Anything but conventional, Struthers grew up in New Jersey, taught high school English in Brooklyn, and set off for Nashville when her art teacher lover stole her identity and money. A heart-stopping moment in the Colorado mountains watching childhood hero Tim O'Brien perform at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival convinced Struthers she was meant to sing. She has since joined forces with O'Brien on her 2013 album Carnival, which cracked the Top 10 on the Americana radio charts and launched the video for “Bike Ride” that debuted at #1 on the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown.
Her new album 'Wake' with The Party Line is out Feb. 24 and proves she can reconcile her "love of bluegrass and Pearl Jam" with a blend of pedal steel and fiddle with robust electric riffs and a powerful voice devoid of fear or uncertainty. NPR Music's Ann Powers hailed her as "guided by fire" and "brilliant" in her feature on Country Music's Year of the Woman.
We sat down with Nora Jane Struthers prior to the show to talk about chasing that dream.
Give us some background on how you started to play music...
I grew up in New Jersey playing bluegrass and folk with my dad, who picks the banjo and flat-top guitar.
What can one expect at a live Nora Jane Struthers show?
When we play a show it's party time...My band is so so good and we like to create a high energy experience with the audience. We play my original songs which has been working out well, folks seem to connect with them.
When did you decide to stop teaching and pick up music full time?
I'm afraid I'm a bit of a cliche; I quit my teaching job in 2008, purged my worldly possessions, moved to Nashville in my Honda Odyssey minivan and began chasing the dream.
What is next for Nora Jane Struthers?
February 24th we're releasing our new album, Wake and we'll be touring heavily in support of it for most of 2015.