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Two Established Bands Behind Her, Anya Hinkle Claims Her Own ‘Borderlands’

courtesy of the artist

Anya Hinkle is known largely for her time in the Americana bands Tellico and Dehlia Low. She made moves about two years ago to leave the safety of a band and embark on her own. With the pandemic, those moves grew into a calling.


“I really had an opportunity to perform online and work up all these solo shows because I had to,” she said. “I just had that space and that pause button to naturally grow into becoming a singer-songwriter. That pause button gave me the confidence in those songs, in those lyrics, in the vocals, feeling like that’s enough, without a whole band behind you backing you up.”


“Eden and Her Borderlands” is the new album and, at least musically and vocally, Hinkle straddles the bounds of bluegrass and country, but she’s also sprinkled in lyrics drawn from the social dynamics of 2020. She mentions a song called “What’s It Gonna Take,” which she co-wrote with Graham Sharp of Steep Canyon Rangers.


“We had gotten together to write the day after George Floyd was killed and that’s what was on our minds, and we wrote about the whole experience that unfolded in this country,” she said. “Just that one song I feel was really relevant to what happened last summer and what we’re still processing. That song had to be on the record. It’s an important topic.”


Hinkle is planning performances both with a backing band and alone with her acoustic guitar. Upcoming local performances are July 23 at Bloom in Black Mountain, August 1 at the Grey Eagle in Asheville and August 5 at 185 King Street in Brevard. Hinkle said she has no plans to return as a member of a band anytime soon.


“Doing things by committee is really complicated. It’s hard to get on the same page artistically with that many other creators,” she said. “I find it very freeing to make those decisions on my own and also very disorienting. You have to be stronger. You can’t just look to the other guy or gal in the band and ask ‘What do you think?’ Especially for women in music, it’s a real journey to develop that confidence and belief that you have the answers inside of you. You learn to trust your gut.”

Matt Peiken was BPR’s first full-time arts journalist.
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