Carolina Still is a journey|Acoustic ensemble brings unique sound to Turnage

Published 8:48 am Friday, July 24, 2009

By Staff
Special to the Daily News
The Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, in association with the Turnage Theater, will continue its Pamlico Opry summer series of concerts Saturday night with a performance by Carolina Still.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 each for adults and $5 each for children age 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door or may be purchased in advance through the Turnage box office by calling 252-975-1191.
The concert will also introduce the group’s latest CD, “SHACK #9.”
Carolina Still is not your traditional bluegrass band. It is a hard-driving, acoustic quintet with a distinctive new young sound and an old-time feel — the result of a potent blend of the musical styles of old time, bluegrass, country, blues, rockabilly, punk and more. The band’s sound is deeply rooted in traditional music, but it is delivered with lots of energy and originality. The band will take you down on the farm, out into the tobacco fields, down a dirt road with a trunk full of ’shine; you never know where they might take you. One thing’s for sure, you will be schooled in Southern American culture after listening to the band’s music.
Singer songwriter, guitarist and, sometimes, banjo-picker J. Alan Casey has assembled a talented ensemble of musicians for Carolina Still’s latest incarnation. Andy Wallach, on the upright bass, is a transplant from the mountains of western North Carolina, having played many years with the old-time band The Corklickers. Billy Smith on vocals and drums adds tight, jazz-inspired rhythm. Pattie Hopkins is arguably among the premier fiddle players in this part of the state. Hopkins is a classically trained violinist who performs with various symphonies. She has performed on stage with icons such as Charlie Daniels and Bobby Osborne. Josh Holton on banjo is the latest addition to the group.
“SHACK #9” is fresh out of the studio and features the traditional songs “Old Joe Clark” (recorded live), “Fall On My Knees” and the title track “Shack #9,” all arranged with the Carolina Still treatment. The rest of the songs on this album are Casey’s compositions and reveal his unique Southern yarn-spinning talent. “Six Gun Sadie” who “was no proper lady” ends up hanging from the gallows. “Blacklung, WV” is a sad recollection of life in the coal mines and “Murder In The Pines” tells a classic tale of revenge. “Carol’s Last Ride” is an original composition written as part of the score for an upcoming documentary film about “The Whirligig Farm.”
Ted Etheridge of Music Box Studios produced the CD, with cover design by Casey.