Arnold Hill

Arnold Hill

Waynesville, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Waynesville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Alternative Rock




"Days we left behind: Arnold Hill to play Canton Labor Day"

One of the finer experiences of being a bona fide music freak is to witness and appreciate the growth and development of a particular group. You’re not only seeing new layers added to an ensemble, but also the continued trajectory of their artistic and creative pursuits.

For Sylva-based rock act Arnold Hill, it’s about the addition of lead guitarist Adam Blythe in recent months. Going from a trio to a quartet now opens up a bevy of melodic possibilities, which only strengthens the sonic landscape of its harder, electric sound in our backyard of mostly string and acoustic performers.

With the band now complete and off to the races, Arnold Hill has its eyes now aimed on recording a follow-up album to its 2021 release “How to Run” in the not-to-distant future — the wheels of songwriting and collaboration cranking at an ever-increasing speed of excitement and promise for the young act.

Smoky Mountain News: Where is the band right now, in terms of aspirations, new levels of growth and creativity?

Heath Brown (drums): We continue to refine our sound by writing new music. We’re working to write collaboratively as a band, whereas previously, we wrote in personal time and brought it to practice. We’re always listening to other new artists and each other to decide what we like and don’t like.

Arnold Hill is becoming more individual in our work by developing the sounds we like and dropping old habits from previous bands or projects. Our intent does remain the same in wanting to have fun as friends and musicians while providing quality and professional entertainment.

SMN: You added a new lead guitarist, Adam Blythe. What does he bring into the musical fold that can take the group to new heights?

Mike Yow (guitar): Sam, Heath, and I have known Adam musically for over a decade, as we’ve played with him in several capacities. After our last project with Adam ended when his family moved to Eastern North Carolina, we’d decided that if the opportunity ever came about again, we’d rock with him. Adam and his family moved back to the area recently after about three years, and the decision was a no-brainer to add him to Arnold Hill.

Adam did come to visit during the recording of our last album to hang out and add guitar sound. As a band, we looked forward to adding a different dynamic to songs than what we were able to supply on our own as a trio.

SMN: Take me into the creative realm of Arnold Hill. You’ve mentioned that the band is hitting new and big strides lately, in terms of writing and constructing a fresh batch of songs.

Sam McCarson (bassist): It all starts by collaborating with each other to make a song we all think is interesting and would be enjoyed by others, while also meeting our musical curiosities and passions. Most of our songs are observational or based on some sort of personal experience. We like to write about what we see or feel.

The process starts with a member sharing their lyrics or an idea, and as a band we then work to add music and complete the song. Onstage, we’re then able to not just play the song as we wrote it, but also perform it. Through this, we are able to show our authentic friendship and appreciation for each other — on and off the stage.

SMN: The music industry is an odd place to navigate right now. What are the obstacles you’re coming up against, and how are you able to overcome those things?

Adam Blythe (guitar): The music industry has changed, even from us growing up. Most people aren’t buying full albums or going to see smaller bands or buying merchandise anymore. We’re trying to navigate that, but it’s not our top priority.

For instance, our upcoming projects will have a shorter track list, because that’s how people consume music now. If places stopped booking us today, we’d still meet up weekly for a beer around a bonfire to play and write together. We frequently do live-streams on social media because it’s fun for us and we try link it to a fundraiser or some way to support our community.

For us, we’re all looking out for each other and working on passion projects that we self-fund because we love playing music together. This makes it sustainable, and still feels successful for us — we’re as much in it for the process as we are the outcome.

SMN: Being an independent band in Western North Carolina, what is it about our scene west of Asheville that makes it so unique, rich and vibrant?

HB: The further west you go, there are less dedicated music venue specific places, so you get to be creative with non-traditional spaces, like restaurants, festivals, bars, or outdoor areas. This has taught us how to be professional when it comes to our approach and sound for the folks in those spaces.

There aren’t a lot of “rock” or “alternative” bands in the WNC scene right now, so it’s refreshing to hear when listeners appreciate what we’re doing in these areas. There are also more diverse audiences with tourists and locals to be able to build a crowd or fan base. We also get the opportunity to work more directly with local business owners who share the same desire to build clientele as we do our listener base.

We like playing in our home community and taking care of the businesses that also support us and the local music scene. As Asheville continues to grow, the music scene past Asheville will also continue to present more opportunities. - Garret K. Woodward

"State Lines and Hard Times"

Amid the plethora of talented bluegrass, Americana and string acts in Western North Carolina, the idea of a rock trio is more so a rarity than something one might come across in regional musical circles.

And with its debut album, “Back to Life,” Arnold Hill sets to change the tone and tempo of what folks might expect on a given night onstage at their nearby bars and breweries in our mountain communities.

Formed in 2011, the Jackson County band is named after a road in Sylva where the musicians lived and practiced. In method, Arnold Hill adheres to the playful nature and creative possibilities that reside in a trio. The unique formation can be a tricky line to balance, where you have enough space to explore musically, but also the same amount of space to expose vulnerabilities.

But, for Arnold Hill, it uses the trio setting to radiate an air-tight presentation. With a thick thread of catchy alternative rock running through its core, the band doesn’t shy away from its country and singer-songwriter influences either on “Back to Life.” The 10 song LP finally takes the group out of the live realm and puts its skill set to the test in a professional studio — something strongly proven on the record.

Smoky Mountain News: With “Back to Life,” tell me about the songwriting process and what the band experienced and ultimately took away from the sessions?

Sam McCarson (bass/vocals): The album was recorded this past July and August at Giraffe Studio with record producer/engineer Andy Bishop in Hendersonville. All of the songs on the album were written both years and weeks before the album was recorded, but we played about 12 gigs in two months prior to recording which made the process go smoothly.

By the time we were in the studio, we had the instrumentation basically perfected and that gave us the ability to fine-tune our vocals and solos, instead of doing take after take of the basic structures of the songs.

SMN: What do you see when you look at and listen to all the local groups here west of Asheville? What makes this scene unique, and what will ensure its survival moving forward?

Heath Brown (drums/vocals): We’re incredibly blessed to know and have shared stages with many of the bands in Western North Carolina. I think it’s amazing that this area is finally being recognized for the amount of talent in this part of the country.

The best part about the music scene here is that I haven’t felt like it’s a competition, which can happen in most cases elsewhere. If someone from one band needs something, someone else is going to help that person. We’re a community within a community — the support is overwhelming in the best way possible.

Smoky Mountain News: In an uncertain era of the music industry, what is it that keeps you going and inspired to push ahead and overcome the tough challenges of being a musical act that records and performs in the digital age?

Mike Yow (guitar/vocals): One of our songs from the album, “Barroom Troubadour,” is my story of what happens when the music you’re playing becomes less important than the crowd you’re playing for. Americana doesn’t care about what will appease the masses. It cares about the ones who care to listen.

The best thing about our shows is that there is always at least one person who comes up to us after the show, raving about our original music. Just one person who is willing to hear us and enjoy us makes the show worth playing.

SMN: What does the live setting spark within you, and also within your band?

HB: Playing live music is, without a doubt, my favorite thing to do in the world. I will complain about having to load and unload drums, but when I’m actually playing and people are responding then it makes it all worth it. It is my absolute comfort zone and it is where I am myself. I can be expressive and get out any emotion that I have while playing music.

The best part is that we all know and read each other so well that it becomes more of a show for the audience. We’ve been friends for so long and have spent so much time together, that we can laugh and sing onstage and that energy translates to the listener — live and in the recording booth.

For more information on the group, visit You can purchase/stream “Back to Life” on all online music services. - Smoky Mountain News - Garret Woodward



Arnold Hill is an alternative rock band based out of the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Identified by their lyrical storytelling, rich three-part harmonies, and dynamic instrumentation, Arnold Hill brings presence and energy to every stage they play.

Arnold Hill released their first original LP, "Back To Life", in 2019. As a follow-up to the success of their first album, Arnold Hill has released their second album, "How To Run" in 2021. Both albums can be found on all major streaming platforms.

Band Members