Rising star of Americana

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SHE sounds like she might have been born a coal miner’s daughter in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, or maybe grown up next door to her daddy’s blacksmith forge outside Winchester, Virginia.

But while Zoe Muth has the authentic honky tonk angel aura of Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline in her voice, she is helping to turn Seattle from the capital of grunge into a north-west heartland of purest Americana.

Everyone is predicting major stardom for the singer who has just arrived in this country for the first time for a headline show at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow this Saturday, where the band will be filmed for the BBC 2 highlights programme to be televised in the middle of the massive three-week midwinter jamboree.

There is no doubt that 2011 established Zoe Muth and her band – the Lost High Rollers – as a major attraction in the US.

They ended the year on a high when the hugely influential Roots Music Report, compiled from playlists submitted from radio stations coast-to-coast, placed their hit album Starlight Hotel in the number one position on the Top 100 Albums of the Year chart.

They stop off in the Borders at the Heart of Hawick on Wednesday en route to London where they will record a studio session for the legendary “Whispering” Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 2 show.

The band released their debut album three years ago. It stormed the Freeform Americana Radio roots music chart on the other side of the Atlantic on its release and simultaneously hit the number one slot on the Euro Americana Chart. Then, the follow-up for the Signature Sounds label, rocketed straight to the number one position again.

Bob Harris told listeners to his BBC Radio 2 show that she was in a class of her own and Zoe and her band have become the most talked about live act on the US circuit.

At the end of last year, they finished the year in spectacular fashion when the Starlight Hotel CD landed at the number eight position in the annual Top 50 Albums of The Year list put together by the No Depression website, which has been a leading world authority on rootsy Americana since 1996. Zoe found herself ahead of greats such as Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams.

Vocally, she had been compared with Emmylou Harris by numerous reviewers and she has won a young audience through her writing ability and sound, allowing her to break across to win mainstream radio exposure where many have described her as “the new Patsy Cline”.

Zoe says she is thrilled to be bringing her band to Scotland, though they will play only two dates here – Glasgow and Hawick – before heading for England, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Sweden, and then flying back across the Atlantic.

“Over the past twelve months we have grown used to playing bigger and bigger venues,” she said, “and it will always be nice to appear in the more intimate spaces to remind us what it was like back at the start.

“We have heard only good things about the Heart of Hawick venue as a performance space where we can expect to be up close and personal with the audience.

“It’s good to get in a warmer huddle and we can’t wait to see all the beautiful Borders scenery which we have heard so much about from our UK agent who made this all possible.”

Tickets for the gig which starts at 7.30pm are priced at £10 (£8.50 concessions) and available by phoning 01450 360688 or at www.thebooth.co.uk