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Music of South Carolina


Music of South Carolina

South Carolina in United States


  • Introduction 1
  • Official music 2
  • Notable bands and musicians 3
  • Prominent venues 4
  • Lists of musicians and bands 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


South Carolina is one of the Southern United States and has produced a number of renowned performers of jazz, rock, blues, R&B, country, bluegrass and other popular styles.

Official music

South Carolina is noted for being the birthplace of beach music, an offshoot of early R&B and rock'n roll that featured a shuffling beat which spawned the dance called The Shag. This Myrtle Beach-area dance is the official State Dance, although South Carolina has also contributed to two other famous dances, the Charleston in the 1920s, and the Big Apple in the 1930s.

South Carolina also has two official state songs: "Carolina", composed in 1911 with words by Henry Timrod and music by Anne Custis Burgess, and "South Carolina on My Mind", written in 1985 by Buzz Arledge and Hank Martin. The State also has an "official music", Negro spirituals, sacred Christian songs originally developed in the 19th century.

Notable bands and musicians

Perhaps the best known rock band to hail from South Carolina is Hootie & the Blowfish, but other groups such as The Marshall Tucker Band, The Swinging Medallions, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, and alternative metal band Crossfade also hail from the Palmetto State.

Chris Potter

Jazz saxophonist Chris Potter from Columbia has released over 15 CDs as a leader and performed as a sideman on more than 150 other albums.[1] He is the leader of the Chris Potter Underground and has regularly performed with many world-class jazz musicians including Dave Holland and Pat Metheny. In the December, 2014 issue of Down Beat magazine, which featured the results of the annual readers poll, Potter was named the number one tenor saxophonist in the world.[2]

Other prominent musicians and singers born and/or raised in the state include James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Chubby Checker, Eartha Kitt, Peabo Bryson, Arthur Smith, Cat Anderson, Tom Delaney, Freddie Green, Drink Small, Johnny Helms, Jabbo Smith, Bill Benford, Tommy Benford, Nick Ashford, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Bill Anderson, Edwin McCain, Duncan Sheik, Rob Thomas, John Phillips, Walter Hyatt, and David Ball.

The state's bluegrass scene has produced important bands such as The Hired Hands featuring pioneering 3-finger banjo player Dewitt "Snuffy" Jenkins and old time fiddler Homer "Pappy" Sherrill. Other notable groups are The Hinson Girls, featuring four sisters from Lancaster, and Palmetto Blue, featuring three South Carolina Folk Heritage Award Recipients: Chris Boutwell (2014), Ashley Carder (2012), and Larry Klein (2004), along with the Davis sisters Shellie and Anna, and banjoist Steve Willis. Bluesmen Pinkney "Pink" Anderson and Reverend Gary Davis were both from Laurens, S.C.

Crossfade's "Cold" was on the compilation Now That's What I Call Music! 17 (U.S. series) in 2004, and Trevor Hall's song "Brand New Day" was on Now That's What I Call Music! 40 (U.S. series) in 2011. The Beach music classic "Stay" by Maurice Williams was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. James Brown's soul and funk song "I Got You (I Feel Good)" was #3 on the Hot 100 in 1966, and #1 on the Rhythm and Blues Singles. Peabo Bryson's r&b song "A Whole New World" from Aladdin was #1 on the Hot 100 in 1993. Hootie & The Blowfish's roots rock song "Only Wanna Be With You" was #1 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart in 1995. Toro y Moi, an electronic artist and rapper Lil Ru are both from Columbia.

Urban centers in the state including Greenville, Clemson, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston are home to thriving rock and hip hop scenes.

Prominent venues

The region of Myrtle Beach has been home to the well-known Carolina Opry, a country music-based variety show, established in 1986 by singer, producer and entrepreneur, Calvin Gilmore, South Carolina's official country music ambassador, who continues to produce and perform in the show today. The Carolina Opry was the first live family entertainment venue on the Grand Strand and helped turn Myrtle Beach into one of the major centers for country music on the East Coast. Local venues include the Dolly Parton's Pirates Voyage, one of many attractions owned by Dolly Parton, the Alabama Theater, named for the band Alabama, and the Palace Theatre. Other artists tried their hand with their own theaters which did not last, such as Ronnie Milsap and the Gatlin Brothers. Myrtle Beach is also home to the South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival.

Outside of Myrtle Beach, the town of West Columbia is notable as the home of Bill Wells of the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass; he is the owner of a local music shop, which hosts a weekly bluegrass show at the Pickin' Parlor.[3]

Lesser known venues include Ground Zero in Spartanburg, the New Brookland Tavern in West Columbia and the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach as well as the Plex in North Charleston and the Music Farm with locations in downtown Charleston and Columbia. The Five Points district in Columbia features a variety of bands each year at its St. Patrick's Day festival.

Lists of musicians and bands


See also


  • Byron, Janet (1996). Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A. (1st ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 178.  
  1. ^ "Chris Potter Discography Project". Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  2. ^ "DownBeat Magazine". Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  3. ^ Byron, pgs. 178 - 182

External links

  • Reverend Gary Davis
  • Pinkney "Pink" Anderson
  • Scene SC
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