Kentucky Songstress, Dancer, & Inspiring Educator.

Carla Gover is a seventh-generation Kentuckian who hails from a small coal town in Eastern Kentucky, and her rural sensibilities permeate the work that she does and the music that she plays. The Old-Time Herald says, “Carla’s music contains the best elements of traditional Appalachian Music, including purity, intensity, integrity, and vivid imagery.” An award-winning singer-songwriter, she has covers by major artists as well as songs in film and documentary soundtracks.  She is the Artistic Director for the Cornbread & Tortillas Collective of Appalachian and Latino artists, and she was selected as a Master Artist in Traditional Flatfoot Dancing by the Kentucky Arts Council. She performs regularly with the #1-charting folk band Zoe Speaks and is active in community building, multi-disciplinary arts projects throughout Kentucky.

Master Artist Fellowship 

I'm happy to announce that my apprentice, Susan Howell, and I have received a Folk & Traditional Arts Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, where I'll be sharing some flatfoot dance traditions from the mountains with her over the course of the next year---the FIRST-EVER award for traditional percussive dance! Photo by Zoey Raven.

What My Mom Taught Me About Making A CD 

So, my mother didn't know anything about making albums per se, but something she DID teach me helped me get through a recent challenge we encountered while making the latest Zoe Speaks CD. See, we found out a few weeks ago that there had been a hard drive crash involving our project, and that data had been lost. It turned out that not all of it was gone, but we were set back several months in having to re-do a lot of our harmony parts and instrumental solos. I felt SO frustrated and put-upon, but after a while a memory surfaced. My mother was a brilliant seamstress (just like HER mother), and she made sure that I learned how to sew when I was growing up. She started me on easier patterns, and we worked our way up. At some point we graduated to making a dress, which required that I learn how to sew in sleeves. And since it was the eighties, those poofy sleeves were popular and I had to sew in GATHERED sleeves, which are especially fussy. Well, even the most experienced tailor can get flummoxed when sewing in a sleeve--you have to turn the garment AND sleeve inside out, and basically sew inside a small tunnel of fabric. There are several points where things can go wrong, and when I was first learning, they often did. I would diligently sew all evening, get the sleeve all pressed and pinned, sew it in, and......turn the dress right side out for the moment of truth, only to find out that I had screwed it up, with a seam on the outside, or the wrong side of the fabric facing outward. Out would come the seam ripper, along with some tears of frustration, and I'd have to take out every stitch I'd sewn and re-do the whole painstaking process. At some point in my feelings of self-pity over our musical setback, I felt like mom was at my elbow, reminding me that sometimes you just have to get out the seam ripper and do it over again. I don't know why this happened, but I am grateful for the real-world lessons my mom gave me that help me to be strong and resilient in the face of challenges, and, just like with that tacky dress I made back in 1986, I am DETERMINED to finish the project and make it better than it was before. Thanks, mom.

New CD Coming Soon! 

I'm so excited to be putting the finishing touches on the NEW album with my band, Zoe Speaks! We have been hard at work in the studio and are very much looking forward to sharing our music with the world in a whole new way! Stay tuned and check back here for updates, or join my MAILING LIST to have the news delivered to you!


Do you ever have so much going on that you don't know whether you're coming or going? That's what the last few months have been like for me, but I have loved it all because I have seen firsthand that no matter how much craziness might be going on in the world, there are still SO MANY goodhearted people who want to come together and sing, dance, love, learn, and stand up for all that is right and beautiful in this world. I will just let the pictures here speak for themselves about all of the wonderful projects I've been lucky to participate in!

Dreams Come True! 

Mark your calendars for August 12, when we will be joining together with other artists, community groups, and the Americana World Community Center to create the 2nd-ever Cornbread & Tortillas Cultural Festival! Thanks to your generous support and matching contributions from the Louisville-based Fund For The Arts, we have raised over $6000 to create a totally FREE festival where all Kentucky residents can feel welcomed and celebrated! More details coming soon!

Singing my new Snowflake song at Women's March on Washington: Lexington! 

There was so much love in the crowd yesterday--the experience of playing for the Women's March will definitely always have a special place in my memory. It was such an honor to stand with so many determined brothers and sisters. If you weren't able to attend a march, and you're worried about our nation, take heart. We have a LOT of work to do, but the conviction (and numbers!) of the marchers gave me such hope. We can work together to make a better world, my friends, as we learn how to be effective in Frankfort, Washington, our local school boards, and beyond. And I'm happy to say you can now purchase my new song here on this website on the music tab!

Help us grow our festival! 

