Curtis Eller is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer. A twenty-year show business veteran, Eller and his band The American Circus have developed a devoted international following based on dynamic, highly physical stage performances and an extensive catalog of curious phonographic recordings. The iconoclastic musician has spent more than a decade relentlessly touring the club, theatre and festival stages of a dozen countries in North America and Europe.
Eller is a gifted and prolific songwriter who's banjo-driven songs describe a dreamlike vision of American history where all points in time have collapsed into one. Past recordings have seen a ghastly parade of historical luminaries, from Abraham Lincoln and Buster Keaton to Amelia Earhart and Joe Louis, sharing the spotlight with a host of Civil War generals and corrupt 19th century politicians. The American Circus is diligently at work on a new full-length album on which they have augmented their indelicate, rock & roll rhythms with a tempestuous cloud of horns and an graceless choir of backsliders in their quest to bring Eller's historically evocative compositions to vivid, cinematic life.
We’re an indie folk band from the North Carolina Piedmont. Our harmony-rich music draws from mountain roots, soul and modern country with influences ranging from Dolly Parton to Tom Waits. Fans will recognize the songwriting of Mary Johnson Rockers, who with various configurations has three full-length albums and one EP under her belt and is noted for "songs that are catchy, well written and eclectic...nearly irresistible." (Chris Parker, Indyweek). With vocalist and collaborator Miriam Chicurel-Bayard, who met Mary on the Nantahala River 20 years ago, bassist FJ Ventre (Jon Shain, Wyatt Easterling), percussionist Robert Cantrell (Hobex, Katharine Whalen) and lead guitarist Eric Haugen (Fake Swedish, The Outboards), Nantahala features some of the area's best talent and delivers an intimate but powerful set that will move listeners to lean in for more.
Remedy (2014) is the latest release by Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark-former iteration of MJR's band that includes most of the current members- offers the same lyrical strength and sophisticated harmonies that they are noted for, with a cast of notable contributors including collaborating songwriter and guitarist Jim Kremidas, James Wallace (Phil Cook and the Guitar Heels, the Dead Tongues, Jeanne Jolly) and Matt Douglas. It was recorded at Good Luck Studios in Chapel Hill, produced by James Wallace and mixed by Chris Stamey.
Nantahala is currently working on a record due Summer 2018.
The JonDoe is a new and refreshing take on the millenial jazz/hip-hop sound. The Durham based quintet delivers a mix of seductive and magnetic vocals on top of potent grooves that make your head nod. You could call their music “soul”, but as soon as you did, you’d notice that what you were hearing has evolved significantly from where you began. The JonDoe consists of Myk’l Hanna along with JC Martin (guitar), Chuckey Robinson (keyboard), Justin Henry (bass), and Devin Fuller on drums. They are currently recording their debut album.
Dex Romweber is nothing less than an icon of the American music underground. Pioneering the template for the stripped to-the-essentials guitar/drums duo format in the (should be) world famous psycho-surf-rockabilly-garage-punk combo Flat Duo Jets—so often emulated, so rarely duplicated—Dex continues his resurgence with the new album Is That You In The Blue? With sister Sara on drums, the Dex Romweber Duo is a potent combo that’ll get your leg twitching with the beat and your heart racing -and sometimes breaking- with the feral excitement of music. If it don’t, you might want to consider turning in your “I Heart Rock n Roll” badge. Seriously.
In Dex, you have someone who burrows into the guts of American rootsmusic with a uniquely alchemical mania; he’s a man clearly bored with, or oblivious to, genre constraints. With a mix of originals and obscure nuggets from rock and roll’s dusky back closets, the DRD romps through the sweaty cinder block studios of Memphis of the 50’s, channels street corners on the wrong side of town with existential blues and instrumentals that’d find a home in a Tarantino spy flick.
It's been about music from the get go. Austin and I crossed paths in 2013 when he spotted me onstage at the Cat's Cradle while opening for Mandolin Orange. He didn't know much about old-time music and I didn't know much about him, but we figured it out. Music is the reason we met. It's our past time and our gift we give to others. Together we've played smokey bars, summer festivals, busked on the streets of Nashville ‘til our voices wore out, put a tune to the love at our best friends' wedding, and led churches in old-time hymns way past it was time for Sunday lunch.
We’re fired up about our sound. We'll turn your living room into a listening room, your child's classroom into a performing arts center, and yourfestival into a memorable event.
From the rolling hills of Staffordshire to the Appalachian mountains, ‘A Different Thread’ play what they call ‘British-Americana’ (and not just because one of them is from the US and one from the UK), their original sound is “nothing short of intoxicating” (Hits In The Sticks) and is inspired by the songs that have crossed and crisscrossed the Atlantic Ocean over the generations in true folk fashion, weaving together elements of country, blues and bluegrass with traditional English folk and the echoes of an old Irish murder ballad.
Now in its tenth year, The Beast is an innovative and electrifying hip hop and jazz ensemble, known for pushing creative boundaries and dynamic collaborations. Straight outta Durham, the cultural and entrepreneurial nexus of a new south, The Beast is a home-grown artistic force, mixing tap-dancers, puppeteers, and spoken word artists into its repertoire.
In July 2017 the band released “Woke,” its second full-length album, produced by Philadelphia native Steve McKie, who has recorded and drummed for Bilal, Jill Scott, Musiq, and others. Emcee Pierce Freelon sums up the meaning of the album:
“There is an awakening, a remembering happening in the United States, the likes which have not been seen since the Black Power Movement. The movement for Black Lives has resurged, and is being led by radical, Black, queer, Afrofuturists - organizers, artists, scholars and citizen journalists. We are powerful. We are envisioning new worlds, and new possibilities for ourselves, here on earth and beyond. In the traditions of Harriet Tubman, and Ella Baker, and Ida B Wells, and Pauli Murray, and James Baldwin, and Nina Simone, and Octavia Butler and Sun Ra - we are on the mothership. Y'all had a good run, but we're evolving. We are infinite. We believe we are super-heroes. We are WOKE."
Haw River Assembly is hosting our 29th annual Haw River Festival.
Join us as we kick off Saturdays in Saxapahaw with a live performance from four local bands!
In order of performance, the bands include:
The Village Band of Chapel Hill
Saludos Compay - Latin - http://www.saludoscompay.com/
Onyx Club Boys - Gypsy Jazz
Jaafar - Middle Eastern Fusion
There will also be a farmers' market, food truck vendors, a silent auction, river monitoring, a parade led by Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and canoe rides for the kids!
One lucky raffle winner will take home a new kayak donated by Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Free Admission! All donations and proceeds from the raffle and silent auction benefit Haw River Assembly and our mission to defend the watershed.