Being in a touring band can make one pine for home.
Good remedy for that? Name your band after your hometown and bring those good feelings and memories on the road with you.
That’s exactly what Caroline and Whitney Miller, the sister duo behind Western North Carolina’s Maggie Valley Band, have done. The sisters took the name of their hometown for their band and, after being raised in a house full of music after dabbling with busking, have hit the road.
The Maggie Valley Band recently released their debut record, The Hardest Thing, which features harmonies that only sisters can make together and noted guitarist and songwriter David Mayfield in the production booth.
I recently touched based with the Miller sisters to chat about the new record, working with Mayfield, and the best things about their hometown.
BRO – Let’s go opposite the record title. What’s the easiest thing about making music with your sister?
CM – When it comes to the actual music, we never disagree. It’s incredible we don’t have differing opinions on whether it should be softer of more aggressive. She’s my best friend, she’s the only one I don’t have to impress or fear losing.
WM – She’s always got my back on stage! We both have the same passion and same level of commitment. I never have to second guess her commitment and work ethic for the band. It really helps to have the same philosophy.
BRO – I am very familiar with David Mayfield as a songwriter and a performer. How was it working with him as a producer?
WM – It was absolutely amazing. He had so many great ideas, but he was always careful to make sure we got our say on it. The entire time we were recording was so much fun and such a positive experience. I don’t think there is a nicer or more humble person out there.
BRO – Favorite sister band?
CM – Rising Appalachia.
WM – The Lewis Family comes to mind.
BRO – “The Hardest Thing” is a featured track on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
WM – Well, it definitely started with a relationship I hated to see go, but it’s about doing the right thing even when it’s hardest. That might be leaving a relationship, depending on the level of commitment or if it’s truly the best for someone, or retiring from a career if it’s the right time. Sometimes, doing the right thing has no immediate pay off until so much later and it’s hard to see.
BRO – I love it when a band pays homage to its hometown in the band’s name. If I end up in Maggie Valley, where is my can’t miss/have to visit spot?
CM – Thanks so much. We wanted to give back to the valley that raised us. We’ve lost a lot in the valley in the last couple of years, but for me it would be Raymond Fairchild’s Maggie Valley Opry. Where else can you pay $5 and see a national banjo champion four times a week?
WM – Yes, and I would add The Stompin’ Ground to join in on the clogging tradition. It opened in 1982 and has held square dances about every weekend since.
Caroline and Whitney have a pretty quiet tour schedule for the rest of February, but they will be all over North Carolina come March. For more information on the band, the new record, or when they will hit a stage near you, please check out the band’s website.
Be sure to check out “The Hardest Thing,” along with tunes from Caleb Caudle, Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers, The Oh Hellos, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.