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Carolina Chocolate Drops, Live in Cullowhee, NC

Never in my life had I seen so many people in this venue, WCU's Fine and Performing Arts Center. The stuff they usually put on is, shall we say, stodgy - you know: stuff meant to appeal to retirees. So I was surprised - I'm tempted to say amazed - at the turnout. The joint was rocking. There was a component of the crowd, stage left, that was dancing up a storm, the old-timey equivalent of a mosh pit. I couldn't help but be impressed by the rowdiness of the crowd. A good sign. The band plays fiddle tunes from the 20s and 30s and other old-timey music. How can they pack a house like that? Are there really that many fans of this sort of music? The only explanation I can think of is that these were festival folks: people who've seen them before at Bonaroo, etc., and who are loyally following them.

Anyway, as I said, the music is old-time fiddle and banjo stuff, with some bones, some Piedmont fingerpicked blues, a touch of gospel, and lots of fiddlin' and lots of banjo pickin'. Much of it, stuff that can be clogged to. In fact, they had guest cloggers, who themselves were a hit. Perhaps the fact that this "hillbilly" music, usually considered "white," is being expertly performed by a trio of African American musicians explains something ... though I'm not sure exactly what.

Anyway, a good time was had by all, including by me.

I especially liked a tune from their new album called "Snowden's Jig (Genuine Negro Jig)." I couldn't help but think of it as a sample for a truly happening hip-hop number. Give me love and props when it happens.

Their web site.

Speaking of live music, in October I'll be seeing Ghostface Killah and Unknown Hinson in the space of three days! Viva la live music!



Even MERvp was there

It was truly an impressive turnout for the Chocolate Drops. I am not sure whether to be proud as an alumni of WCU or astonished. What I think it is, is that the Drops are an anomaly. What is now white folk music was, of course, originally African/African American. They are trying to get back to their roots, I think. The crowd watching, I wonder, may think of them as black face minstrel performers. Regardless of what people are thinking when they are watching/listening to their music is that they are extremely talented young performers. Each person is strong in the group with every instrument and each person has an extremely good voice. This was my 5th time to see them, and each time I am pleased, but from the aspect of hoping that people realize what they are trying to do and not what they may look like.

Re: Even MERvp was there

I was looking for you MER, but it was so crowded I couldn't find you. I had the loony toons CD in my pocket that I promised you on your birthday! Of course you are correct in everything you say. So I'll see you for jass up in Glenville, 10-2?


Re: Even MERvp was there

Oct. 1. Friday. Sorry I missed you at the Drops show also. I was unsure if you were going to go. I look forward to seeing you and also getting my new music. Yippie!

October 2018



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