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Reaching beyond the lonely grit of mountain music, four piece string band Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends hearkens the richness of the Americana Folk Revival at its finest. Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends is fronted by singer-songwriter Steph Stewart on guitar and banjo and features Omar Ruiz-Lopez on fiddle and mandolin, Mario Arnez on guitar and Nicholas Vandenberg on upright bass. Together, Steph and her boyfriends deliver a haunting sound both unique and satisfyingly familiar, fusing old Appalachia and top-shelf Americana.
In June of 2013, the group released their debut album Over the World Below. While this may be the first full-length album from Steph Stewart and the Boyfriends, the journey behind its Appalachian-tinged Americana is as engaging as the music itself.
A native of tiny Catawba, N.C., Stewart tried out life in Sweden and Seattle after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill only to feel the pull of her home state. Returning to the Triangle, she emerged with a renewed sense of purpose and a passion for the roots music of her youth that had never truly left. With the Boyfriends’ clean instrumentation setting the scene, Stewart’s distinct voice conveys these stories with considerable grace. At once youthful and wise, her timbre recalls the genre’s legendary sirens while maintaining a confidently modern sound.
The group is quickly becoming a prominent fixture in the North Carolina music scene, playing several local festivals and sharing bills with nationally touring acts The Black Lillies, The Last Bison, The Stray Birds and Lost in the Trees. In 2012 Our State Magazine selected the song "Wake Me Carolina" as a finalist in their songwriting competition. In May 2013, ReverbNation selected the quartet to play the Carrboro Block Party at Cat’s Cradle. January 2014, Belk selected the group, out of over 2000 submissions, to audition alongside 32 artists for their Modern Southern Musician Showcase.