Talking Across the Lines

Performing Group

Michael Kline and Carrie Nobel Kline met in western Massachusetts and soon discovered a shared love of social activism, folklife documentation and old-time singing. They Klines perform country harmony duets from coal mining songs to front porch music, often with Joe Blumenthal on upright bass and third part vocal harmonies as well as Jim Armenti on mandolin.

Carrie and Michael Nobel Kline's lives are inspired by Appalachian music and culture. Their voices carry the songs with truth and authenticity, and their guitar accompaniments and haunting harmonies get you where you live. 

Michael and Carrie have performed in Europe and across the United States. As folklorist-musicians they weave songs and stories, evoking the times that really matter, time with family and friends, spiritual times, wrapped in a patchwork quilt of vivid imagery. Kitchen songs. You can smell the biscuits baking.

Michael was staff folklorist for the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society (PVFS) conducting field research in a rapidly changing Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts from Springfield to Northfield in the early 1990s. We Klines left for Wheeling, WV in 1994 to do 160 life story audio recordings for the National Park Service and the City in their pursuit of National Heritage Area status. We wove those interviews into interpretive productions, conversational, multi-voice audio landscapes with music and narratives. We also produced a 22-part human rights radio series for WWVA while there. 

We’ve documented and shared through oral, written and theatrical forms the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley, human experience with the Corps of Engineers, resiliency and chutzpah in Appalachian Queer folk, tobacco culture as well as Black sacred preaching and singing experience in Southern Maryland, ethnic heritage in the Anthracite coal fields of E. PA, and a great deal of expressive culture and narrative in West Virginia, including in-depth work on coal, class and color.

Michael spent three years working with the Cherokee of Western NC. Together we’ve worked with other Indigenous nations North and South and now find ourselves wrapped up collecting and producing from powerful Indigenous narratives in the Valley.

We are available for performances, oral history projects and to teach our workshop, Listening for a Change.;

Primary Discipline

Music - Folk

Additional Disciplines

Humanities - General
Humanities - Anthropology
Humanities - Cultural Heritage
Humanities - History
Humanities - Linguistics
Literary Arts - Poetry
Literary Arts - Spoken Word
Media - General
Media - Audio / Sound
Media - Digital
Media - Radio
Music - General
Music - Children's
Music - Country
Music - New
Music - Traditional
Theater - General
Theater - Musical
Theater - Playwriting
Theater - Storytelling


Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts and Health
Writing Services
Residency - Other
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Residency - In School
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Audio or Video Recording
Broadcast Production
Residency - Production / Development
Performance / Concert / Reading
Residency - Community
Virtual Events
Wedding / Parties / Private Gatherings
Community Arts


  • Non-Print Award through Oral History Association
  • Emerging Crises Award through Oral History Association
  • Rockefeller Scholar through Marshall University's Center for Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia
  • Vox Populi Award through Oral History Association
  • Lifetime Achievement Award at Tamarack, Beckley, WV
  • Media Arts Award, WV Division of Arts and Culture
  • Ford Foundation


  • Ph.D in Folklore at Boston University-Michael
  • M.A. in American Studies at SUNY/Buffalo-Carrie

Professional Associations

  • Oral History Association
  • Appalachian Studies Association

Additional Information

  • Year founded: 1996
  • Is a Teaching Artist
  • Is a Touring Artist
  • Approx. 40 events per year
  • Geographic Reach: City/Town-wide, County-wide, Surrounding Counties/Region, State-wide, Surrounding States/Region, Nationally, Internationally
  • Seasons active: Year round