The 5-song EP, Holler Choir, is Roberts’ most impressive project to date. Relying heavily on vocal performance and the use of Appalachian tonalities, it was recorded in Asheville, N.C., and produced by Michael Ashworth of the Grammy Award Winning Steep Canyon Rangers.
“I see this EP as a shift towards my strengths, which is the human voice and mountain music,” says Roberts. His experiences and influences from growing up in Western N.C. near the Pisgah Forest bleeds into every track on Holler Choir. “The instruments played are ‘old familiar friends’ to me. I know how to arrange them in a way that feels very authentic.”
Keeping with the thread of authenticity, Roberts (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica) carefully selected all fellow North Carolina musicians to accompany him on the project; Michael Ashworth (stand up bass, drums), Julian Pinelli (fiddle), Ryan Stigmon (harmony vocals, dobro, acoustic guitar, pedal steel), Helena Rose (harmony vocals, banjo), and Colton Nelson (harmony vocals).
Songwriting subject matter flows from the opening “Jeremiah,” a commentary on growing up in the south and witnessing discrimination against individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, to the vivacious “Mountain Air” that reminds us that nobody is perfect, and closing with “Chrysalis” that acts as a collection of journal entries over time. Roberts’ formed Holler Choir with the yearning to touch on an array of emotions all while effortlessly blending the track to track listener experience.