Pickin’ Partners: Larry & Joe Masterfully Meld Cultures On New EP ‘Nuevo South Train: Volume I’

When you think of Venezuela, you may picture the Andes mountains or the country’s diverse flora and fauna. Latin-influenced folk duo Larry & Joe had another thing in mind when making their new EP, Nuevo South Train Vol. 1: the sounds of Appalachian folk. 

This dynamic duo is composed of Larry Bellorín of Monagas, Venezuela, a legend of Llanera music, and Joe Troop, a GRAMMY-nominated bluegrass musician from North Carolina. The two fell into step together when the pandemic sent Troop back home to The Tarheel State after ten years in South America, the same state where Bellorin happened to end up as an asylum seeker. 

Their unique blend of Venezuelan and Appalachian folk on the harp, banjo, cuatro, fiddle, guitar, maracas, and whatever else fits in the van, unites their own unique cultures and traditions, while bringing music to the forefront of social movements. 

The EP opens with a delightfully ear-bending “Caballo Viejo,” a distinctly Latin melody playfully plucked on a banjo. This twangy sound unites with the harp in a sweet story about love’s spontaneity.

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In the titular “Nuevo South Train,” the duo taps into their inner cowboy. Switching between Spanish and English, the masterful duo meet in the middle with a chorus of “choo choos” and “yeehaws.” We finish with the haunting, “La Tonada del Cabrestero,” a folksy ballad that still maintains its Latingrass twang. Over six tracks, the duo blends sound and storytelling styles to create an equally fun and impressive listening experience, blending cultures in dynamic fashion.

Larry & Joe transcend the barriers of language with songs that celebrate love, life, nature, and all the little details that come with the human experience, regardless of your latitude and longitude. At its core, Nuevo South Train Vol. 1 is a gentle reminder that music has no borders.

When they’re not pickin’ on the road or practicing their craft, you might find Larry & Joe enjoying arepas in Raleigh.

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