This Former Pot Smuggler Is Outlaw Folk’s Newest Star


Photo by Kevin Schumacher

Photo by Kevin Schumacher

Last week, Todd Snider’s mentoree, Rorey Carroll, joined him at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. The tour and collaboration have been long and strong, and Todd’s pride in his discovery shines through.

If only Rorey had as much faith.

“Welcome to an awkward 35 minutes with Rorey Carroll,” she began, moving on to confess to having snorted Adderall and taken “a few” shots of tequila before coming out to perform. She did look nervous and a little drunk as she told us about her last gig in NYC, playing in the subway tunnels for change. The change was clearly drastic on her psyche and in the cozy Gramercy Theatre, but she’d earned it, whether or not she owned it.

With a deeply beautiful and haunting voice, Rorey played songs from her new album Love Is An Outlaw with the grace of an old pro. Eyelids heavy, but songs on point, poignant and utterly breathtaking. As her minutes moved on, her in-between stories gained in confidence, and she concluded the set with her title track, its name taken from Tom Robbin’s masterpiece, Still Life With Woodpecker.

Having interviewed Rorey twice, her nerves seemed unwarranted. We’re talking about a woman whose innocent appearance earned her the spot as a driver for serious marijuana farms in and around California, driving dozens of pounds at a time over to the South where kind buds are so very much needed. She was even eventually busted with 27 pounds, but with the help of good lawyers—and, “I think because I’m white”—Rorey got off light and is now clearly a free bird.

Discovered in the driveway of Leftover Salmon, strumming guitar and singing songs she’d written, this new lifestyle may be an adjustment, but it suits her and will hopefully be the stepping block needed to launch a lovely career. Her abilities as a lyricist and singer shine on stage and on her latest album. Though as soon as this tour comes to a close, she’s back in the studio and literally loaded with more material.

Outlaw folk is thriving, and Rorey Carroll is its newest champion, whether riding high on the tour bus or keeping it real with journalists and fans. To follow Rorey and her blossoming career, visit roreycarroll.com.

  • Photo by Kevin Schumacher

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