Husband and wife, John Cloyd Miller and Natalya Zoe Weinstein, form the duo Zoe & Cloyd, performing and teaching bluegrass, old-time, and American roots music.
John Cloyd Miller is a 12th-generation North Carolina native and grandson of pioneering bluegrass fiddler, Jim Shumate. John grew up in Alexander County, where he was exposed to the popular music of the day, as well as the fiddle music of his grandfather. While John proceeded to learn some piano, drums, and eventually guitar, he says that the traditional music was also part of the soundscape. “Stuff like Doc Watson and Bill Monroe was always around,” John recalls. After graduating from Appalachian State University, John moved to Utah, where he found other musicians interested in bluegrass and traditional string band music. “I started hanging around people playing this music and realized that I knew the material,” John says. “I started playing mandolin, and it felt very natural.” John joined the bluegrass band, Lo-Fi Breakdown and spent seven years touring extensively. On trips home to North Carolina, John spent more time with his grandfather, and after he moved back east to Asheville, they did some performing together. John accompanied Jim Shumate and Clarence Greene on some gigs, including a memorable road trip that left a lasting impression.
John met fiddler, Natalya Weinstein in music circles around Asheville in 2005, when they were paired together in pick-up bands. Natalya grew up in a musical household, and her grandfather was a full-time klezmer musician. She started Suzuki training on violin at a young age, and she is an accomplished violinist. Natalya turned her attention to bluegrass and old-time fiddling, particularly southern styles and the playing of Jim Shumate. She filled in on fiddle some with Lo-Fi Breakdown, before she, John, and Will Straughan created the acoustic trio, Red June. The band’s self-released debut album, Remember Me Well, was voted #1 regional release of 2010 by the discerning listeners of WNCW radio.
Today, John and Natalya primarily perform as their duet, Zoe and Cloyd, focusing on traditional music of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, in addition to their own song writing. Natalya has composed numerous fiddle tunes, in addition to lyrical songs. John has been writing songs for decades, and he was the first place winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest and an Artist Fellowship recipient for songwriting from the North Carolina Arts Council. Zoe and Cloyd have released two full-length albums, including Equinox in 2015 and Eyes Brand New in 2017. The band was selected as the first place winners of the 2015 FreshGrass Duo Contest. They have performed at Merlefest, Music City Roots, and many other regional and national venues.
In addition to performing, recording, and writing, John and Natalya are both busy teachers and instructors. They both teach lessons at Warren Wilson College, conduct some private lessons, and have been instructors in various community music programs. They have also given workshops and demonstrations at festivals, schools, and other events.