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Wednesday, Jun 23 2010
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Most people can't help but associate the banjo with "Dueling Banjos" from the backwoods nightmare film Deliverance. But the Durham, N.C.–based old-time string band Carolina Chocolate Drops trace the instrument's history from Gambia to the 1830s, when whites in America first picked it up. Over five albums, the trio has spearheaded the revival of the regional Piedmont sound, accompanying its virtuosic banjo playing with fiddle, guitar, harmonica, snare drum, bones, jug, and kazoo. Although the Drops caught fire with their cover of R&B singer Blu Cantrell's old-timey "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)," it's obvious they are aiming at preservation, not novelty.

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Ron Nachmann

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