UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Carolina Chocolate Drops on Feb. 28

In addition to the Drops’ debut performance at the ASC, ArtPlay will present a free master class with the group for music students at 3 p.m.

carolina chocThe Carolina Chocolate Drops will make their debut engagement at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 28.

The ASC will present the Carolina Chocolate Drops at 8 p.m. in the center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $39.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit

Renowned for delivering a modern take on a traditional sound, the African-American string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, formed in 2005, have earned a devoted following of fans. Seeing them live, The New York Times declares, is “an end-to-end display of excellence … They dip into styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s, string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.” Their 2010 album, “Genuine Negro Jig,” won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album and was No. 9 in Root Magazine’s top 10 albums of 2010.

Nashville stalwart Buddy Miller, the musical mastermind for artists ranging from Robert Plant to Emmylou Harris, produced the Drops’ newest recording, “Leaving Eden,” released in early 2012. On the album and supporting tour, their new repertoire incorporates more blues, jazz and folk balladry alongside brilliantly rendered string-band tunes. The album was recorded in Nashville and features founding members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, along with multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and cellist Leyla McCalla. With Flemons and McCalla now concentrating on solo work, the group’s 2014 lineup will feature two more virtuosic players alongside Giddens and Jenkins: cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett. Those additions illustrate the exploratory nature of the Chocolate Drops’ music, and fans should expect a new disc from the quartet in 2015, according to the CCD website.

Giddens recently joined artists including Joan Baez, Patti Smith, Jack White, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, the Punch Brothers, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, the Avett Brothers, and others for an “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’” concert at Manhattan’s Town Hall. Many of the songs performed are featured on the film’s soundtrack. Giddens performed two songs, including a traditional Scottish tune, and earned a standing ovation. The show, which can be seen on Showtime, was a benefit concert for the National Recording Preservation Foundation, and was presented by “Inside Llewyn Davis” directors Joel and Ethan Coen and the film’s music supervisor, T Bone Burnett.

ArtPlay will present a free master class with the group for music students from middle school through college earlier in the day, at 3 p.m. in the ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall.

  • February 28