July 14: Carolina Chocolate Drops
Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style of music as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” The band, which formed in 2005 in North Carolina, got their initial start on the music festival circuit and soon shared the stage with Taj Mahal. In 2007, they appeared in Denzel Washington’s film The Great Debaters and joined Garrison Keiler on Prairie Home Companion. A year later, they received an invitation to play on the Grand Ole Opry as the first black string band to perform on its stage. The release of their latest album Genuine Negro Jig this year has confirmed the group's place in the music pantheon. With its tongue in cheek, multiple-meaning title, the album ranges boldly from Joe Thompson’s Cindy Gal to Tom Waits’ Trampled Rose and band member Rhiannon Gidden’s acoustic hip hop version of R&B artist Blu Cantrell’s Hit ‘Em Up Style.