While still in her 20s, Nora Jane Struthers made a drastic career change and never looked back.
"I taught high school English for three years in Brooklyn before trying to make a go of music," she says. "I grew up in a town that was very college prep-oriented and had a great school system. I knew I would go to college, get a degree and get what I would call a real job.
"I didn't know it was possible to be a musician. I thought it was something people did for fun, unless they're a rock star."
Fortunately, Struthers listened to her heart and today is a rising star in the Americana genre. She and her band, Party Line, will perform April 4 at the Landings Club.
"I've never been to Savannah," Struthers says. "It's one of the cities I've heard about for years and years, so I'm really excited."
Struthers' father, Alan, also is a bluegrass musician.
"My dad plays banjo and guitar, but he's more of a hobbyist," she says.
While Struthers planned to keep doing music, she didn't look at it as a career until she met professional musicians.
"I started coming down South and going to fiddlers' conventions and was welcomed into that community," she says. "Just getting to know a few people who made their livings as musicians made it possible for me."
Even so, leaving a steady job as a teacher was hard.
"That is the scariest part, especially when everyone you know in your community and family does have that certainty," she says. "The difficult thing is to break out of your comfort zone. Now, I wouldn't go back."
Struthers' new album, "Carnival," debuts April 16.
"It was recorded in October and November of last year," she says. "It has 14 original songs on there, 12 written all by myself."
In "Carnival," Struthers crafts vignettes about imaginary people. It follows her 2010 debut album "Nora Jane Struthers" and "I Heard the Bluebirds Sing," an album recorded with her father as the duo Dirt Road Sweetheart in 2008.
Members of Struthers' touring band, Party Line, are bassist P.J. George, drummer Drew Lawhorn, fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis and Joe Overton on banjo.
"I wrote a song about the old party lines when telephones were first installed and the community would share one line," Struthers says. "You'd pick up the line and hear someone else's conversation.
"We wanted to have 'party' in the name, which hopefully evokes what our stage show is like."
In the age of technological communications advancement, one of the few times strangers share experiences is when they see a concert, she says.
"The idea of bringing people together in real life and connecting through shared experiences is really important," Struthers says. "It's something I want to fly the flag for."
After being chosen "best band" at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, Struthers and Party Line member Gregory joined Bearfoot, a Nashville-based band that started in Alaska.
They toured France and Germany as well as the U.S. and recorded an album before she decided to devote her time to her own band.
Most of Struthers' original music is story songs.
"Both my parents have degrees in American studies and literature," she says. "I grew up in a house full of stories. I think through listening to and reading stories about other people, one becomes more empathetic."
Struthers loves performing as well as song writing.
"There is something transcendent about both experiences," Struthers says. "Writing is a solitary experience, and performing is a public exchange."
In Savannah, Struthers and company will do it all.
"We'll play all the songs from our new album and a few from the first album and another I made with my dad," she says. "We'll even do a few songs I worked up with the band getting ready for our next project."
IF YOU GO
What: Nora Jane Struthers and Party Line
When: 7:30 p.m. April 4
Where: The Landings Club, 71 Green Island Road