Shay Martin Lovette grew up paddling and playing soccer in Wilkesboro with his brother Chad. Every spring, Lovette watched musicians and their followers flood his little mountain town for Merlefest, the popular roots music festival. More and more came each year as the festival grew. Lovette took notes from legends like Doc Watson and young arrivals like the Avett Brothers. He also listened to his father strum, and decided to pick up a guitar himself.
In 2010, Lovette placed second in Merlefest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, giving him the greenlight to pursue music more seriously. A few years later, he recorded an EP with his brother months before Chad died of brain cancer in 2016.
Two years afterward, Lovette released his first full album. “Swift Drifter” is a collection of travellers’ tunes floating between the pain of separation and the thrill of discovery. When playing with his band, the surrounding instruments don’t hesitate to slowly dislocate and trickle around Lovette’s lyrics. He paints haunting scenery populated with risk-taking mountain folk.
Shay Martin Lovette performs tomorrow (Aug. 3) at Reevestock Music Festival in Elkin, Aug. 10 at Isis Music Hall in Asheville, Aug. 24 at High Country Beer Fest in Boone, and Sept. 7 at the Wake Forest Listening Room. His music is available on all streaming platforms and for purchase on Bandcamp.
Lovette joins guest host Anita Rao to play some of his music and discuss the upcoming album that he is producing in Chapel Hill with Joseph Terrell of Mipso.