Sponsored by Raleigh Brewing
Join us as we celebrate 19 years of Guitartown Twangin’ in the Triangle with the hardcore honky tonk of Raleigh’s own Backsliders and the barroom shuffles of Tonk. One couldn’t ask for a more fitting soundtrack for this evening commemorating Guitartown’s 19th anniversary.
The online community of GUITARTOWN was created by Alison Williams in March of 1999 on OneList.com (which was soon absorbed by Yahoo Groups) as a way of bringing together fans of alt.country music in the Triangle area of North Carolina. In the process, it also created a support system, not just for fans of the demon twang but also for artists (local and otherwise) touring through the region. Soon, the community grew to include folks from throughout the U.S. and beyond. Internet newsgroups like Guitartown, No Depression, Postcard From Hell and others went a long way towards establishing the foundation of what is now referred to as social media. For a fascinating take on the part these online communities played in the rise of alt.country (as well as social media platforms in general), be sure to read author and radio host Barry Mazor’s Booting Up Alt.Country’s Online Dance, a piece he wrote for Cuepoint in 2015. In addition to its original home on Yahoo Groups, Guitartown can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For those interested, you can learn more about Guitartown via the links below.
THE BACKSLIDERS came to be in 1992 when Steve Howell and Chip Robinson began playing as a guitar-mandolin duet in Raleigh, NC. They soon found themselves wanting to amp up their sound in the spirit of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Rolling Stones…rock and roll dudes playing country-tinged tunes with just the right amount of don’t give a damn attitude. Enter Danny Kurtz on bass, Brad Rice on electric guitar and Jeff Dennis on drums. The line-up of 2 electric guitars, acoustic guitar, bass and drums became The Backsliders calling card, and the band began drawing legions of local fans to their frenetic live shows. Soon, record labels began calling…
The Backsliders signed to Mammoth Records in 1996 and soon released a live EP From Raleigh, North Carolina recorded at one of their local haunts The Brewery. That same year they began work on their debut album Throwing Rocks At The Moon with producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, Roy Orbison, The Blazers, The Mavericks) at Mad Dog Studios in Burbank, CA. Released in February 1997, Throwing Rocks At The Moon took the roots/Americana scene by storm, sitting at #1 on Americana radio charts and receiving rave reviews from national media. The band chose Eric Ambel (Bottle Rockets, Nils Lofgren, guitarist with Joan Jett and the Del Lords) to produce their second record. After finishing most of the what would become Southern Lines, the band fell apart with Howell joining Two Dollar Pistols and both Kurtz and Rice joining one of many Whiskeytown line-ups. Robinson formed a new band featuring talented Raleigh players and continued supporting Mammoth’s release of Southern Lines, but The Backsliders officially called it a day in 1999.
While there were a few shows with various members billed as The Backsliders, the core original line-up (Robinson, Howell, Kurtz, Dennis) did not come back together until 2012. With Rice now in Austin, TX this new line-up features Greg Rice on keyboards.
The Backsliders entered the studio for the first time in nearly 20 years in 2014 to record the 5 song EP Raleighwood and also recently re-issued “Hicktopia”, featuring long-lost recordings from the Southern Lines sessions. Both are available at thebacksliders.net.
Shepherd Lane – pedal steel, electric guitar
Ben Barwick – bass
Bo Taylor – drums
Lin Peterson – telecaster, dobro
Greg Readling – piano, accordion