In the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chatham Rabbits began touring the state in a camper van, hosting backyard concerts in parks and in neighborhoods. Neighbors staged lawn chairs, packed charcuterie boards and simply enjoyed the presence of others, at a safe distance, listening to music. Two years later, PBC North Carolina will premier their television show, “On the Road with Chatham Rabbits,” which began this May on Thursdays at 8 p.m.
For the many places their music has taken them, Chatham County will always be part of their origin story.
This husband and wife duo, Sarah and Austin, are known for their traditional folk sound, featuring a clawhammer banjo. For those who are unfamiliar, clawhammer describes a method of playing where the strings are struck using the back of the index or middle finger nail, then plucked with the thumb. Anyway, what does this have to do with rabbits?
Chatham County once relied heavily on their prized product, rabbits. On the Chatham Rabbits website, they refer to this quote from the Chatham Record in 1906: “Nothing that falls a victim to the hunter’s gun throughout the entire confines of North Carolina can compare with the Chatham Rabbit.” A century or so later, Sarah and Austin purchased a home on the banks of the Haw River. Once owned by a mill working family, the husband of the home was a member of the mill-sponsored band, called The Chatham Rabbits.
Austin and Sarah, in creating the voice of the Chatham Rabbits, sought to blend their own origin stories through their music. Sarah got her musical start in a trio called the South Carolina Broadcasters. Austin started playing keyboards and guitar for an electronic band called DASH. In all they do and produce, they work to represent the many cultural and diverse traditions of North Carolina.
Today, their music belongs to the people and the rich history of our state.
Their newest album, which dropped on June 3, is the latest in a collection of traditional folk pieces, known to warm the heart and to make you feel right at home. Listen to the albums online:
- If You See Me Riding By (2022)
- Live at Small Pond (2022)
- The Yoke is Easy, The Burden is Full (2020)
- All I Want from You (2019)
The Chatham Rabbits are on tour throughout the summer! Catch them in Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado and right here in their home state. Can’t make a show near you? Request a performance!