Joel Timmons (center) pictured with Lovers Leap

Joel Timmons (center) pictured with Lovers Leap

Joel Timmons doesn’t mess around when it comes to making music. Rivaling triple-threat Jack White, Timmons also has three working bands: Sol Driven Train, Sally & George and his current project, acoustic artisans, Lovers Leap. The Lovers Leap quartet is rounded out by his wife and partner in Sally & George, Shelby Means, along with Mary Lucey and Billy Cardine.

This collective of talented musicians makes bluegrassy Americana music so pure and simple that will both delight your ears and liven your spirit. You can hear the debut single “Walnut Tree” here at Folk Alley. Lovers Leap also plays WMOT-FM’s Finally Fridays for free during lunchtime at the Nashville Place on April 5. If you can’t make it, you can hear it on your radio at 89.5 on the dial.

Lovers Leap release their self-titled debut six-song EP on April 19. Thanks Joel for taking the time with our questions eleven!

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I moved from Charleston, SC to Nashville in 2015 for love and music. My girlfriend (now wife, Shelby Means) was living in Nashville, and our relationship was at the point that we needed to live in the same town. My Charleston band, Sol Driven Train, was slowing our tour schedule and it made sense for me to make the jump.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

My first record was Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, purchased on cassette through BMG’s mail order tape club. The most recent was Soul Journey by Gillian Welch, purchased on vinyl from The Groove in East Nashville.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen? 

First real concert was Aerosmith in Columbia, SC when I was 14. Most recently, I saw Justin Hiltner at The American Legion Post 82.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame? 

Langhorne Slim and Jim Oblon

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

I usually brew my own at home, but I also enjoy Dose and Crema. Five Points Pizza for a slice!

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville? 

Gosh, probably the aforementioned Soul Journey by Gillian Welch.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show? 


The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you. 

Molly Tuttle, James Wallace (Skyway Man), Maya De Vitry

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

City Winery, The 5 Spot, Dees Country Cocktail Lounge

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here? 

How about Sizzla? One thing Nashville lacks is a reggae scene.

Finally, what’s in your musical future? 

Touring, touring, touring… Lots of new releases this year. Lovers Leap releases our debut EP this spring. Sol Driven Train has a full-length album coming out in the summer, and Sally & George has some new music coming this fall!



Sally & George
Lovers Leap announce self-titled debut EP, releasing April 19, 2019

For Immediate Release:

Lovers Leap CD Front.jpeg

Lovers Leap announce self-titled debut EP, releasing April 19, 2019

Acoustic music powerhouses make a home together

January 24, 2019 - Nashville, TN - Lovers Leap, a brand new partnership of musicians Shelby Means (Sally & George, formerly of Della Mae), Mary Lucey(formerly of Biscuit Burners), Joel Timmons (Sally & George, Sol Driven Train), and Billy Cardine (Acoustic Syndicate, formerly of Biscuit Burners), have announced their debut EP, Lovers Leap.  Set to be released April 19, 2019, the eponymous collection of songs is a healthy mix of all four member’s backgrounds; beautiful, tight three-part harmony, dobro acrobatics, easy groove, and galloping bluegrass.  Over the course of a year, Lovers Leap was recorded one or two days at a time, dancing around band members’ hectic schedules, in both touring and everyday life.  When possible, the group would retreat to Cardine and Lucey’s home studio in Pisgah National Forest, outside of Asheville, NC.  At the end of a steep gravel road, the group had no choice but to let their surroundings seep into the project. Long walks, tending to beehives, and digging holes for fruit trees broke up routine and refreshed spirits in between song takes, and the songs shine in the laid-back, tranquil nature of the recordings.  The record’s first single and opening song, “Walnut Tree”, was debuted today by Folk Alley. Lucey told Folk Alley, “I wrote this song, sitting on the deck, gazing out at a beautiful giant walnut tree on our mountainside. It’s about the subtle power of nature that can help us along when we are in need of clarity or rejuvenation.”  Hear the song and more about “Walnut Tree” here.

