North Carolina–based Carolina Chocolate Drops follow up their critically lauded label debut—2010′s Grammy Award–winning Genuine Negro Jig, which reached #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers and Folk Charts—with Leaving Eden, due February 28 on Nonesuch Records, with vinyl to follow on March 20. The group returns with a record of original compositions, covers, and traditional songs produced by Buddy Miller (Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, Solomon Burke). The album is available for pre-order now; a download of the track “Country Girl,” which NPR named a Song of the Day, is included.
With Leaving Eden the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ founding members Dom Flemons and Rhiannon Giddens expand their lineup to include multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins; during their live sets the members share singing duties and swap instruments regularly. (Cellist Leyla McCalla also joins the band on the record.)
The Drops have toured year-round internationally since the band’s inception, playing festivals such as Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Telluride and selling out concert halls and clubs. The band regularly receives critical accolades from publications such as the Seattle Times, which said “What a treat to bask in this Grammy-winning group’s top-notch musicality, easy good humor and understated but sparkling showmanship with just the right dollop of historical background.” And the Capital Times (Madison, WI) said, “The string band performed a joyful, high-energy show that had the packed, sweaty theater moving and cheering for the entire time. The band’s sound is rooted in, and very reverent to, the traditional African-American string band sound of generations ago. But the attitude is anything but old-timey, as the band brought in hip-hop and soul elements, a no-holds-barred energy, and just a sense of playfulness to the songs.”