Carley Arrowood began playing in a classical vein, but soon gravitated toward the Bluegrass music and fiddle tunes of her western North Carolina home. With her sister, Autumn, she formed a band called Carolina Jasmine, which became the first all-female group to win the Junior Band Championship at the famed Fiddlers Grove convention.
Arrowood's career progress flourished through high school, as she began to work at Dollywood and competed in and won trophies in an impressive list of fiddle contests, becoming one of the featured musicians in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) annual Kids on Bluegrass program.
A developing songwriter. her “Jesus Drive The Train,” a co-write with the award-winning Becky Buller, earned her a showcase appearance at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in 2015. Carley’s been recognized for her fiddle playing as well, receiving an IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year trophy in 2017. And in 2014, just a day after graduation, Carley began filling in with Darin and Brooke, joining them full-time that fall after turning 18.
She performed with the duo at the Grand Ole Opry, on television shows like “Larry’s Country Diner,” on European tours and at bluegrass festivals and concerts around the country. Now, she's beginning her solo career, with seasoned talent and a voice all her own, ready to share her perspective with original songwriting and moving vocal performances.
There’s something special about seeing an artist take a first step into the spotlight of a solo career. and now is just that moment for Carley Arrowood. For those immersed in the world of Bluegrass, her name may already be familiar from her years as an accompanist who’s appeared at venues as famed as the Grand Ole Opry, but now she’s stepping out on her own with a deeply personal approach to every aspect of her music, from original songs to moving vocal performances to supple, distinctive instrumental work.
On her debut single for Mountain Home Music Company, Arrowood captures the priceless moments of childhood from the perspective of a dad watching his little girl grow up. “Dear Juliana”, a song Arrowood says is one of the easiest God ever let her write, matches a heartfelt, heartwarming story to a sweetly resonant melody and subtle, sympathetic harmonies and instrumental support.
The idea came to her after visiting with Bob Kogut, who built her instrument. As he was installing her pickup, he told her each fiddle he builds is named and each has a significant story behind it. Hers was called Juliana, after the granddaughter of his close friends. “When he told me about this little red-headed, blue-eyed girl, and her special relationship with her dad, I immediately related because I’m a daddy’s girl, and I had a vision for the song. I wanted to write it in the perspective of a dad, as he’s watching his little girl grow up through the years. He recognizes the small but priceless details of his daughter’s childhood, and is jotting them down in a journal or baby book as they come to mind,” says Arrowood.
When Arrowood finished the song, she and Thrailkill took a video of it and sent it to the real Juliana's grandparents as a surprise. “Her grandmother responded saying she was in tears, and that I had no idea how the song was such a blessing to them,” says Arrowood. Then the family shared a part of Juliana’s story Arrowood hadn’t heard. “When she was a baby, Juliana was kidnapped by her own mother, and for almost six years her family searched for her. It was on the news, and people around the country were praying for her to be found. God answered in His timing, and she was found safe,” says Arrowood. “When I read this, there were certain lines of the song that suddenly came to have deeper meanings than originally intended, and it made the song come to life more. I couldn’t believe how God orchestrated this. The story goes on, and Juliana’s dad now has full custody of her. She has a very happy life with him and her sweet grandparents, stepmom, and even a new baby sister! She just celebrated her 9th birthday. Some of her favorite things are swimming, going to the beach, holding her baby sister, singing, and dancing. You’ll find a fun section in the song with this imagery!”
While Arrowood has yet to meet Juliana and her dad, she says she can’t thank them enough for letting her tell their story. “Their faith in God is amazing and it is a lesson to me to just trust Him more. He works all things for the good of those who love Him,” says Arrowood. “My hope for this song is that it helps listeners to just take a breath and think about all the little details of life, especially with their children or young siblings or family members. Cherish every moment because time flies, and all the moments are precious.”
Through this crisis follow Carley on line and join with her in prayers for healing.