Singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett lives and writes in the piedmont of North Carolina, and her songs tend to reflect the stories of the region, both traditional and contemporary. One of the most sought-after voices in creative collaborations, she has toured with Rhiannon Giddens, folk legend Alice Gerrard and composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain. She premiered composer Kenneth Frazelle’s song cycle, Songs in the Rear View Mirror, and has toured with the North Carolina Symphony. She has appeared on Prairie Home Companion and at various music festivals with Polecat Creek, a band she co-founded with Kari Sickenberger.
2014 brought her television debut as a songwriter in the popular AMC series, Hell on Wheels, Rick Clark, Music Supervisor. She co-wrote “Safe in the Hands of God” for episode 401, and wrote and performed “That I May See Your Face” in episode 410.
Since 2006 Laurelyn has partnered with Triad Stage’s Preston Lane on six plays featuring regional folklore and original music: Brother Wolf (2006), Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity (2006), Bloody Blackbeard (2008) Providence Gap (2010,) Snow Queen (2013) and Radiunt Abundunt (2016). An adaptation of Bloody Blackbeard toured NC schools in 2009, and both Brother Wolf and Beautiful Star are published by Playscripts and have gone on to have professional productions in cities across the U.S.
A song from Brother Wolf, “Anna Lee,” was featured on Levon Helm’s Grammy-winning record, Dirt Farmer, is included in the documentary film about Helm’s life, Ain’t in it for my Health, and is featured on the 2011 Grammy-winning cd Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman. Levon Helm said “that woman writes songs that sound like they are three hundred years old.”
Commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony, Dossett and the symphony premiered her new song cycle, The Gathering: A Winter’s Tale in Six Songs, in November 2011. She performed with singer and fiddler Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, legendary Nashville mandolinist Mike Compton, and North Carolina’s own banjo virtuoso, Joe Newberry. The accompanying cd, “The Gathering,” was released to critical acclaim, including top holiday picks from the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and USA Today.
Her song “Leaving Eden” is the title track of the Carolina Chocolate Drops Grammy-nominated release. Playmaker’s Repertory Theatre has received an NEA grant to develop “Leaving Eden” in a play, which will premiere in 2017-18.
In recent years Laurelyn has written songs for various protest movements in North Carolina. The NC Music Love Army included her “My Beloved Enemy” on its 2013 protest album, We are Not for Sale. Another social justice project includes her song and video campaign “Vote Against Amendment One” and she remains an active protest voice for equality in North Carolina. “The River’s Lament” is her testament to the devastation of the Dan River coal ash spill.
Laurelyn has taught songwriting and singing at the Augusta Heritage Center, as well as at many universities, workshops and festivals. She is the 2012 recipient of the Betty Cone Medal of Arts, the 2010 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship for songwriting, 2004 winner of the Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest, and a 2010 fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She lives in Greensboro, NC.
Wrote “Anna Lee,” featured on Levon Helm’s Grammy-winning record Dirt Farmer, and CD/DVD, Live at the Ryman
Wrote “Leaving Eden,” the title track for the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops’ 2012 release
Writer and producer of “The Gathering,” a holiday song cycle originally commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony 2011
Writer of “Vote Against Amendment One,” a protest song written in response to North Carolina’s marriage amendment (which passed in 2012)
Writer or “My Beloved Enemy,” from the NC Music Love Army’s collection of protest songs, “We Are Not For Sale” (2013)