Season 2, Episode 4
On this episode of the Life in the Carolina’s podcast, Carl is joined by 16-year-old Liam Purcell, a talented musician with a passion for playing, writing, and creating music. Liam got his start at the age of 6 learning guitar through the JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) program after school. By the time Liam was in 3rd grade, his parents realized that his talent needed to be nurtured, so they began homeschooling him to free him up to pursue his music more seriously. He is now taking some on-campus classes at Wilkes Community College and touring with his band. While he plans to pursue a musical degree at a college or university later on, Liam states that once he turns 18, his goal is to begin touring full time.
Liam grew up in Deep Gap, North Carolina, and while his music has taken him all over America and even to Argentina, he will always consider this pocket of Western North Carolina home. He feels that this region of the Appalachian mountains is an excellent place to learn about old time and bluegrass music from musicians whose skills and knowledge of music have been passed down for generations. Liam has been exposed to many other genres of music and he has dabbled in some, and he has come to realize that learning old time and bluegrass music first has allowed him to easily acclimate to other genres more easily.
When Cane Mill Road was given the opportunity to represent American bluegrass music at the World Music Festival in Argentina, Liam’s eyes were opened to the grand diversity of music around the world and he was also affirmed because of the incredible support the band received from the representatives of the other countries. It was during this trip that Liam committed to reading music so his skills could be more beneficial for his future endeavors in composition and music theory.
Liam plays the fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, lap steel, dobro, electric guitar, and electric bass, and over the years he has learned that music is the same regardless of the instrument. The breadth of his instrumental knowledge and mastery has been crucial to his arranging and songwriting pursuits as well as his ability to teach younger kids how to play. This passing down of knowledge is what makes the music scene in the Carolinas unique. Liam emphasizes the importance of the community building that occurs at local jam sessions as well as the collective push towards continual improvement that comes in formal and informal settings.
Liam’s career so far in music has taught him valuable life lessons as well in the areas of relationship building and maintenance as well as the development of internal motivations to keep improving. Liam’s band, Cane Mill Road, has put out 2 studio albums and 1 live album, and he is grateful for his parents and brother for supporting him every step of the way.
Connect with Liam:
Connect with us:
Liam Purcell appeared on Life in the Carolinas in 2015 at the age of 12.
This is the segment: