This weekend, NC State Live hosted husband and wife duo Zoe & Cloyd at the Howling Cow Creamery, featuring live music and frozen treats. 

Husband and wife duo Zoe & Cloyd debuted on NC State’s campus this weekend at the Howling Cow Dairy Education Center and Creamery. Situated off the Center’s back porch, the band performed on a temporary stage amongst a sea of pasture. 

Attendees had the opportunity to taste NC State’s famous Howling Cow ice cream straight from the Creamery. Members of the Raleigh and NC State communities gathered together to listen to Zoe & Cloyd while sitting on lawn chairs, picnic blankets or the steps of the Creamery itself.

The combination of live music and delicious ice cream created a relaxed yet dynamic atmosphere.

Abby Johnson, a first-year ​​studying fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, attended the concert. A native of the Appalachian mountains, she discussed Zoe & Cloyd’s refreshing take on “old-time” Appalachian music.

“I grew up in Avery County, which is on the border of Tennessee,” Johnson said. “My favorite genre of music is folksy music, specifically looking at Appalachian music.”

On Sunday, Zoe & Cloyd performed a series of songs that showcased their version of Appalachian music. In a fun homage to Pack football, Zoe wore red pants to the concert. Although Cloyd tried to convince us that they were burnt orange, we at the Technician appreciate the sentiment. 

According to their website, Zoe received classical training for fiddle and voice in her home state of Massachusetts. Her husband Cloyd is a 12th-generation North Carolinian with a background in bluegrass.

“I really like any music that you can truly hear the variety of instruments,” Johnson said. “So, I guess, that would make it bluegrass.”

The music played by Zoe & Cloyd captivated both concertgoers and some of NC State’s dairy cows. In the field adjacent to the Creamery, a herd of Holstein Friesians (think: black and white) gathered at the fence-line to listen as the concert began. Enraptured, they stayed there until the concert’s conclusion.

“I enjoyed the music the most at this concert,” Johnson said. “Hearing the instruments that I don’t often hear.”

On their website, Zoe & Cloyd explain that differences in their musical upbringing influence their take on Appalachian music. Zoe Weinstein infuses her vocals and fiddle-playing with elements of jazz and klezmer. The klezmer genre originated in Eastern Europe where it is derived from Jewish musical tradition.

Cloyd, on the other hand, is an award-winning songwriter with multi-instrument proficiency. Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, Zoe & Cloyd have created four studio albums. The most recent, Rebuild, will be released in fall 2021.

Zoe & Cloyd, when not on the road, are instructors in the traditional music program at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. 

“I would definitely attend more events like this,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy lesser-known bands getting a chance to show their talent.”

This concert and others like it are organized by NC State LIVE. The performing artists at LIVE events prompt discussion and inspire community engagement. NC State LIVE selects these artists based on their connection to diverse communities and their commitment to incorporating relevant, authentic issues into their work. 

For those who missed Zoe & Cloyd, check out the NC State LIVE website for a schedule of other musical groups coming to campus. Upcoming events include: saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.