Though she’s young, Carley Arrowood is already something of a musical veteran. Singing since she was old enough to talk, she’s been playing fiddle for over thirteen years and has spent the past five years as a featured band member with the award-winning duo of Darin & Brooke Aldridge.
Carley 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. Her career progress flourished through high school, as she began to work at Dollywood, competed in and took home trophies from an impressive list of fiddle contests, and became one of the featured musicians in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) annual Kids on Bluegrass program.
A developing songwriter Carley's “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. Since then, she’s 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.
On the heels of her debut single “Dear Juliana,'' Carley Arrowood is quickly becoming a consequential new voice in Bluegrass and Americana music. With a vocal delivery that contains sincerity, power, and musical ideas that cover territory beyond the assumed landscape, Arrowood shows depth and insight.
For her new single, Arrowood delivers a heartfelt “The Ballad Of Calvary,” memorably framing the sacred story of the crucifixion in a setting that reaches through the sounds of her Appalachian musical heritage to find their Celtic roots. Surrounded by tin whistle, guitar, electric bass, percussion, and her own fiddle, the singer’s voice recounts the familiar tale in a rising, cinematic arc that leads from hushed contemplation to the bold assertion of faith in the song’s closing line, “the story doesn’t end at Calvary.”
For Arrowood, who wrote it, “The Ballad Of Calvary” is a gift. “All I really know to say about this song is that the Lord gave it to me. Three years ago I was messing around on the guitar while watching a movie called ‘Son Of God,’” she recalls. “And in the scene where Jesus is carrying His cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, the first line of the song just hit me: ‘He’s the beautiful Savior.’ I played some minor chords and came up with the progression, and I knew right then it was going to be an emotional, Celtic-sounding song. After that, my heart rate went up. I prayed, ‘Lord if you want me to write this song, give me the words. I don’t want to mess this up.’ Five days later, the night before our homecoming service at church, I was tweaking the last chorus and it was like God said, ‘Stop, Carley. It’s done.’ I got chills and started crying happy tears, and I sang it at church the next morning.”
“I hope this ballad helps listeners know that God truly does love them, so much that He sent Jesus to Calvary to die for them,” Arrowood continues. “But more importantly, as they’ll hear in the last line, the story doesn’t end there, because He was raised to life again so they may have new life in Him.”
We know that with Carley Arrowood's God gifted exceptional talents we are sure to be hearing so much more from her in the near future.