Almost seven years into their relationship, Nashville-based singer-songwriters Ben and Emily Roberts have gone through a series of milestones in the last year.
Under the name Carolina Story, the married couple has released two well-received, Americana-inspired EPs, “Chapter One” and “Chapter Two,” played the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage four times in three months and made their Americana Music Festival debut Friday night at the Listening Room Café.
“It doesn’t get any bigger of a stage than the Grand Ole Opry for a lover of [traditional country,]” Ben said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon.
While the their careers seem to only be going up, the Roberts’ humble beginnings are still fresh in their minds. Meeting in a parking lot of Memphis’s Visible Music College in August 2007, Ben and Emily began dating and eventually performing together shortly thereafter, with Ben playing accompanying guitar for Emily’s solo performances. The couple then decided to formally start performing as a duo while on a trip to North Carolina, hence the name Carolina Story.
“It was the perfect marriage in my eyes,” says Ben. “A musical partner and a girlfriend.”
The duo followed Emily’s desire to pursue a career Music City settled into East Nashville four years ago and haven’t looked back.
“Nashville just seemed like the next stop on the train,” Ben said. “Nashville has shaped who we’ve become musically so much in the last few years.”
Aside from their blossoming musical success, Carolina Story went through a life-changing event off the stage—the birth of their first child, Bruce, on Sept. 12.
“Once he was born and everyone cleared out the hospital room at 4:30 a.m., we picked up a guitar and sang to him,” said Ben. “That was the first thing we did with him. He opened his eyes, and that was the first time we got to see his eyes.”
Becoming parents hasn’t slowed down Carolina Story’s trajectory. They played their Americana Fest showcase on Sept. 18, just a week after Bruce was born.
“[We said] come hell or high water, we’re gonna play,” Ben said. “He’s healthy, happy, and Emily’s doing great…Now are we getting enough sleep? Probably not. But I think that comes with the territory.”
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To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email firstname.lastname@example.org