When it comes to singer-songwriter acts at Shakori Hills, one act not to miss will be MK Rodenbough, a recent graduate from UNC Chapel Hill. Rodenbough is a self-described Americana artist, who passionately tells her story through the strumming of a six-string, and a voice that feels completely honest, in a way that cuts to the soul.
Listening to MK Rodenbough’ soft, yet powerful, songs is like meeting a new friend and the feeling known them your whole life. Perhaps this is because all of her lyrics come from real events that have happened in her life, mostly during her time at UNC Chapel Hill. From the pits of heartbreak, to finally finding the self-confidence you’ve been looking for, Rodenbough really knows how to capture the more sensitive sides of life in a way that feels relatable and down to Earth.
Rodenbough told me, “I don’t write songs that are about a character, about someone else, I don’t really ever do a lot of storytelling in my music, which I would love to do more of. But when I sit down with a guitar, it is kind of therapeutic. It’s like, how am I feeling? How can I express that with the instrument that I have in front of me?”
Expressing herself through her guitar is what Rodenbough has become known for throughout the local music scene. With performances tightly scheduled between her two jobs, Rodenbough is like many musicians fresh out of college – trying to build a music career with a little bit of time, and a whole lot of heart. This also means working on her debut album, which she is hoping to release either this year, or next year, depending on what time allows.
She continued, “I’m in the process of recording some new material with some new musician pals and a new producer, and trying to find the direction I want to go in after college. Not necessarily a full 180. It’s kind of a cool experience because it feels a lot more intimate, and feels like you’re just with friends instead of a high pressure scenario.”
For the album itself, you can expect some Southern inspired Americana music, and some “sad-girl folk” music. Many of the songs will likely be focused on her experiences as a recent graduate, and all of the emotions that life brings during such a chaotic time. However, Rodenbough also had an opportunity to record her debut album somewhere that was as inspiring as it was beautiful.
“We went to a lake house in February, and recorded a couple of songs. It was just for a couple of days, but it was so serene and a great atmosphere for being creative and putting something together. It literally had a private view onto the lake. So while we were tracking, we were able to look at the lake and it was just really beautiful and inspiring. It was awesome,” she said.
Many of Rodenbough’s debut songs will be played this year at Shakori Hills. You can expect a smaller, more intimate performance from Rodenbough and two of her friends, including Justin Ellis from Happy Abandon on bass, and Daniel Faust on drums.
From the trio, she said we can expect, “A mix of high energy, as well as very mellow songs. This year [I’ve] stripped down the live performance to just me, a bass player, and drums. That’s been really great to make that feel bigger and feel full, even though we don’t have that second guitarist or a keys player or whatever it is. So yeah, people can expect to see me playing some really sad songs with some of my friends.”
Make sure to come check out MK Rodenbough at Shakori Hills this fall; the daily schedule will be coming out soon!