For a wonderful write-up on Liz&Tim and the new CD "Rust & Rain" in the weekly Norris Bulletin from February 17, 2016, click here.
With haunting two-part harmony and arresting arrangements, Liz&Tim’s musical style gives a fresh perspective to the lasting themes of traditional mountain music: longing for home, love of people and place, the power of stories, and the need to laugh even in the face of troubles.
Liz McGeachy and Tim Marema both grew up in homes where music was a central focus of family and community life. They began singing together in 1986 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they were both in the graduate program in journalism. They were married in 1989.
Tim described the duo’s musical influences this way to a radio reporter in 2001:
“Right when Liz and I first met we had a common musical interest. We both have strong ties to the mountains of the South, and we both grew up in families where singing was an important part of family and community life. So our music comes out of that mountain tradition and the emphasis that our families put on singing.
“We’ve got a lot of reasons for singing. One is that we just love to do it. It’s something that we can share and enjoy together. You can’t stay angry with somebody when you’re singing harmony with them.
“Another part of it comes from our families. Every family, whether they’re aware of it our not, has a heritage — a culture of family and of community. Tapping into that culture, understanding it, and honoring it are important. That heritage is something that can bring you lifelong joy and comfort. And for us, music is central to that.
“Finally, in the material we select, we try to take older songs or songs that have older musical styles associated with them, and bring them into a contemporary context where people today can enjoy them all over again.
“We’ve both dabbled with songwriting, but we’re far more comfortable with the old songs, or the new songs that draw on those traditional roots. Love, struggle, joy, death, humor — it’s all there in those old songs. Our goal is to help people hear the power and beauty and relevance of that music. And to make our voices blend together when we do it.”
Liz&Tim have performed at such festivals and venues as the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset, Kentucky; Mennofolk in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia; the Lavender Festival in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville, North Carolina; Mary and Martha’s Place in Atlanta, Georgia; Seedtime on the Cumberland in Whitesburg, Kentucky; and Historic Rugby Theatre in Rugby, Tennessee. They sing regularly at community festivals and events and in church. (Check out their Performances page)
Tim is vice president of the Center for Rural Strategies and the editor of the Daily Yonder, and Liz is a writer and poet and works with Money-Mindfulness. They have a son, Walker Marema, and a daughter, Graham Marema, who are also musicians.
Photographer: Shawn Poynter
Musicians: Liz McGeachy & Tim Marema