The Lineup


The South Carolina Broadcasters

Charleston, S.C./Raleigh, N.C.

The South Carolina Broadcasters

The South Carolina Broadcasters are not just another group dipping into the deep pool of traditional music in hopes of being trendy. Nearly every facet of the group is subservient to the style of music they present. Hailing from Charleston, S.C., but with roots in the sacred Mt. Airy region, they are a three-piece group, comprising David Sheppard on guitar, Ivy Sheppard on fiddle and banjo and relative newcomer Sarah Osborne on banjo and guitar. They each provide vocals to create distinctive harmonies; in person, it sounds as if every member has just stepped from a dusty old 78 RPM platter, ready to sing again. With many similarities to the early Carter Family, the Broadcasters dig deep into traditional gospel numbers and old-time tunes that originated from the mountains of the Carolinas and Virginia.

We are lucky to have them: When searching out authentic old-time music, one generally has to travel to a fiddler’s convention. There are many in this area of the country—Hoppin’ John in nearby Silk Hope, Happy Valley in the western part of the state, the Galax gathering in Virginia, and many more. The mountain pickers leave their rural homes for a weekend, recreating the sound of their forefathers. What separates the South Carolina Broadcasters from these convocations is that they strive to keep it going by pushing it into the broader public. The Broadcasters tour constantly through the Southeast. And with each release, they become tighter, somehow closer to reaching the heart of the music they obviously love. The harmonies are crisp. The playing is tight. The music is raw and raucous, heartfelt and beautiful. They are the South Carolina Broadcasters, and they are what is great about old time music. —Dan Schram