Spring Awakening — I’m Ready for the Road

Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you all very well.  It’s Spring in Tennessee at the moment and I feel like I had totally surrendered to winter.  In the past I have dreaded winter, but this year I truly enjoyed being a bit of a shut-in.  I made many pots of lentil soup, I wrote many songs, I drank a healthy amount of whiskey and sang country songs with Joe, and felt quite creative…until now.  Now, like a bear grown thin after a season of hibernation, my creativity is depleted and I am famished for new experiences.  I am actually quite shocked that the weather has had such a profound effect on my spirit and my body.  It’s as though every cell in my body is straining, urging me to hit the road and find what awaits.

Life as a performer is a very curious thing.  I spend so much time cultivating my craft and the result is that I do not feel entirely myself unless I am performing regularly.  It was really nice to rekindle my connection to the idea of “home” being a physical place, but I am excited that soon my home will again be a state of being.  I know I sound like a caricature of a hippie.  All well.  I love the openness and freedom I feel living on the road.  Townes Van Zandt’s words sure do resonate with me, “Living on the road my friend, is gonna keep you free and clean. When you wear your skin like iron and your breath’s as hard as kerosene.”

2014 is going to be a good one.  We have so many awesome festivals booked (Merlefest, Grey Fox, Strawberry Park, to name a few) and we’re returning to some of our favorite cities and venues.  Also, I am really excited about the people with whom I will be making music and traveling this year.  From the original Party Line I still have Drew Lawhorn (drums) and Joe Overton (banjo, fiddle, steel guitar) and we are adding some new full time members too. The first of whom is Josh Vana from Harrisonburg, VA, a dear old friend and former bandmate of Joe’s.  Josh will be primarily playing telecaster with us.  He’s an incredibly versatile and well rooted player.  Josh also is pretty handy with a harmonica and a glass slide on his acoustic Gibson box.  We will be adding a full time bass player too, but we’ve not got that wonderful human lined-up yet.  Patience is good and necessary.

My new songs mark a creative departure for me, away from the story song, from clear narrative and into what I’d like to try and describe, without pretension, as autobiographical poetry.  The addition of electric guitar to our sound was informed by the new songs, just as the addition of Josh to our band was informed by our (me and Joe and Drew) desire to work with truly wonderful human beings. Josh starts with us full time on June 1st so hopefully you’ll get to hear the new sound in person this summer or fall at the latest.

Our live shows are moving in a new direction too – I am really focusing on cultivating a high energy exchange between the band and the audience.  This means more standing shows, more rock-club type venues, more drum solos, more two-stepping, more hippie dancing!  Don’t worry though, Cowgirl Yodel # 3 is still in the set!  🙂

Go-To Road Tunes:

Jason Isbell – post gig haul

Hayes Carll – middle of the tour road weary

Lake Street Dive – afternoon happy time

Robby Hecht – mellow morning

Tedeshi Trucks Band – pre-show amp up

Guy Clark – food for the soul anytime

Currently Reading:

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

My Lentil Soup Recipe:

brown bacon (optional)

chop and sauté a bunch of garlic and onions and carrots in olive oil

add generous amounts of cumin and coriander

add modest amounts of salt, fresh ground pepper, nutmeg

add canned chopped tomatoes and tomato paste

add chicken stock and bring to a boil

add lentils and simmer until cooked – about 20 min

ENJOY with cornbread and butter

additional yummy things to throw in the pot:

-sautéd baby bella mushrooms

-raw kale or other dark greens

-butter beans


All for now y’all.  Hope to see you soon.


Nora Jane



  • Hi Nora,Huge fan here just wanted to say. I first heard you play live on Florida’s 88.5 and I was hooked.Your an amazing singer, I live in Tennessee and have traveled to see you play.Just wanted to say I love your music

    • Thanks so much for saying Hi Seth! I am so glad you found me! When will we see each other next?

  • I saw your show at Commonfence in RI a few years ago and it was one of my favorite shows of all time. I’ll see you again in May at Strawberry Park in CT. I hope you don’t overdo the electric guitar/ drum/ rock club stuff, because your performance without that stuff was so great when I saw you and you signed my CD a few years ago.

