Carley Arrowood's Colors adds to bluegrass’s ever-expanding palette

Article Contributed by Mountain Home … | Published on Saturday, March 30, 2024

Since the release of her debut collection, Goin’ Home Comin’ On, Mountain Home Music Company’s Carley Arrowood has been gifted one husband, one baby daughter and one IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year award while releasing four acclaimed singles — “Deeper In Love,” “Tsali’s Run,” “Chasin’ Indigo” and “Moondancer” — that have made an undeniable case for her growing power as a mature, confident creative force. Her second album, Colors, out now, is the closing argument.

“It’s always an artist’s goal to keep stretching the boundaries of who they are, finding new ways to make the music they love,” says Arrowood. “Creating Colors with such an amazing team and my sweet Mountain Home family has been nothing short of that experience for me. This new collection of music is definitely something I'm thrilled to present! While keeping deep roots in bluegrass, Colors offers nine fresh, new songs and one cover, each with a subtly different shade to add to bluegrass’s ever-expanding palette.”

Indeed, the project offers a well-rounded set that locates Arrowood within a vibrant community of like-minded colleagues, all well-versed in the fundamentals of bluegrass yet unafraid to range beyond them in search of a compellingly unique sound. Colors features an intriguing blend of names from her debut — guitarist, harmony singer, co-writer (and husband) Daniel Thrailkill, harmony singer (and sister) Autumn Watson, award-winning banjoist Kristin Scott Benson and co-writer Becky Buller — with a short list of new participants that includes mandolin phenom Nick Dumas, the Foreign Landers’ Tabitha Benedict (banjo) and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Partin (Rhonda Vincent & the Rage), along with ace studio percussionist Tony Creasman. Guided by producer Jim VanCleve, Arrowood and her friends have created a multi-faceted album that explores each aspect of her artistry: ever-deeper songwriting, forthright yet nuanced singing and dynamic, powerful fiddle playing that puts her among the music’s top ranks.  

Kicking off with two already-released singles, Colors enters new territory with the third, the title track, which delivers its thoughtful gospel message in a smoothly energetic, contemporary bluegrass setting:

Years of laughter, tears of pain smear together like drops of paint
On the palette of a Craftsman with passion for His trade
His choice of color might puzzle you, but His steady hand is making all things new
Before we know, those colors magnify His grace

Arrowood’s distinctive approach continues through the remainder of the collection, contrasting the modern shape of songs like “Moondancer,” the fiery instrumental, “Tsali’s Run,” and “This Mess We Made,” written by Autumn Watson, with the more traditional flavors of numbers such as the tragic ballad, “Silas and Cora,” which nods to bluegrass’ classic cautionary tales, and the set’s other fiddle tune, “Molasses Ridge.” By the time Colors reaches its final track, “Always Back To You” — penned by award-winning songwriters Tim Stafford and Bobby Starnes — listeners will find themselves utterly convinced that the promise of her earlier work has been fulfilled with a bold new step forward.

“I am so thankful for this project,” Carley Arrowood affirms, “and I sincerely hope listeners enjoy each tune and are moved by them the way that I am!”
Colors is streaming in Dolby Atmos spatial audio on Apple Music, Amazon Music and TIDAL. Listen to it HERE.