Given their auspicious handle, and their individual loyalty to the high lonesome sounds each member learned so early on, the South Carolina Broadcasters stand on firm footing when it comes to a commitment to the cause. On their new album, Home To Stay, the band leaves no doubt as to their fondness for folk, Gospel, old time, bluegrass and the other trappings that accompany a decided sense of age-old authenticity.
Comprised mostly of vintage standards that firmly establish a traditional tapestry, the band — David Sheppard (guitar, vocals), Jackson Cunningham (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Stu Geisbert (bass), and Ivy Sheppard (fiddle, banjo, vocals) — adhere to the bare basics but more than make up for any diminished designs through their enthusiasm and skills. The sole band original, David Sheppard’s title track, gives the group its Gospel flourish, a sound that resonates even within the secular songs. Indeed, the band possesses the ability to infuse even the more familiar material with a personal approach that belies their archaic origins. The unabashed enthusiasm echoed in such songs as Little Maud, Rocky Road, Just a Few More Days, and Things in Life, quickly becomes contagious, a sound indicative of a band that’s clearly faithful to the cause.
Fortunately, they also show willingness to add other elements in the mix as well. A rousing instrumental take on the country classic, Little Maud, offers opportunity for the musicians to further show off their skills, while a cover of Jesse Winchester’s sentimental standard, Brand New Tennessee Waltz, holds up well as compared to the original. Indeed, it offers indication that for all the finesse demonstrated in their drive and delivery, they haven’t neglected the importance of maintaining melodies that can linger with the listener as well.
It bodes well for the band that this, their initial offering, provides such a powerful first impression. Then again, their seeds were clearly sown in the firmament of their Appalachian environs. That purity and purpose is evident in every note and nuance. While taking music forward is an admirable trait, preserving its roots ought not be negated either. Here’s a reminder that honesty and authenticity are two qualities that should never be negated.