The election is over, the blue states won, and life is good. Although, maybe you haven’t completely gotten over your frustration with Virginia for making last Tuesday a nail-biter. And to hell with most of those corn mash states insisting on running up their rebel flags and not wanting to leave the holler.
Well…call me an apologist for moonshine, cooking with lard, and makin’ love in the summer down by the fishin’ crick, but I can still think of a lot to adore when it comes to our Appalachian and Piedmont and bayou country. To wit, its music. And, Oh Ma, look at these young men being all easy on the eyes while strummin’ and pluckin’ their banjos and mandolins. I’d hide my daughters but I don’t think I’d be heartbroken if one of these boys pulled up to the homestead in his pick-up.
You’re not seeing things. Chris Thile does indeed look – as someone on Facebook noted – like the “love child of Robert Pattison and Jude Law.” That’s some fine genes in those beat up jeans. But he’s not just a sparkly face. This past October, Chris was awarded the MacArthur Fellow “Genius Grant” for his mandolin playing. “The best in the universe” is not hyperbole. Take a gander through You Tube some time and you can find Chris picking jigs and reels with Nickle Creek and Punch Brothers, and then playing Bach or with Yo-Yo Ma on NPR. That’s right. NPR.
And smart? Whoo boy, Chris is smart.
I can listen to him for hours when he’s talking about how much some modern music sucks.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are Grammy Award winners in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album. Yes, they give awards for just about everything these days. But in this case, their 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig lived up to the (very much not mentioned in the mainstream media) hype.
I’ve seen the Carolina Chocolate Drops several times now, and each time I’ve left with a hole in the sole of my shoe from foot-tappin’, and a hole in my heart via my unrequited love for cute geek boys with banjos.
Here’s a song from the new album Leaving Eden.Yes, that’s some beat boxing behind the acoustic instruments.
And yes, that’s exactly what their live shows are like. If you can sit still through one and not leave without at least one crush, you probably can’t be my friend. (My latest Carolina Chocolate Drops crush is actually Rhiannon Giddens, but I hear that’s okay in Maryland now.)
Wesley Shultz and Jeremiah Fraites
The Lumineers. I’m not going to even link to their song “Ho Hey” because you know it by now and can’t get the chorus out of your head. If you haven’t heard the song “Ho Hey”, then sister, you need to adjust your Pandora settings and start hanging out with some people who wear pork pie hats and bow ties. Bow ties are cool.
John Paul White
No, you’re thinking of John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin. That’s okay. They both look like music stars, even if you just see them wandering around the Piggly Wiggly.
John Paul White is another one of those guys who wants to ruin the illusion that he could be your secret Good Ole Boyfriend by having a chick on stage with him. But Joy Williams is so adorably silly and sexy with a voice that raises your roof, that you’ll put up with her. Or crush on her as well.
The Civil Wars’ breakout song is “Barton Hollow”, but for a hint of just how talented these two are, check out their cover of “Billie Jean.”
You think differently about Alabama boys now, don’t you? Pass the moonshine. And have a dip in a cold lake.