Though she emerged from the same surroundings that produced grunge gods Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, singer-songwriter Zoe Muth's doesn't sound anything like them.
Muth and her band, the Lost High Rollers generate a sound that would be at home on a scratchy vinyl record you might uncover in a Texas antique shop. Her voice elicits comparisons to the some of the most-loved country and Americana singers.
But Muth says she's not trying to sound like anyone else or sing with an accent she doesn't have.
"My grandpa's from West Virginia originally, so maybe something's in my genes, I don't know," she says. "I try to keep that in the back of my mind, not trying to imitate something that's not me necessarily."
Perhaps its her influences that are sounding through, since she admits she rarely listen to new music.
"I don't really aspire to be like any of that old music, but those were a lot of my main influences, old folk music and old classic rock," she says.
Muth says she knows her style doesn't entirely fit a genre; in fact, she wonders how much she fits in the music industry at all.
"I'm still trying to figure out what to do in this profession," she says. "Sometimes I think maybe I was meant to stay in one spot and have a nice garden or something, be a good cook or something."
It's not that she doesn't love the music; it's just that she wonders whether she has the personality for it.
"Sometimes I say, 'Oh, I don't feel like talking to people tonight,' and people say, 'Man, you're in the wrong profession. You should be more exuberant and lively, and that's totally not me at all. But I still love when we get up on stage and are playing. It's amazing."
As she settled into the music industry, Muth is also setting into a new location. She moved to Austin, and the band is currently working what Muth calls the "dive bar circuit."
"There's so many musicians there, it's hard to make your name or even make a living," she says. "I think bands that can make a living doing the Texas dance halls can do a lot better. We do play a lot of country dance music, but I also like to do a lot of long story songs that haven't necessarily worked, but we're working on it."
Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers sang "I've Been Gone," off their “Starlight Hotel” album, in Lake Effect's Studio C1.They played a concert earlier this month at Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson. Our in-studio performance was engineered by Jon Strelecki.