In 2005, three young musicians decided to travel every Thursday night to sit in the home of legendary fiddler Joe Thompson for a musical jam session. When the three students decided to form the Carolina Chocolate Drops (pictured), they did it mostly as tribute to Thompson, performing his music in dance halls. Specializing in traditional southern music but with a modern twist, the band was an upstart in a stable of deep tradition.
American musical legend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr.—along with his band, Buckwheat Zydeco—is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana zydeco music. Over the course of 30 years, Buckwheat Zydeco has gigged with everyone from Eric Clapton to U2.
If old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler music-making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. She—a singing, songwriting, clawhammer banjo player—is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past. With her newest release, City of Refuge, Washburn crosses over into something completely different than her fusion of American folk with far-flung sounds.