    • Hi Harold! I’m so glad to hear you enjoy my performance. Regarding the changing sonic landscape of my music, all I can say is that as an artist, I have already experienced many changes in my music, and I know that my sound will continue to evolve and change over time. I hope the songs continue to move people who hear them. If you find that this latest incarnation is not to your taste, that’s okay. Just stick with me; I am foundation-ally an acoustic musician and will always cycle back to that. xoxo Nora Jane

  • Just checked to see when y’all will be back down to the Atlanta area …. I missed your house concert in December and was a bit bummed to see nothing yet scheduled.
    But I do see that you will be playing near Gettysburg when we’re up there next month. How cool with that be!
    Looking forward to seeing you live in concert in Mount Holly Springs on the 5th.

  • Totally loved seeing you and the Party Line at IBMA 2013. I am so excited about you being at MerleFest 2014. I will be looking forward to hearing you and that new mix you have put together. Rachel Ray is working back stage all through MerleFest so keep an eye out for me.
    Much love to you and that song in your heart that you share so well.
    Rachel Ray (The Original)

  • Nora, my husband & I just saw you perform at the Southern in Charlottesville last night, & we thoroughly enjoyed it! I just read your post from a few days ago, & not having known you before last night, you definitely seemed to have achieved your goal of “cultivating a high energy exchange between the band and the audience…with more drum [and guitar/banjo] solos…”! Not being huge country music fans, we found your ability to mix it up with different types of music (bluegrass, blues, and a bit of rock!) as well as your focus on the incredibly talented musicians that you had with you last night, to make for quite a memorable experience. We wish you the best of luck on your tour, and will definitely look forward to more live performances. I hope that Nick DiSebastian continues to play with you. His acoustic guitar work was out amazing! You all made an incredible team last night. Hope you come to Baltimore some day!

    • Hi Linda! Thanks for the feedback! I had SO much fun at the Charlotte show! Sadly, Nick is not going to be staying with us much longer. He plays primarily bass in our band, and, as you noted, he REALLY needs to be playing the guitar full time. 🙂 He’ll remain a dear friend and I’m so glad for the time we got to spend together.

  • Saw your show in Perkins tonight. Just wanted to say that we loved it. So glad that Monica Taylor can get such talent to that little venue. Plus I got to dance with my daughter when you “made us” all get up and scoot a boot. She loves the tank top with the autograph! Good luck on the tour and hope to see you again soon.

    • Ron! I saw y’all dancing and it made my heart sing! You know, you don’t have to wait for someone to “make” you dance – put on the radio or a cd and dance at home! Remeber, dancing is 100% of the time, more fun, than not dancing. xoxo Nora Jane

  • Nora, Saw you in Frederick Maryland. Absolutely loved the show. It was a delight to have met you at the end in the lobby. Hope you come back to our town. Love to see the band again. Thanks.

  • Nora Jane,

    Since hearing you all play at Passim in Boston last summer I have been seriously in need of a ‘Pary Line’ fix … and am most embarrassed to say that my business travel has prevented me from hearing you since … a meaningful bummer!

    But I have my ticket to hear you in Connecticut on the 12th … my car is ready for the drive … and I can’t wait!

    I also want to thank you for your marvelous writing and sharing here … every bit as evocative and scrumptious as your song writing … and much appreciated!

    And it doesn’t seem you are ‘a caricature of a hippie’ in the least! Just a wonderful contemporary incarnation of so much that made true hippies so wonderful and such a positive influence on our culture.

    A sense of openness, wonder, delight, celebration of life, and the strength (and metal flexibility) to see and try new things … MOST important attributes for all creative folks who have the great opportunity to influence our world with their artistic presence!

    So please keep up the good work ma’am … here’s hoping the sound balance in your coming venues doesn’t have Drew ‘drowning out’ the rest of you in your coming performances … and that
    Jack Devereux’s truly amazing fiddle playing will still be a prominent part of your musical presentation?

    All my best wishes to you all for what I am certain will be an amazing Spring Tour!


  • nora jane,

    My wife and I love your music and sound! we live near the Delaware beaches and can’t wait to see you at the Freeman which is a beautiful venue! Enjoy the beach while you are there. We will be there for sure.

  • hello nora Jane, I am listening to your great music, I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I hope someday turn through South America. I listen to folk music from around the world and you are my favorite band of his region. I just love and hear every day. and show their music different people here.
    ahh, the violinist played fantastic!

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