Holly Arrowsmith is a small-town girl with a powerhouse voice and passion for nature.
The Queenstown leg of her South Island tour is a homecoming of sorts, back to where the folk singer’s love for music and the environment first began.
Growing up in Arrowtown, her teenage days were spent tramping Tobins Track and Arrow River Trail, lost in the wilderness of her thoughts.
Pining to be close to natural beauty is a feeling that’s never left her — the 25-year-old now lives on a rural property close to Christchurch.
“I think I see metaphors in nature for our own lives,’’ she says calmly.
“The beautiful thing about nature is it’s just doing its thing — it isn’t self-conscious and lets you observe it and you just feel so grounded.’’
However, the once “shy’’ former Wakatipu High School student feels she was a late bloomer when it comes to singing, song-writing and playing the guitar.
“I loved listening to music; I did dance lessons, but my mum said she never heard me singing as a child.
“I just had to catch up to myself in a way because I knew it was in me, but I just didn’t know how to approach it until I was a bit older.’’
At 18, she found her voice and decided to come clean about writing songs while hidden away in her bedroom, and her desire to make a real go of it.
Arrowsmith’s meaningful folk stories tell tales of love, loss and encapsulate the idiosyncrasies of the natural world around her.
Her rich voice and gentle guitar chords are soup for the soul that fans around New Zealand and the world just can’t get enough of.
She was awarded the TUI for ‘Folk Album of 2016’ for her debut record, A Dawn I Remember, and APRA Country Song of the Year 2019 for the powerful track, Slow Train Creek, penned in the Rockies of Colorado.
She’s toured both hemispheres and supported artists such as Sixto Rodriguez, Willie Watson, CW Stoneking, Jessica Pratt, Nadia Reid and Tiny Ruins.
On a spring tour of the South Island, Arrowsmith will be joined by long-time friend and musician Amiria Grenell.
After supporting one another’s solo work for seven years, they’ll tour for the first time as a duo named Coyote, playing a mix of each other’s work and country favourite covers.
Grenell, who’s the daughter of legendary country musician John Grenell, is considered country royalty in her own right, having also won a TUI award.
She grew up on a farm in Canterbury’s Whitecliffs, where her family hosted decades of music festivals in the back paddock.
Coyote grace the Sherwood stage Saturday, 9pm. Tickets $20 from undertheradar.co.nz