Only a few, however, knew that, after earning her doctorate at Columbia's University of South Carolina, but before joining the Wagner faculty, Ali had recorded an EP of folksie, bluesie bluegrass music, "June July," in a Columbia studio with friend Darren Woodlief. Arant sings and plays the banjo, accompanied by Woodlief on guitar. Here's how the "Ali Arant Music Shop" describes Ali and her album:
Ali Arant, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, started inhaling and playing folk music while she was an undergrad in northwestern Arkansas. She eventually went deeper South, pursuing a Ph.D. in Southern Literature at the University of South Carolina. The day before she defended her dissertation, she was playing banjo at a church fall festival where Darren Woodlief performed, and from his J.J. Cale T-shirt to their mutual love of Gillian Welch, it was clear they should be friends. In the summer of 2013, Ali got a job teaching English on Staten Island in New York City, but before moving, she and Darren recorded “June July,” an EP that features one cover, a few songs she wrote, and a few more they co-wrote.
You can read more about the EP in this review by Kevin Oliver in Free Times, the Columbia alternative weekly newspaper.
And you can download "June July" (at a suggested donation of $5) from the Ali Arant Official Store.