Muddy Creek Muse: 3 Questions with The Dan River Girls

This Mother’s Day, please join us at the Muddy Creek Music Hall for a special CD release show with The Dan River Girls. These three sisters have been playing music for most of their lives, and are true students of the art of making music. More information is available at

What inspired you to start playing music?

Ellie… I don’t know what inspired me when I first started playing, probably my parents, but as time has gone on, I have been inspired by the ability music has to transcend language, religion, and all the differences that make us human.

Jessie… I started with classical music, which I still love. We started playing bluegrass because it was fun, and because we live in North Carolina, where a lot of fiddle music has its roots.

Fiona… My parents inspired me when I was five years old to start playing cello; Jacqueline Du Pre’s and Sol Gabetta’s recordings inspired me to keep it up; mandolinists such as Chris Thile inspired me to take up mandolin.

What did you enjoy most about the recording process?

Ellie… Whenever I record, my favorite thing about it is being able to freeze the progress we have made as a band and as individual players.

Jessie… Recording: it gives me the chance to experiment more and add lines of harmonies you can’t do in a live performance.

Fiona… I enjoy arranging the songs and writing beautiful harmonies for one instrument that can only be recorded and not played live.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Ellie… Della Mae, Edgar Meyer, Honeycutters.

Jessie…Rex McGee and Martha Bassett (our teachers), Julia Fischer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Della Mae, Alasdair Fraser and Adam Sutherland (Scottish fiddlers we study with in the summer), David Bowie.

Fiona… Della Mae; opera composers such as Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini; our uncle Kevin Burdette, who is an opera singer; Martha Bassett; Rex McGee