The Blue Ridge Mountains wind through eight states over a stretch of 615 miles. In Virginia, they overlook Franklin County south of Roanoke. Back in the day, bootleggers would refer to the area as “The Moonshine Capital of the World” due to its perfect placement to export contraband. These days, the textile mills of Rocky Mountain and other once cozy-towns have shut down, leaving minimal opportunity and a lot of hopelessness. At the bottom of the Southwest Virginia foothills half-a-mile from the nearest neighbor, Colby Helms resides in an “underground house” built by his late father. He chops wood daily for the stove, hunts, and takes care of his mom. He also pens the kind of raw and real country music that cuts to the bone. At 12-years-old, Colby endured the loss of his dad due to cancer. Beset by sadness and loneliness, he turned to music. He taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos. He amassed a growing record collection, combing through the stacks at flea markets and browsing eBay. Joined by his band The Virginia Creepers, he cut his teeth with countless gigs around the area. He also shared a series of arresting D.I.Y. performance videos on YouTube, including “Smoke and Flames.” With starkly honest songwriting and a sharp angular twang to his vocals, he struck a dynamic balance between country storytelling, blue grass energy, and blues power. After signing to Photo Finish Records, he introduces himself with a series of 2023 singles and his forthcoming debut album.