Steep Canyon Rangers Unearth Layers Of Human History With “Hominy Valley”

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Thursday, June 8, 2023

“Apparently, my neighborhood is cursed,” says Graham Sharp, Steep Canyon Rangers’ banjoist and co-writer of their brand new single, “Hominy Valley.” A pulsating romp through the hills and valleys of which the Rangers sing, “Hominy Valley” dives into the backstory of Sharp’s cursed neighborhood: the story of General Rutherford’s campaign against the Cherokee during the Revolutionary war. “The story is that the army got wind they were being followed by two Cherokee scouts and poisoned a creek that one of them drank from,” recalls Sharp. “His friend buried him sitting upright on the hill, under what is now a huge old oak tree, looking over the valley to keep watch.”

Sharp had been trying to write “Hominy Valley” for years and never got it across the finish line until one random night, sitting with his song idea after dinner. “I sat down and the whole thing was there,” he remembers. “The story never felt right until it connected with the current construction of apartments going on at the very spot right now.” Along with his co-writers and bandmates, Aaron Burdett and Barrett Smith, Sharp tied together the centuries-spanning effect of outside influencers taking North Carolina’s land for their own and the band shaped the song in only the way the Steep Canyon Rangers could; a moving story about the layers of human history in Sharp’s West Asheville neighborhood. “It’s not just a shared history, but a living history. Nothing is stamped and finished,” he says.

“Hominy Valley” is the opening track and first single from Steep Canyon Rangers’ upcoming album, Morning Shift—due out September 8th. Produced by the distinguished Darrell Scott and engineered by the legendary Dave Sinko, Morning Shift found the Rangers recording their 14th studio album in Bat Cave, North Carolina, at the Inn Bat Cave, a historical refuge settled near a long-forgotten crossroads of Southern Appalachia. This was the perfect space to feel confident in expanding upon that Carolina sound, the perfect runway to let their well-oiled machine do what it does best- craft stories from the ground up, as a unit. “It was like going to recording camp,” said Scott, “We ate together, we stayed at the Inn together the whole time, and we recorded. Going about it that way made for a very organic record. We had a great engineer with Dave Sinko, who could in essence create a studio space in a rustic, historic home.”

Morning Shift also marks the band’s first album with new band member Burdett on guitar and vocals, bringing a soul-stirring element to the Rangers’ mastery of mountain music. Burdett is an award-winning singer-songwriter and a student of folk tradition providing a fresh, emotional context to the Rangers’ songbook.

Today, Folk Alley premiered the track writing, "'Hominy Valley' perfectly kicks off the anticipation of another excellent new album from the Steep Canyon Rangers." Fans can listen to “Hominy Valley” now and pre-order or pre-save Morning Shift ahead of its September 8th release right here. Steep Canyon Rangers are on tour throughout the summer with a string of dates with longtime collaborators Steve Martin & Martin Short beginning in September. A full list of tour dates can be found below or at

Morning Shift Tracklist:

Hominy Valley

Deep End

Second in Line (Junior)

Old Stone House/Handlebars/Chimney Rock

Harvest Queen

Ghost of Glasgow

Above My Burdens

Birds of Ohio

Alabama Calling

Morning Shift

Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals

Recommend Me

Catch Steep Canyon Rangers On Tour:

June 10 - Bluegrass & Brew Festival - Hampton, VA

July 1 - Salvage Station - Asheville, NC +

July 7 - Wachholz College Center - Kalispell, MT

July 8 - Daly Mansion - Hamilton, MT

July 13 - Grey Fox - Oak Hill, NY

July 14 - Rams Head - Annapolis, MD

July 15 - Sellersville Theatre - Sellersville, PA

July 16 - Long’s Park - Lancaster, PA

July 21 - Midtown Listening Lawn Outdoor - Grand Rapids, MI

July 22 - Murphy Theatre - Wilmington, OH

Aug. 2 - Denver Botanic Gardens - Denver, CO ^

Aug. 3 - Aggie Theatre - Fort Collins, CO

Aug. 4 - Matthews Opera House - Spearfish, SD

Aug. 5 - Centerfest - Lewistown, MT

Aug. 12 - Podunk Bluegrass Festival - Goshen, CT

Aug.13 - Stone Mountain Arts Center - Brownfield, ME

Aug.18 - North Carolina Museum of Art - Raleigh, NC ^

Aug. 19 - Shenandoah Valley Music Festival - Orkney Springs, VA

Sept. 2 - The Blue Ridge Music Center - Galax, VA

Sept. 8-9 - Mountain Song Festival - Brevard, NC

Sept. 14-16 - Benedum Center for the Performing Arts - Pittsburgh, PA *

Sept. 21 - AmericanaFest - Nashville, TN

Sept. 22-23 - Encore Theater - Las Vegas, NV *

Sept. 28 - Brooks Center for Performing Arts - Clemson, SC

Sept. 29 - Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre - Wilmington, NC

Oct. 13 - Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts - Greensboro, NC *

Oct. 14 - Township Auditorium - Columbia, SC *

Oct. 15 - North Charleston Performing Arts Center - Charleston, SC *

Oct. 26 - Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre - Red Bank, NJ *

Oct. 27 - Academy of Music - Philadelphia, PA *

Oct. 28 - The Lyric Theatre - Baltimore, MD *

Oct. 29 - Altria Theater - Richmond, VA *

Nov. 3 - The Lyric Theatre - Stuart, FL

Nov. 4 - Florida Theatre - Jacksonville, FL

Nov. 5 - Capitol Theatre - Clearwater, FL

Nov. 10 - Merrill Auditorium - Portland, ME *

Nov. 11- Providence Performing Arts Center- Providence, RI *

Nov. 12 - Turning Stone Resort Casino - Verona, NY *

Nov. 30 - Salle Wilfrid Pelletier - Montreal, QC *

Dec. 1-2 - Meridian Hall- Toronto, ON *

+ With the Jon Stickley Trio

^ With Amythyst Kiah

* With Steve Martin & Martin Short