With a long flowing hair, a youthful smile and a peaceful vibe about her, Rorey Carroll is a young touring musician, singer, songwriter and convicted felon. Years ago, she was busted in Arkansas with 27 pounds of cannabis, taking her to jail, and eventually leading to a conviction. But, that hasn’t stopped or slowed down this wandering soul, a traveling and talented musician who plays whenever and wherever she can. Having began playing music at age 18, Rorey blends bluegrass, folk, country and Americana into her own blend of sounds; her guitar has taken her all across this vast country as a touring musician and more, from Colorado and California’s growing scene in Humboldt, to Tennessee. She has lived in cars, hiked through forests, and even hiked the Appalachian Trail at age 20. She took time to speak with CULTURE and got candid about her run-in with the law, time in the cannabis growing scene, and current tour, opening for fellow country bluegrass folk rock musician Todd Snider.
Tell us about your current tour opening for Todd Snider.
I met Todd through different friends. I was living in Colorado in an RV in a backyard where Vince Herman (from the band Leftover Salmon) lived, and after jamming with those guys who were in bands who played with Todd, and knew him, eventually some of my music got around to him. He ended up loving it and asked me to open his tour, and became another friend.
What was the cannabis growing culture like in Humboldt? Tell us about your time spent working as a trimmer.
I was in that part of California for a couple of years. This was a while ago. I was kind of a little street kid, I lived in Nashville, and it was before I lived in Colorado. I was hopping freight trains and traveling all over. I hopped a train and made it to Humboldt to do some trimming for work while I was there.
“I smoke weed before I write. Always, actually. I use a little vape pen or hit a sativa, I find it can expand my mind and release the critic inside me, then I can write without worrying about the judgment inside me.”
What is the cannabis culture like where you currently reside?
Well I live in Tennessee right now. It’s lightened up in the past few years and it has been decriminalized somewhat for small amounts. But, I am a felon so I am always paranoid. I was busted with a huge amount, so I always have my eyes open and feel paranoid.
Do you see a time when cannabis is legal and decriminalized at the federal level in this country?
I do see that happening on a certain level with states all having different regulations. Places like Alabama or Arkansas, where I got busted. But, it all depends on the voters and how long it takes for more states to jump on board like Oregon, Colorado, and soon California, hopefully. They really need to focus on decriminalization.
Do you think that cannabis can open the mind and stimulate creativity?
Yes, I do. I would say that is accurate. I smoke weed before I write. Always, actually. I use a little vape pen or hit a sativa, I find it can expand my mind and release the critic inside me, then I can write without worrying about the judgment inside me. I know some people do that with booze but I prefer to smoke weed.
Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for anyone who is having legal troubles because of cannabis?
Yeah. You have to do the work, and fulfill all the requirements. I was so lucky to have an attorney who cared and fought for me in court. If you can get a lawyer. Also, don’t flake or ignore your end of the deal. See your parole officer, do everything they ask and stay out of trouble. Having a felony conviction can be tough. You’re in the same category as violent rapists and armed robbers. It’s almost next to impossible to get a day job. My main and most important piece of advice is don’t be an idiot and don’t get busted in the first place!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Once I release my new album on September 9, I am going on a long tour with Todd throughout October and November. Also, here in Nashville, I am in a rock and roll band, and it’s very different from what I do with Todd. People will hear more about that soon, if they can check my social media sites, I am on Instagram and Facebook. My album will be on Spotify on October 12, and I am very excited.