Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Neighborhood Theatre tonight (12/1/2012)
CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS Characterized as a simple old-timey Tarheel string-and-jug band, Durham's Carolina Chocolate Drops execute a more complex call-and-response between the distant past and present. Breaking into the mainstream with its 2010 LP Genuine Negro Jig, the Drops proved that modern ears could attune to the country blues, galloping banjo, field-holler stomp, and syncopated fife-and-drum beats of African-American roots music. Though they've resurrected unjustly neglected tunes from the faded pop-and-hiss of forgotten 78s, the Drops have never been dry archivists. Their foot-stomping, full-blooded shows prove the pulse of a 1930s tent revival is just a heartbeat away from contemporary hip-hop. The band has always been about context and history, peppering shows with chats about the African origin of the banjo and other nuggets of cultural heritage. Still, longtime followers were concerned when the virtuosic trio recently lost a founding member and transformed into a five piece. Fans need not worry. Expanding their repertoire to include more jazz and folk balladry, the Carolina Chocolate Drops stay connected to their power source - the ancestral Piedmont music they mean to share with everyone.$20/$22. Dec. 1, 8 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. 704-358-9298.