinnati and then heading back down to Virginia eating whatever Virginians eat and then we’re on to many more stops down the line. Check out the list of tour dates above and come out to see us, if you’re close by. And if you’re not close but happen to know of a great barbecue spot in Charleston, WV, or a world class coffee shop in Meadville, PA, or have a cousin who runs a Subaru garage in Somerville, MA, shoot us an email. We’re always happy to hear recommendations as we get to know all of these towns and cities and everywhere in between.
Here’s a video we filmed with our friends at the Bluegrass Situation back when we were in Los Angeles. It premiered today to spread the word about our summer tour. Check it out, and we hope to see you soon!x
Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the good folks who opened up Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton, NC. We can go ahead and say it for the record: Fonta Flora is our favorite brewery. First of all, they’re creative and cool and kind and great to hang out with. Second, well, they made a beer for us to celebrate the release of our last record. (A black IPA named Dark Holler Hop…GENIUS.) And then there’s the beer itself. It’s off the charts—and off the wall. From a Oyster Stout to a Local Carrot IPA to a new brew made with miso and mushrooms…that actually tastes really good. This past weekend we played Fonta Flora’s first annual State Of Origin Craft Brew Festival. It featured a bunch of breweries from around the state and their kegged concoctions featuring special, local ingredients—dandelions, honeysuckle, cherries, rosemary, and many more— made specifically for the festival. We had fun tasting beer AND playing music. What a day.
So here’s the message to the people: go check out Fonta Flora. They’re not paying us to say this. We just think they’re great.
Folks, this blog blast carries two very important updates. First, our favorite fiddle player, Libby Rodenbough, turned her tassel yesterday on a beautiful spring day in Chapel Hill. Congratulations, Libby. You’re finally an adult like the rest of us. Doesn’t she look so nice in Carolina Blue?
Second, Libby has found gainful post-grad employment with her favorite neighborhood acoustic harmonizers. That’s right—this trio is officially a quartet. Everyone salute, raise your glass, and give Libby a round of applause as we welcome her to the full-time world of Mipso. Welcome, Libby! As most of you know, we’ve been playing with her almost all of the time for the past two years. Now that she’s graduated, we’re excited to have her join us on the road, in interviews, in the studio… and everywhere else Mipso appears. Three cheers to Libby!x
Big news, everyone! We are excited to announce that Joseph placed first in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest. He won 1st place in the general category for the song “Angelina Jane Is Long Gone”. The judges were Darrell Scott, Charles Humphrey III (of the Steep Canyon Rangers), and Irish songwriter Niall Toner.
Past winners of the CAS contest include Gillian Welch and Tift Merritt, so it’s a very cool honor for Joseph and for the band. Thanks to everyone for coming to cheer him on. Here’s a picture of Joseph and Libby performing Friday night on the Cabin stage in front of the big Merlefest crowd.
We just had one of our favorite weekends of shows….ever. Boone, Asheville, and the one and only Cat’s Cradle — all in three days. Our friend Chris Eldridge brought his trademark “Critter” musical badassery, tearing through tunes from Tony Rice to Elliot Smith. We got a master class in musicianship right before we stepped on stage. In Asheville we shared the stage with Critter as well as the great NC fiddle player Josh Goforth. OK, recap: There’s nothing like playing in North Carolina, and we’re lucky guys to get to watch and learn from killer sasquatches of musicians like Critter and Josh.