In addition to “Walnut Tree”, Lovers Leap features four more original songs and an album-closing cover of “California Stars”, a tune that came from Billy Bragg and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) completing an unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyric for their albumMermaid Avenue. “Red Dawn Awakening”, a somber prayer for Shelby’s dear friend, patiently graduates into a celebration of life and strength of love in trying times.  “Love Is Gonna Live”, written during the early days of Means and Timmons’s courtship, was originally recorded on Sally & George’s Tip My Heart.  “Love Brewed Cold” is Lucey and Cardine’s rollicking lesson in not going to bed in anger.  As the band says, “It’s a great way to not wake up to cold love in the morning.” The final original tune, “Great Expectations”, was penned by Timmons after Sol Driven Train’s van broke down, causing them to miss their gig opening for Sheryl Crow.  “Great Expectations” leans on the bright side of tribulation; an amusing study of “it is what it is”. Lovers Leap, as a whole, weaves a beautiful, honest tapestry of hope, renewal, nature, and love, leaving nothing on the table.

More about Lovers Leap:

Individually, the members of Lovers Leap have each made an impact on the evolving Americana music scene.  Means began singing and playing upright bass as a young’un in a family band on the high plains of Wyoming.  These talents led her to Nashville where she landed a GRAMMY nomination with distaff bluegrass powerhouse Della Mae.  Timmons, as a founding member of Charleston, SC’s brass-forward jam band Sol Driven Train, has cultivated a grass roots following through the band’s two-decade-long commitment to touring, sonic playfulness, danceable rhythms, and musical independence.  Timmons and Means teamed up in 2017 as husband and wife duo, Sally & George, and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Tip My Heart. Lucey, a founding member of The Biscuit Burners, helped propel the band to international attention with her powerful singing, bass playing, and songwriting.  She also played with Uncle Earl alongside John Paul Jones for their album release tour. Cardine has been hailed as a slide guitar pioneer and innovator, taking the Dobro with him into unchartered genres, teaching around the world and performing from the jungles of India to New York’s Carnegie Hall in addition to being a producer and composer.  As a founding member of The Biscuit Burners and current member of Acoustic Syndicate and Rapidgrass, he continues to show off his chameleonesque voice on all things slide. He has collaborated with greats such as Debashish Bhattacharya and Jerry Douglas. Collectively the bandmates have presented their sound from the Kennedy Center to Bonnaroo, Merlefest to Telluride, and across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.  They each have been musical ambassadors and have taught workshops throughout the country and internationally on their respective instruments. They demonstrate a commitment to building cultural bridges and community through the universal language of music.

Sally & George
Folk Alley song premier: "Walnut Tree"

Song Premiere: Artists In Their Own Words

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Artist: Lovers Leap (Shelby Means, Mary Lucey, Joel Timmons, Billy Cardine)

Homebase: Asheville/Nashville

Upcoming release: Lovers Leap (EP), April 19

Song: "Walnut Tree"

From the band: "This collection is an acoustic double date, four musicians leaping into a harmonious sound that to me is "cosmic Appalachian." It's definitely the grassiest recording I've been a part of, and Billy did a great job engineering and playing dobro. The mountain holler isolation of Billy and Mary's home studio gave the recording sessions a coziness that I can hear, and the songs share themes of nature, love, and growth. I think our voices work together in interesting ways, and I enjoyed sharing songs and working out harmony parts over dinner before climbing a spiral staircase and recording. - Joel Timmons

About "Walnut Tree": "I wrote this song, sitting on the deck, gazing out at a beautiful giant walnut tree on our mountainside. It’s about the subtle power of nature that can help us along when we are in need of clarity or rejuvenation. In Japanese they call it “shinrin-yoku” (forest bathing) and in Scotland, folks can now be prescribed walks in the woods by their doctors. There’s a verse about a fella feeding crows in the city. I know we aren’t supposed to feed animals, but I can’t help feeling joy when you see the happiness it brings people when they connect with plants and animals." - Mary Lucey

Sally & George
Studio time = time well spent!

We're not always "all smiles" during a session, but it sure is fun to get together with your buddies and make music. Billy is a wizard behind the dobro as well as a master mixer. It's a really fun work flow as we record the track live, Billy gets us to a spot we can work from, then Mary takes over behind the tracking station as we lay down vocals.  We have 5 songs recorded currently and are looking to get back in the studio in the fall. Looking forward to sharing our tunes with y'all!

Sally & George