CHUCK JOHNSON & CHARLYHORSE + RB MORRIS – Tickets – The Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC – February 16th, 2017


MaxxMusic & the Evening Muse present


Thu 2/16

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Evening Muse


This event is all ages

Americana music encompasses a number of broad categories these days, but in the case of Chuck Johnson and Charlyhorse, there’s only one defining factor -- and that is that it remain honest and authentic. Consequently, Charlyhorse deserve credit for creating a sound that shows a reverence for timeless tradition, while still managing to come across as fresh, vital and engaging. It’s an inherent ability that reflects their credence, skills, talent and dedication.

Granted, Americana is a crowded field, and it’s sometimes difficult separating the would-be contenders from those whose instincts are mostly second nature. Chuck Johnson and Charlyhorse find a fit in the latter category, not only because their music sounds so authentic and
familiar on first hearing, but also because their creative talents seem borne from the honesty and integrity synonymous with the heartland. They spin tales of rural environs, populated by fiery evangelists and homespun philosophers, the people that populate small Southern towns and places where optimism is often in short supply. They find resilience and resolve in the most unlikely circumstances, imparting lessons cobbled from tattered designs. Then again, the band’s commitment to craft has to do with more than simply making music. Their’s is a fiery mix of passion and purpose, a steadfast devotion to shared sentiments and an unshakeable bond with both their audiences and each other.

It’s little surprise then that the North Carolina-based band’s new album, Barb Wire, factors in several seminal sources. It echoes with the sound of Americana’s original musical mainstays and all the usual sources -- the Byrds, the Band, the Burritos, the Eagles, the Allmans, Johnny Cash, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Prine and all those others who transformed a rugged sensibility into music with infinite appeal, making it feel universally human and humane in the process.

It’s little wonder then that both their individual and collective efforts have reaped a fair amount of recognition, including such accolades as the Charlotte Music Award (Singer/Songwriter of the Year, Americana Artist of the Year), a pair of Music Guild Award nominations (Best Duo, Song of the Year), and supporting slots for a number of like-minded headliners (Keb’ Mo’, John Cowan, Reckless Kelly, Marty Stuart, Eric Taylor, Jonathan Byrd and Randal Bramblett among them). They’re also drawing audiences on their own in increasing numbers up and down the East Coast, from North Carolina to Washington D.C. to New York, New Jersey, New England and beyond.

The band’s origins can be traced back to Johnson’s initial efforts to establish his own niche as a singer and songwriter. “I was making a little bit of noise,” he recalls. “Not a lot, but enough to be noticed. I never had a regular band, other than the occasional makeshift group when a particular situation called for it. I had no idea what a true band was. So when I got a call to open for Keb’ Mo’, I knew the duo I had at the time with bassist Tom Kuhn wasn’t going to make the kind of impact that the occasion demanded. Tom knew this exceptional guitarist and dobro player named Dale Meyer who he has played with in a band called Red Rocking Chair. Dale was in heavy demand and so I didn’t know if he was willing and available, but he agreed to take part regardless.”When the three convened at a small rehearsal studio, it was clear almost immediately that they had struck an instant rapport. “You know what you know what you know,” Johnson remembers of that first meeting.

“It all kind of came together naturally,” Meyer recalls. “And when we played that first gig opening for Keb’ Mo’, the reaction from the audience was absolutely incredible.”

That was January 2014. It was at that moment that the three decided to continue their collaboration and go about the task of assembling a permanent band. They went through various configurations, but never fully felt right in terms of personality and ability. When the group finally fully connected after the addition of keyboardist Dennis Johnson, and ultimately drummer Jamie Brock, Johnson was convinced they had found the right musical mix of influences and intuition. “I learned how cool it is to be in a band where you have five guys all focusing on the same intent,” Johnson says now. “There’s a bonding process that takes place, and it’s that bond that allows all the pieces to come together.”
“We cover a wide range of material and it seems to work well,”

Meyers adds. “At this point, all we need is an audience, and then the rest flows naturally from there. Chuck’s songs have these immediate hooks, and the stories he spins are about everyday life. And for me personally, I just love being in a position to share those songs.”
“We tend to sing to people and not at them,” Johnson maintains. “The crowds are as much a part of our performance as we are. If people relate to the material, it becomes this intimate atmosphere where the walls between the artist and the audience comes down completely. It’s instantly comfortable and I think that’s what people gravitate to.”
“There ‘s no pretense in this band,” Meyer insists. “There are no divas, nobody seeking to upstage the others. We’re one unit bound together for a common purpose and it’s obvious that we’re having fun in the process.”

For his part, Johnson couldn’t be happier with all that’s transpired. “I’m really proud of this band and proud of this new album,” he declares. “We went in to the studio, put our nose to the grindstone and came up with something that I consider absolutely extraordinary. It’s a reflection of what makes this band so exceptional and I’m honored and privileged to be a part of it.”
RB Morris is a poet and songwriter, solo performer and band leader, and a sometimes playwright and actor from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has published books of poetry including Early Fires (Iris Press), Keeping The Bees Employed, and The Mockingbird Poems (Rich Mountain Bound), and music albums including Spies Lies and Burning Eyes, and his most recent solo project Rich Mountain Bound. He wrote and acted in The Man Who Lives Here Is Looney, a one-man play taken from the life and work of James Agee, and was instrumental in founding a park dedicated to Agee in Knoxville. Morris served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at The University of Tennessee from 2004-2008, and was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. He currently lives in Knoxville with his wife and daughter.
Venue Information:
The Evening Muse
3227 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC

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