Music review: The South Carolina Broadcasters

May 25, 2013 

  • Old Time The South Carolina Broadcasters Short Time to Stay Here

The South Carolina Broadcasters are about as perfect an old-time trio as you’ll ever hear. And “Short Time to Stay Here” is a brilliant recording, with instruments providing luxuriant atmospheres for the trio’s riveting lead and harmony singing.

David Sheppard (guitar), Ivy Sheppard (fiddle), and Sarah Osborne (banjo) share an uncanny blend of voices that unite in that magic space where frequencies transform to a single, vibrant chord.

With passion, power and precision, they carry forward the inspiration of the Carter Family, whose 1920s and ’30s recordings provide the model for the Broadcasters and other contemporary old-time string bands.

The latest CD from the band, which recently moved to Mount Airy, features several songs popular in the old-time heartland stretching north from Mount Airy to Galax, Va.: “Brown’s Dream,” “Let Me Fall” and the Grayson and Whitter classic, “Short Life of Trouble.” David Sheppard’s “Waiting for My Darling” fits seamlessly with the Carter Family’s “When I’m Gone” and “Blue-Eyed Boy.”

The Broadcasters excel on old-time gospel. Osborne’s solo on “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room” shines the spotlight on her as one of today’s most compelling voices singing old-time country songs.

The trio’s a cappella rendering of “Where the Soul Never Dies” highlights their ethereal harmonic blend.

And Sheppard conjures the fire-baptized affirmation of Brother Claude Ely on Luther G. Presley’s “I’ll Have a New Life” as a transcendent flight from this cold world to the Promised Land.

Hank Williams’ “Sing Sing Sing” closes this splendid recording, which masters the difficult challenge of capturing in the studio the energy and spirit of the band’s live performances.

The South Carolina Broadcasters will appear at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro on June 29, and July 26 at the Bynum Front Porch Series.

Correspondent Jack Bernhardt

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