We are SO HONORED to have been selected to participate in the Louisville Fund For The Arts ArtsMatch grant program. From now until February 28 they will match DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR your totally tax-deductible donation to our project, which will culminate with a FREE FESTIVAL August 12th in Louisville, Kentucky.
Please consider putting your dollars toward UNITY and DIVERSITY at the donation page HERE:

Cornbread & Tortillas wins a smARTY award! 

I want to thank and congratulate all the wonderful artists who came together, including the amazing Casa de la cultura hispana and Appalatin, to help create the first Cornbread & Tortillas event, for which we recently received this award from the Kentucky Arts Council for "using arts of all disciplines to explore the intersections between Latin American and Appalachian cultures and promoting cultural understanding." ¡Bien hecho! Coming soon to Louisville, KY!

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Previous events


Appalachian Family Folk Week

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Hindman Settlement School, 56 Education Lane, Hindman, KY 41822

I am so excited about this family-friendly getaway! I'll be teaching old-time flatfooting and, for the first time ever, "Granny Life Skills 101", where we'll quilt, can, sing, and learn how to take care of ourselves the Appalachian way! A whole heap of awesome classes are offered--check it out:

In These Fields: A Folk Opera by Silas House & Sam Gleaves

Capitol Arts Center, 416 East Main Ave, Bowling Green, KY 42101

In These Fields is a folk opera by singer/songwriter Sam Gleaves and novelist/playwright Silas House. The play, which explores the importance of food in our history and culture, covers 175 years in the American South. The monologues, written by House, and songs, penned by Gleaves, create a meditation on the people who have raised, prepared, and partaken of the food of the South.


Songs of Freedom & Justice with Zoe Speaks and friends

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Living Arts & Sciences Center, 362 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Lexington, KY 40508

Throughout the course of our history as a nation and world, music has always accompanied and spurred social change. During this unprecedented time in our country’s evolution, come and find solidarity through music as we sing songs to keep us inspired, engaged, unified, and hopeful. All are welcome and lyrics will be provided. Raise your voice and rise up as we kick off this Gallery Hop and Arts Showcase Weekend in downtown Lexington!

Carla Gover & A Boy Named Banjo

The Burl, 375 Thompson Road, Lexington, KY 40508

I know we Kentuckians have our differences with Tennessee, but let's lay aside the blue and the orange and find our common ground. Join me for an evening of banjos, bourbon, a passel of pickers from the land of Rocky Top, and a whole lot of yee-ha! Ain't we got fun?

Women's March on Washington: Lexington

Fayette Circuit Courthouse, 120 N. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40507

I am excited to be opening our march in support of social justice and equal rights for all with some music. The list of speakers is stunning, with Attica Scott, George Ella Lyon, Reggie Thomas, Silas House, Kelly Flood, and many more. Come rise up with us!


Fall Arts Festival with Zoe Speaks

Josephine Sculpture Park, 3355 Lawrenceburg Road, Frankfort, KY 40601

This is an experiential arts festival – with opportunities to make art or experience & watch demonstrations of exciting new processes and techniques. All workshops are led by experienced artists. All ages and abilities are encouraged, absolutely no experience is needed to participate, just be ready to have FUN! Event is free, parking is $5.

Cornbread & Tortillas Festival w/Appalatin!

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Willie's Locally Known (and other venues), 286 Southland Drive, Lexington, KY 40503

Join us for a day of workshops and fellowship, and a culminating performance with music, dance, stories, and songs celebrating the commonalities of Kentucky and various Latino Cultures! Visit the homepage of this website to see complete details:


Berea Craft Festival

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Indian Fort Theater, 2047 Big Hill Road, Berea, KY 40403

Berea's beautiful craft fair in the woods. I'll be strolling and picking all weekend, so come on out and nab some beautiful art in one of our favorite settings! SATURDAY I will perform with ZOE SPEAKS!


Cowan Creek Mountain Music School

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Cowan Community Center, 81 Sturgill Branch, Whitesburg, KY 41858

Carla is teaching the first-ever MOUNTAIN DANCE STYLE class, which will focus on flatfoot and clogging styles, with some group dancing thrown in for good measure. Fun for the whole family! For complete details visit:


Beer Monday with Casa de la Cultura

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Blue Stallion Brewery, 610 West 3rd St. , Lexington, KY 40508

Join us for a wee fundraising event/sneak peek of some of the artists from our Cornbread & Tortillas project as we begin this exciting collaboration with Casa de la Cultura Hispana. Come and hear music from Brett Ratliff, Arlo Barnette, Zoey Raven, Jeri Katherine Howell, Jorge Luis Ruiz and other special guests!