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Bynum Front Porch Music Series kicks off 5th season

By Molly Matlock Parsons
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005

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Bynum Front Porch Music Series will kick off its 5th year anniversary on Friday April 1 at 7 pm with the Two Dollar Pistols!!

The Bynum Front Porch Music Series runs every Friday evening rain or shine, April - November at the Bynum General Store located at 950 Bynum Road, Bynum, NC 27228, just 2.5 miles south of Fearrington Village

Since their formation in 1996, the Two Dollar Pistols, led by baritone singer John Howie, Jr., have gained the respect of country music fans worldwide through international touring and four critically acclaimed releases. With a soulful honky-tonk country sound as their foundation, the Chapel Hill-based Pistols drive their music home with an energetic edge that leaves their audiences wanting more.

The Two Dollar Pistols' debut, 1997's On Down the Track (Scrimshaw/Mammoth), was greeted with immediate regional praise and quickly climbed into the Top 20 of the Gavin Americana Chart. In 1998, the Two Dollar Pistols began their relationship with Yep Roc Records by recording a spirited live set, Step Right Up. The album earned the band two awards from Austin, TX's 3rd Coast Music magazine, "Best Live Album," and "Best Male Vocalist" for Howie.

In 1999, following several enthusiastically received local gigs together, the band and Tift Merritt were coaxed into the studio to record a set of duets. The resulting 7-song EP release, The Two Dollar Pistols With Tift Merritt, quickly became a fan favorite and was Merritt's (now a popular Lost Highway recording artist) first CD recording and release.

The Pistols' 2002 Yep Roc long-player, You Ruined Everything, was a full band effort with a line-up featuring Howie, Scott McCall (lead guitar), Neal Spaulding (bass) and Mark A. Weaver (drums). With tracks ranging from danceable shuffles to country-soul tearjerkers, the album showcased Howie's warm baritone vocals and managed to conjure a classic, timeless feel while maintaining a contemporary honky-tonk sound and attitude. The band a group of players capable of shifting gears from a Buck Owens/Ray Price-styled shuffle to a soulful weeper without missing a beat played the US and abroad and built up a committed following for their live shows.

Which brings us to the Pistols' third studio full-length, Hands Up!, recorded with producer Brian Paulson (Wilco, Son Volt, Slint and many more) in the band¹s stomping grounds of Chapel Hill, NC. With the core group of Howie and McCall intact and with the addition of bassist Mark O'Brien and drummer Matt Brown, Hands Up! delivers 11 original tunes, including several Howie/McCall co-writes. There's also a co-write with Illinois transplant Joe Swank, "It's all Fun and Games, 'Til Someone Breaks a Heart."

Hands Up! explores Howie's fascination with Nashville songwriting and arrangements ­ from the "countrypolitan" sound of Glen Campbell's '70s hits to the yearning country-pop of a Roy Orbison-inspired tune ­ all deliverde in Howie's rich, signature baritone vocal style.

Howie recently told the Independent Weekly that he hopes that people will think of the Pistols as "a country band that likes R&B, that likes rock'n'roll, that likes rockabilly, that likes The Beatles, but not a rock'n''roll band that likes country music." What the Two Dollar Pistols are about is crafting fine songs and playing great music ­ period."

Here's a brief bit more about Bynum Mill Village and the Bynum General Store Front Porch Music Series.

We've presented such artists as:

Grammy nominee, Tift Merritt
Southern Culture on the Skids
The Red Clay Ramblers
Trailer Bride
Claire Holley
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
The Williamson Brothers Band
The Countdown Quartet
Kenny Roby
The Bluegrass Experience
And many, many more

Many of the musicians we've hosted openly proclaim this as their favorite venue. People attend primarily to enjoy the music, and the atmosphere is unlike anything else in this region.

The Bynum General Store is the last of five country stores in this town, and it serves as our only remaining daily gathering place. It is clearly responsible for making Bynum the tight and supportive neighborhood that it remains, and not a day at the store passes when visitors won't find some of us sitting around the checkerboard swapping news and discussing local issues.

Without the store, we would just be another bedroom community. We owe much to our performers for helping us keep it open. Incidentally, they were also pivotal in helping us garner the support necessary to succesfully overturn the Postal Service's 2002 decision to close our community post office.

We hope that our series will continue accomplishing the following objectives:

* Attract more business into the Bynum General Store as a means of supporting it, the Post Office, and the continuation of the music series.

* Lend musicians a comfortable setting to test new material and to gain more public exposure.

* Expose audiences to a variety of artistic styles and traditions that they might not otherwise encounter.

* Bind the Bynum and surrounding community more tightly together by offering them a weekly event where they may congregate on a regular basis.

* Foster a greater appreciation of Bynum as a unique location and encourage a desire to help us preserve it.

Thank you for supporting the Bynum Front Porch Music Series and the Community of Bynum!!

Related info:
Two Dollar Pistols
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
Bynum Front Porch Music Series kicks off 5th season
The Bynum Front Porch Music Series runs every Friday evening rain or shine, April - November.

Related info:
Two Dollar Pistols
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