Carolina Chocolate Drops to play Free Summer Concert Series show Friday in Steamboat
July 25, 2013
Steamboat Springs — For Hubby Jenkins, taking the stage with the Carolina Chocolate Drops is as much a life-changing event as a cultural lesson.
Jenkins grew up in Brooklyn playing the alto sax. From there, he played cello, electric bass, guitar, banjo, bones and a mandolin.
"Growing up, Charley Patton was like Jesus in my house," Jenkins said.
It was that twangy, old-time Delta blues that stuck with Jenkins.
When he joined the group in 2010, the Carolina Chocolate Drops were a household name.
"When I joined the band, I didn't realize how big it was," he said. "The first couple months, they won the Grammy. The next couple of months, we're opening for Bob Dylan. It was just all these sorts of things."
The Carolina Chocolate Drops play the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series on Friday in Gondola Square. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with a two-for-one happy hour until 6:30 p.m. Trevor G. Potter opens with the concert's first installment on the Steamboat Stage at Gondola Square at Steamboat Ski Area.
For Jenkins and the band, their sound is about not just making good music but also taking the audience on a historical music journey. The sound — think twangy bluegrass with heavy influences from jazz music of the 1920s and ’30s — sets the Carolina Chocolate Drops apart from other bluegrass bands.
"We bring it," Jenkins said. "The shows vary. There are parts of early jazz, early blues, dialogue, snare drums, four banjos and dancing. Our show is pretty eclectic. We try to get as many different types (of) music and history into it."
The group revives a deep-rooted sound that often is lost. Jenkins pointed to Lenny Kravitz's success being a big part of his upbringing.
It showed "black people don't just rap," he said. "That was a big awakening for me. I got into Jimi Hendrix. I expanded my musical tastes. I've had people come up to me and say, 'I didn't know black people play bluegrass.' There is so much wrong with that. The history of American music is rooted in the history of African-American music."
To Jenkins, this is the dream job. He worked odd jobs around Brooklyn before, playing music when he could. He made crepes and was a secretary for an air filtration company.
The oddest job, though, was being a proofreader for an independent publisher of street and urban novels.
"It was strange," he said. "Ninety percent of the manuscripts were from people in prison. It was all crazy prison and action books."
Don't get the Carolina Chocolate Drops wrong, though. There is history and retrospective in the sound. There are banjos, kazoos, snare drums, bones, jugs, a beat boxer and silky vocals. It's bound to be a good show.
"Whatever the crowd takes us, we throw it back out," Jenkins said. "We've played shows in theaters where people just clapped at the end. If you like us, let us know. If you like it, let everybody know. The band thrives on that."
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@ExploreSteamboat.com
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