Time Sawyer is interested in “real people and real songs” and that’s just what the listener finds in their music – a sense of realness. Time Sawyer blends a grassroots feel with heart-felt lyrics to put on an entertaining show. From introspective ballads to high-energy crowd-pleasers, Time Sawyer’s songs land in that rootsy sweet spot where folk, alt-country, and rock gather for a good time.
The folk rock band’s name reflects the pull between the past and the future. The character Tom Sawyer evokes the rural background and love of home that lead vocalist/guitarist Sam Tayloe and vocalist/banjo player Houston Norris, share. Time is a muse for songwriting; it’s the thread that runs through life, bringing new experiences and giving us a sense of urgency, while still connecting us with our past.
Time Sawyer has performed on the stages of some of the Southeast’s most iconic festivals, including Merlefest, Floydfest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Rhythm n’ Blooms, Carolina in the Fall and IBMA’s Bluegrass First Class. They’ve shared bills with Langhorne Slim, Phil Cook, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Wood Brothers, Joe Pug, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and many more.
The band’s original members, including guitarist Kurt Layell and drummer Clay Stirewalt, along with Tayloe and Norris, started performing and recording together while they were all students at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. They went on to record five albums together, each demonstrating growth, with more skillful instrumentation and more sophisticated arrangement, all while retaining the honesty and directness that has been a hallmark of their music from the start.
Today Time Sawyer is Sam Tayloe and Houston Norris, who are joined by some of the region’s most talented instrumentalists, allowing the band the flexibility to perform as an acoustic duo, a six-piece band, or anything in between.
The memorable lyrics and strong melodies result in songs that will stay in your head long after the music stops. Time Sawyer continues to develop a loyal and growing fan base. Whether they’re playing in an intimate listening room or a large outdoor festival, their goal is to forge a face-to-face connection with the audience so that they become friends who happen to be fans.
"Standing at the crossroads of rustic folk, mountain bluegrass and rocking alt-country, Elkin, N.C.’s Time Sawyer is a young band with plenty of old soul. They craft catchy, uplifting, not-too-polished tunes that retain the uncertainty and grit of daily life. The hooky but rough-hewn indie Americana of Ryan Adams, Justin Townes Earle and Jeff Tweedy are obvious influences, but the band’s roots stretch far and wide to include echoes of Buddy Holly’s rockabilly shuffle and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan’s countrified warble. With an average age of 24, the foursome is energetic — they’ve released four albums in three years — and musically mature, weaving banjo, guitar and harmonica into an easy-going, organic sound that seems to have sprung fully formed from the Yadkin Valley soil.
-Pat Moran, Creative Loafing CLT
“Their sound [is] more a crossroads between early Jeff Tweedy, Uncle Tupelo alt-country, and modern indie-Americana superstars like Mumford and Sons and The Head and The Heart. Their songwriting is charismatic, and they are all technically capable musicians”
- S. Preston Duncan, RVA Magazine
Time Sawyer have back country America dust layered finely in their songs. The folk rock the band delivers has an easy Americana texture, influenced by peers from Poco through The Jayhawks and beyond."
- The Alternate Root
"Time Sawyer was one of the bands to walk away from the Tennessee/Virginia border with honors".
-Elizabeth Murphy, Lauren Fyfe, & Rusty Odom - Blank Newspaper's review of Bristol Rhythm & Roots '12
"Their sound took me back to beach trips as a kid, when we'd listen to Ryan Adams' 'Gold' over and over while we passed sand dunes and sea grass. It's pure American, with hints of blues here and there".
- Avant Greensboro
"I have to say that this CD [Time For A Change] reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan. Strong, meaningful lyrics, simple and accessible melodies, and there's even something in your voice that sounds like Dylan, except that you can sing. The arrangements are great! This is a fine CD."
- Dan Joseph: CKWR-FM 98.5 in Waterloo, Canada