Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Crash Course

mus carolinaNew Carolina Chocolate Drops lineup gets a baptism by fire

Change is inevitable, especially in bands. Members come and go—it simply comes with the territory. Hubby Jenkins—who plays the guitar, mandolin, banjo and bones for the Carolina Chocolate Drops—knows this all too well, as he joined the band just before they started recording their fourth album, 2012’s Leaving Eden.

“Leaving Eden was an interesting album because [fiddler] Justin [Robinson] had just left the group, and they had already decided to record with Buddy Miller, and had even picked the recording dates,” Jenkins says. “It was an interesting time to be coming in, because they were ready to do different things with the new members. So it was a trial-by-fire period.”

Jenkins is not exaggerating when he says there was a steep learning curve. He suspected he needed to get familiar with the band’s most recent work, but soon discovered that was just the beginning.

“When I joined, we had about a month where we didn’t see each other, so I emailed them and asked, ‘What should I be working on? Stuff from the last album?’” he recalls. “They were like, ‘We’ll send you some stuff,’ and what they sent me was their entire repertoire! So I worked on a lot of stuff and tried to memorize as many songs as possible.”

And it only got crazier from there.

“On my first official day, within the first hour, we went to do a radio show, and then the next day we went to a gig, and a month later we were in the studio doing the album. So it was very much like ‘bam’!” Jenkins says with a laugh. “It was wild, because I was really nervous.”

Despite his anxiety, Eden became another fine addition to the Drops’ discography. The old-timey front porch folk of “Boodle-De-Bum-Bum” is a delight, while “Riro’s House” is a rousing, country-style jam that is a perfect fit for a hoedown. And when singer Rhiannon Giddens lets out her soulful vocals on the dizzying bluegrass number “Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man?” she brings down the house in short order. The album is alive with the soul of African- American musical traditions, a constant goal for the band no matter how many personnel changes take place.

“Bands are always changing and evolving, but one of the main missions of the group is to be an all-black string band where we talk about the roots of African-American music, and be a part of that stream of musicians who are keeping that alive,” Jenkins says. “That’s what we’re looking for, members who understand and have a passion for that mission.”

Recently, the band had to go looking once again. At the end of 2013, longtime multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons left to pursue a solo career, and cellist Leyla McCalla— who had joined for their 2012 tour slate—exited for the same reason. In their places are cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett. It’s forced the Drops to evolve once again, Jenkins says.

“Whenever you bring in somebody, it creates a new vibe,” he says.


Carolina Chocolate Drops will perform at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/advance, $30/door. For more information, call 427-2227.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays