grass stains: Carolina Chocolate Drops – “Genuine Negro Jig”

Photo by Julie Roberts -

Another group of fresh faces on the Telluride lineup this summer will bring the sounds of the Piedmont Plateau (that’s the Carolina foothills of the Appalachian Mountains) out West. Durham’s Carolina Chocolate Drops is bringing back 1920s black string band and jug music. With their new album, Genuine Negro Jig, set to release from Nonesuch Records in the UK next week and worldwide in the next few weeks, the band is currently touring the Northeast before jumping across the pond for a few shows.

Their sound is unexpected to say the least. Jug music tends to all sound the same and their self-titled album (though still brilliant) has that feel, but there’s great variety with Genuine. There’s plenty of old-time, a jug rendition of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘em Up Style” and then a little acapella from opera-trained  Rhiannon Giddens, who plays the five-string banjo and fiddle on other tracks.

See below for a great video introduction to the band below that I found on the Nonesuch site, a review from the BBC and link to their MySpace page. NYC can see them at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday, March 14th.

Carolina Chocolate Drops on MySpace

BBC Review of Genuine Negro Jig