Friday, March 23, 2012

That Coastal swing

It's hard to grow up in North or South Carolina and not be exposed to beach music. It's pretty much in our blood.

Well, an article from Wrightsville Beach Magazine is an insightful one about the genre.

Its a hot summers day. Its the rushing wind through a topless car. Its a midnight stroll on the beach. Its a hotdog on the boardwalk. Its a trip to the fishing hole. Its boy meets girl. What is it, you may ask? It is the smooth, coastal sounds of southeastern Carolina beach music.

For nearly 50 years, beach music has engaged multiple generations in a musical tradition that was born in the Cape Fear region. It is the convergence of soul, rhythm and blues, country and a little bit of rock and roll. All of these influences are wound up to produce a sound that is distinctively regional and characteristic of the fun-loving lifestyle that is portrayed in the lyrics.

On a Thursday night in Wilmington, N.C., Jim Quick and Coastline take the stage at a local music venue. The dance floor is empty, but all of that changes once the band plugs in. Vibrations bounce from the instruments and speakers off the wall and into the listeners ears, uniting everyone in the room. For some, fond memories well up from within. For others, the music evokes the anticipation of good times yet to be had and memories yet to be made. Like a magnet, the music pulls both young and old to their feet and onto the dance floor.

"It is hard for anybody to listen to beach music and say, I dont like it. It is just happy, feel good music," says Jim Quick, the lead singer and frontman of the band. Quick grew up in Scotland County, North Carolina, in a place known as Gum Swamp. He had his first taste of music listening to the soulful sounds of The Dominoes and Sticks McGhee, which were favorites of his caretaker, Miss Ruby.

Quick and his band began working with beach music legend, the late General Johnson of the Chairman of the Board in the 1990s. It was a chance for the young band to learn from a man that had recorded beach music classics such as "Carolina Girls" and "Give Me Just a Little More Time."

"He was the number one lure," Quick says. "We have to go in and grab those college kids and the General was the best at that. He was a pro." General Johnson mentored Quick, teaching him how to hook listeners and create disarming set lists that had crowds, in a sense, dangling on a string.

At any given Chairman of the Board show in Wilmington, it was not uncommon for the room to be shoulder to shoulder. Lifelong fans would shag dance casually in an open area while college kids crowded the stage, shouting the words of Motown classics that were written decades before they were born.

But this scene is not unique to the Chairman of the Board. Other beach music bands like Band of Oz, which also worked with General Johnson, include songs in their set list that are targeted to attract new generations of beach music fans.

"You will be shocked to see how many high school and young college age kids are out there shagging and just like the beach music," says David Hicks, the drummer for Band of Oz, "but we also want to give them a little bit of dynamite and throw that mix in."

Click here for the rest of the article.

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