The Carpenter Ants
Celebrating 25 years of making music together, WV’s premiere gospel-soul band The Carpenter Ants will bring their unique blend of country and gospel soul to SXSW for the first time.
The March 17 showcase [not sure of the name of the venue] will also feature the Sojourners, Jones Family Singers, River City Christianettes, and Bells of Joy.
Over its 25-year run, The Carpenter Ants have amassed fans that include famed singer/songwriter/producer Don Dixon - who produced the Ants’ last four releases - and the Rev. Jesse Jackson who enlisted the band for a barnstorming, 8-city tour prior to the 2004 presidential election, a Labor Day rally that drew 75,000 people, and a march in Atlanta that featured Stevie Wonder. Recently Dobro master Jerry Douglas heard tracks from the band’s new release “Ants & Uncles” and offered to lay down some lap steel on a rave-up gospel track.
The band has twice toured Moscow and appeared on NPR’s “Whad’Ya Know?” and “Mountain Stage,” as well as opening numerous shows for groups like The Holmes Brothers, Paul Thorn, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Duke Robillard, Charlie Musselwhite, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gov’t Mule, NRBQ, Delbert McClinton, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
“Ants & Uncles” marks the band’s first new full-length CD since 2005's “Ants In Your Pants.” For the occasion, the group asked longtime friend, renown guitarist Bill Kirchen to be a “guest Ant” and essentially join the band for the recording.
Thanks to guitarist Michael Lipton’s two decade-long association with the internationally syndicated radio show “Mountain Stage” as house guitarist, a long and varied list of players have sat in at after-show jams for sets that ping-pong from rock ‘n’ roll and blues to country and gospel. The list is a testimonial to the band’s versatility and includes Radney Foster, Bill Lloyd, Jimmy LaFave, Solas, Mollie O'Brien, Hayes Carll, Terry Reid, Ben Sollee, Dwight Twilley, The Alternate Routes, Rodney Crowell, Robyn Hitchcock, Taj Mahal, and the late Luther Allison.
The band toured in the U.S. and Europe backing English rock legend Kevin Coyne, and played with original NRBQ guitarist Steve Ferguson off-and-on for 15 years (Ferguson can be heard on 2005's “Ants in Your Pants”),
For more info, visit: www.carpenterants.net; or www.facebook.com/thecarpenterants