Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line return to the Pocahontas County Opera House, in Marlinton, on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m., with their signature mix of alt country, roadhouse blues, and straightforward honky-tonk.
When Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line last came to the Opera House, they had just released their critically acclaimed album Carnival. Now, with the release of Wake earlier this year, they are riding a wave of good reviews from Rolling Stone, as well as NPR’s The Record and Fresh Air.
Coming up within the tradition-minded bluegrass world, Strutters spent her youth in a family band with her father, a good daughter learning tradition. But since she’s been leading her own band, the Party Line, Struthers has poured more and more emotion into her song-writing, coming up with some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists.
She challenged the legacy of the murder ballad by giving voice to one of its silenced female victims on “Willie,” the most memorable track from her 2010 debut album; her song “Two Women,” from last year’s Carnival, considered the cruelty of slavery from the point of view of both a female slave and the wife of the slave owner who abused her.
Struthers can also write a summery tune or get down with her band on an instrumental jam. She’s a serious artist with a light heart; a collector of vintage dresses who’s also a bookworm, and a former English teacher.
On her new album, Struthers also reveals herself as a rocker. The sound of the Party Line has progressed to include propulsive electric guitar and drums, and Struthers’ sweet voice is shows an edge, the better to meet the challenge.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Children 17 and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the Fourth Avenue Gallery in Marlinton.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request by calling 304-799-6645.
The Opera House Performance Series is presented with financial assistance through a grant from the WV Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts. Support is also provided by Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals.