Singer Shelby Rae Moore, comes from a very musical Caldwell County family, and she carries on the family tradition leading her band that includes two uncles performing blues, rock, Americana, and soul.
Shelby grew up near the Colletsville community in Caldwell County, and she was surrounded by music at family gatherings and functions. “Every family gathering revolved around music,” Shelby recalls. “We are always getting together and wind up having impromptu jams.” Shelby’s grandfather, Cecil Palmer, is the patriarch of the family, and he was the musical source of much inspiration. Cecil is an expert finger style guitar player, and he passed along skills and inspiration to his sons, Chet and Brent Palmer and nephews, Reggie and Ryan Harris. Shelby frequently stayed at her grandmother’s house, where her uncle was living. They played a lot of music together, singing everything from classic rock and southern soul to Motown music and the blues. Shelby can’t even recall when she first started singing with her family members. “I was singing since before I can even remember,” she says. “I know they were making home recordings of me by the time I was two.”
While Shelby was a frequent participant in the family jams and music gatherings, she was reluctant to take her talents to the stage. “I was really shy from all the attention of performing,” Shelby remembers. “But, traveling around with Reggie and Ryan (Harris), I eventually got used to it.” As a young teenagers, The Harris Brothers invited Shelby to sing with them periodically, and she gained more and more performing experience. She did some singing with her younger sister, and by the time she was 16-years-old, Shelby started her first band with her uncles Chet and Brent. After high school, she added longtime friend, Kurt Stracener, on drums and put more energy into her music and performing.
“I was heavily influenced by lots of old rural blues artists and electric blues music,” Shelby says. “Lots of folk too. When it comes to music, I’m all over the board. I like everything.” Shelby cites artists Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Jerry Reed, and Adele as some of her influences. But, she is cautious to start a list. “Once you start naming artists, dozens more come to mind,” she says. “There are so many who have been influential.”
Shelby’s band, with her uncles, continues to perform at local and regional venues around western North Carolina. The group’s first album was recorded in the first few months of 2017, at Patrick Crouch’s Ticknock Studio in Lenoir.