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Southern Songs & Stories: The Ambivalence and Embrace of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning with Olivia Ellen Lloyd

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Olivia Ellen Lloyd
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Photo by Stephania Orru

Like the prophets of biblical times, music artists have often found it hard to gain acceptance in the places they came from. There is a heartbreaking scene in the documentary Every Night’s A Saturday Night: The Bobby Keys Story where the sax player famous for his time in The Rolling Stones sits outside his former high school, unable to bring himself to go to his old classmates’ reunion decades after leaving his small town of Slaton, Texas. Another example is my home town’s native son, Don Gibson, who left Shelby, North Carolina being thought of as pretty much a nobody that dropped out of school in the second grade before he went on to become a successful artist and one of the most celebrated song writers in country music history.

Olivia Ellen Lloyd could be the exception that proves this rule: she left her homeplace (which is even smaller than both Shelby and Slaton) and went on to make her first album while residing in Brooklyn, New York, however this success is celebrated rather than ignored back home in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This experience, along with the loss of family and friends and her own struggle to come of age in a world where optimism is hard to come by provides the backdrop for her country and Americana based album Loose Cannon.

In this episode you will hear Olivia talk about her intriguing backstory and how she finds herself thriving in a much different place than where she grew up while she still embraces her homeplace, how she has a knack for bringing our worst impulses to life in a song, and much more, including music from her album Loose Cannon.

Songs heard in this episode:

“High & Lonesome” by Olivia Ellen Lloyd from Loose Cannon

“Sorrow” by Olivia Ellen Lloyd from Loose Cannon, excerpt

“Emily” by Olivia Ellen Lloyd from Loose Cannon, excerpt

“The West” by Olivia Ellen Lloyd, from Loose Cannon

Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.