I think it was 2007 and for my birthday Sarah arranged for us to get to have dinner and then hang out before the show backstage with the band. It was in Charlotte at the Visulite. This was before I knew the guys like I do now. I was still a bit star struck by these boys from Belwood at the time.
I remember getting to choose a few songs for the setlist, and I was able to get Steve aka Big Daddy to give me the background on one of my favorite tunes of theirs called Been There Again. He told me how it was a song about him and his alternate self that he sometimes wished he could be. It was awesome.
Another time, for our anniversary, Sarah set it up to have Bryon to meet us down at the Farmer’s Market outdoor pavilion in Shelby where he played his guitar and sang Willie’s Hands on the Wheel–which is in the top tier of the most meaningful songs in my life.
Their music has so much energy, whether the fast paced blue grass pickin songs or the slowed down ballads or a cover of Marley… it has so much energy. Positive energy! And that emanates from the folks playing the music. They are such fine humans!
I’ve seen them many times at the Visulite and the Neighbhorhood in Charlotte mostly. A handful of times in Asheville. Charelston SC. Uptown Shelby. And Barley’s in Spindale, where I thought the floor was gonna give way to all the jumping and dancing. So good!
The soulful voice of Big combined with his phenomenal guitar picking skills, the harmonies that Bryon supplies or the powerful lead vocals combined with his Banjo–sometimes electric and real shiny–, the driving train of Fitz on the drums combined with his vocals on classics like Powderfinger or Water of Love or Bertha to name a few, Jay Sanders on the bass y’all–Jay just over in the corner, suit jacket on, so controlled, yet dropping bombs on the electric or stand-up… sometimes Billy Cardeen on dobro… sometimes Jeremy Saunders on Sax.
They’ll play songs from their albums, they’ll cover a few tunes. They’ll play a first set for a little over an hour and then come back and play til midnight or after usually ending with some fire like Brown Mountain Lights or Baba O’Reilly. If you’re real lucky you’ll get to hear a One More Dollar or Angel Band or Turn the Radio On…. some kind of a cappella gospel tune.
Their lyrics are hopeful and full of progress and life. And their musicianship is really outstanding. Hopefully, one day soon I’ll get to hear the Little King proclaim once again: “Still after all these years, my favorite band, Acoustic Syndicate!!”
The pictures are ones that I captured at my last live Syndicate concert over a year ago at the 185 club in Brevard.