When summer comes around it's hard to imagine that the permanent population of the Outer Banks from Carova to Ocracoke is maybe 40,000—and that's only if Manteo and mainland Dare County are included. What may be just as hard to imagine is how many truly gifted musicians call the Outer Banks home—it's a number that is out of proportion to the population.Which may be why there is so much quality live music all summer long.We can't possibly list everyone, but we thought it would be helpful to list some of the local musicians that we've seen around and that we really like. This is by no means a complete list; probably the best way to think of the Outer Banks music scene is, if it's live, it's got to be good.
Always dressed impeccably in Hawaiian or tropical themed garb, Mojo Collins gives the appearance of the quintessential Outer Banks musician.Maybe he is, but another way to view him—and more accurate—is a professional musician who's career has spanned five decades from Haight Asbury in San Francisco to the Outer Banks.Look for excellent guitar work with a blues/rock touch, powerful vocals and a good time. Often appears with his band Triple Vision.He just released a CD—Gratitude. Get it if you can.
It's hard to grasp just how talented Ruth Wyand is. She has a powerful, folksy voice, is an amazing guitarist who is comfortable playing almost any style—rock, jazz, folk, she does it all.Often performing as Ruth Wyand and the Tribe of One, she takes the stage with guitar and a kick drum and fills the air with great sounds. Look for her to play multiple guitars...occasionally electric, a couple of different acoustic guitars and a dobro.Her own compositions are blues oriented but expect some surprises in her music.
Singer, guitarist and songwriter with a strong voice, Natalie's lyrics are often thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable. Although the words may be provocative, her songs are tuneful and perfect in an acoustic setting.In addition to her own songs, Natalie has an extraordinary repertoire of covers that she performs very well but in her own style.
A very talented guitarist with a mellow, rich voice, Steve makes for an easy evening out. He has been performing for some time, and as a consequence he's built up an amazing library of songs ready to go.Although he plays acoustic guitar, many of his selections go back to his 1970s roots in rock and roll. Fun, entertaining and innovative—makes for a great time when he's performing.
Hello Robot is the husband and wife duet Jesse and Michelle Fernandez. They have a couple of original compositions, mostly written by Michelle. The style is reminiscent of coffee house folk, but really their music and voices are perfect to sit outside on a summer evening and sip a drink as the sun goes down.They do a very good job of blending their voices. Michelle's voice in particular is very smooth, almost sweet. This is easy listening music in the best sense of the description.
The Ramble is not a group that revels in ballads. They can do them and do them well, but the heart and soul of the group is in rock and roll and the trio does it justice.Musically they are outstanding. Drummer Myles Wood understands drums as a musical instrument and his ability to drive a hard rock beat but still retain his own style sets him apart from most drummers.Patrick Wayne Goller on guitar is a revelation. Able to switch comfortably between the soulful sound of slow hand blues and the hard driving sound of rock and roll, he is a joy to hear.Vocalist Graham Outten will sit in with them from time to time, but Ramble as a trio is excellent. Anyone who like rock and roll played the way it should be, take the time to check this group out.
The standard for rock groups for the longest time was a quartet. In that sense Formula is a throwback to simpler times of two guitars, one bass and one drum.Simpler doesn't mean boring because they're not—but their sound is very reminiscent of the classic rock groups throw 30 or 40 years ago. They are good though, with clean vocals, good guitar work and tight arrangements.
Reggae fans, this is your group.Over the past year or year and a half, they have gone from being a good reggae band to being a really good reggae band.Individually they are very talented musicians with a clear understanding of what can be done with reggae music, and as a consequence they have their own style. Very much the Jamaican sound, but there sometimes just a touch of rock to it.They do put on a great show with lots of energy on stage.
Other Rare Sightings, But Worth Checking OutJoe Tapp
may be the best guitarist on the Outer Banks. Most likely place to see him is at Art's Place in Kitty Hawk at open mic. Amazing, amazing jazz guitarist, but is comfortable doing just about anything.Molasses Creek
is an Ocracoke based folk/bluegrass/newgrass band. They are remarkably talented—talented enough that they tour nationally from time to time.Mercy Creek
isn't truly an Outer Banks group, they live in Virginia, but the husband and wife duo make enough trips to the area to list. Acoustic rock group with attitude...fantastic.