Skip to main content

New Carolina Chocolate Drops Lineup Plays on PBS Video

Shortly before winning a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, the Carolina Chocolate Drops announced a new lineup and the departure of fiddler Justin Robinson. The Drops added multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and human beatboxer Adam Matta to replace Robinson, who provided much of the group's old-time vibe with his bowing and singing.

Ever since, I'd been wondering how the new makeup of the Carolina Chocolate Drops would sound. Now, I no longer have to guess, as the group was featured on the 30-Minute Music Hour on Wisconsin Public Television.

As you can see from the video, it appears Matta has taken over playing the jug--albeit without the jug--from Dom Flemons, who in the video concentrates on four-string banjo and sings. Rhiannon Giddens handles the fiddle duties and adds her solid vocals. Jenkins plays bones, guitar and mandolin and sings a song.

On the program, the Drops' sound leans more toward early jazz and blues than old-time. And of course, they play their no-routine "Hit 'Em Up Style."

Matta's other beatbox noises blend in well to the band's overall sound, but his singing leaves a bit to be desired. The CCDs continue to perform as tight as ever. However, I'm a bit sad that the group seems to be steering away from old-time.


  1. Sorry, my video embedding skills are not so awesome.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Clawhammer Picks and You: A Review

Clawhammer picks are a useful tool for increasing volume or to overcome fingernail challenges, such as broken, too short or weak nails. There are all sorts of commercial and homemade solutions available for banjo players, but it can be difficult to decide which options to choose. Thankfully, I've already done some of the work for you.
Just to be clear, I prefer my natural fingernail for frailing. However, there was a time when I experimented with regularly using a pick, and there are instances now where I find that a pick is necessary. Today, I'll take you through the five options I've tried. These are all available online at prices ranging from about $1 to $13.

Reversed/Reshaped Dunlop Pick ($0.75)
This was the most common suggestion before other companies started addressing the gap in the clawhammer pick market. Take a bluegrass pick, flatten it out and wear it backwards. The problem is that it's hard to get the fit right. While Dunlop picks are cheap and readily avai…

Getting Blitzed with Tom Collins

A little more than a year ago, Salem, Massachusetts-based banjo player and teacher Tom Collins embarked on a yearlong project he called Banjo Blitz. The weekly YouTube series provided short banjo lessons on technique. Each video is about five minutes long, give or take, and presents a short pattern — or “ostinato” — designed to teach and improve a specific aspect of banjo playing.

The mission was to get the audience “to practice clawhammer in discrete chunks every day without the burden of trying to memorize tunes,” Collins says. He wanted to build skills rather than repertoire.

“Let’s take the tune off the table,” says Collins, who has been teaching banjo for 11 years. “Let’s focus on a simple, mantra-like ostinato that can train your body how to execute a technique properly, while training your ears how to hear it properly. Let’s also make it so that you can do this every day without it sucking every spare minute from your life. The big dirty secret about learning how to play an ins…

The Ongoing Search for Ohio's Old-Time Fiddle Repertoire

Since the beginning of my journey into old-time music, I have sought to find a connection to my home state. After studying the recorded repertoire of a dozen old-time fiddlers who spent a majority of their lives in Ohio, I have compiled a master list of more than 300 tunes. By cross-referencing this list, there were 12 tunes that I identified as “common,” based on their appearance in the repertoire of at least three fiddlers. The results of my findings follow.

This is far from a scientific method or academic study. I do not claim to be a musicologist or folklore scholar. I welcome any feedback.

Common Tunes:
Arkansas Traveler BirdieCumberland GapDurang’s HornpipeForked DeerGrey EagleJune AppleLeather BritchesMississippi SawyerRaggedy AnnTurkey in the StrawWild Horse At some point I would like to put together a list of tunes that are unique to Ohio or have a particular connection to an Ohio locale, such as Lonnie Seymour’s “Chillicothe Two-Step” or Arnold Sharp’s “Anna Hayes.” However,…