April 11, 2012
Ocracoke’s Molasses Creek breaks into folk music’s Top 10

By CONNIE LEINBACH


Molasses Creek, the contemporary folk band from Ocracoke, in March was ranked in the national top 10 in folk music across the United States.

The group’s CD, “An Island Out of Time,” was the fifth most played album on the folk radio scene, and the band was the number 9 artist, based on 13,326 airplays from 150 different deejays across the United States.

This is the first time Molasses Creek has submitted an album for national release, noted David Tweedie, fiddler for the band.

“We’re hoping this effort will help us to the next level of touring,” he said.

He explained that last year, the group met with Kari Estrin, a radio promotion manager from Nashville, Tenn., to hash over ways they could boost their national presence.

Estrin, who has helped guide the careers of several famous folk artists, suggested they do an album promotion, which meant sending their latest CDs to more than 500 folk music deejays.
But first, they had to re-master and repackage it.  

So, “Catharsis,” their CD issued last summer, was renamed “An Island Out of Time.”
Tweedie credits local restaurateur Daphne Bennink with the name.

“I had heard her mention once that Ocracoke is ‘an island out of time,’” he said.  “She hadn’t remembered that she said that, but she was thrilled we were using it.”

Over the winter, the band re-recorded  the songs on “Catharsis,” redesigned the cover, and by mid-February, sent it out across the land so that it would begin airplay March 1.

“We found out that last week it was number five on the charts,” Tweedie said. “That exceeded our expectations.”

Moreover, two of their songs are in the top 20.  They are “Mississippi Sawyer” and “Scat Reel Set,” both written by Tweedie.

“It’s a Sin to Tell A Lie,” a classic swing song, sung by band member Lou Castro, also is on the charts.

Tweedie said these songs’ popularity was not what they expected.

“It’s interesting to see what the deejays chose to play,” he said. “They seemed to choose the upbeat songs.”

“Selchie's Joy Waltz” has also been mentioned by several deejays.

Richard Haas from WFDU in Teaneck, N.J., sent the following e-mail to Marcy Brenner, vocalist and mandolin player:  “This is a great band and I will be playing tracks this very Thursday. Hope this helps Molasses Creek get better known up NYC way.  ‘Selchie's Joy Waltz/Catharsis’ just plain moving....”

The band is in the company of one of the favorite bands to play at the Ocrafolk Fest every year, The Steel Wheels, which is No. 2 on the top artists list.  Among others that Molasses Creek now shares company with are Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Lyle Lovett.

The group will monitor how well it does after this initial push.

“Usually you get a big push at the front then it dies down,” Tweedie said.   “Our idea was to do this introductory album then in the winter do another album.”

This recent promotion has translated to a couple of better gigs in their upcoming tour later this month in New England.

One of the venues they will play is the Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“It’s one of the heralded folk places to play,” Tweedie said, noting that such folk greats as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez have played there.

In addition, the tour will travel to Virginia, Boston, Connecticut and Vermont.  Later this spring, Molasses Creek will play at the Institute of Musical Tradition in Washington, D.C., and later this summer at the Floyd Fest, in Floyd, Va., another venerated folk venue.

Also in March, the Hyde County Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner in Engelhard, presented Molasses Creek with its 2011 tourism award.


Molasses Creek is composed of Gary Mitchell, guitar and vocals; Marcy Brenner, mandolin and vocals; David Tweedie, fiddle and vocals; Lou Castro, guitar, dobro, bass and vocals, and Gerald Hampton, bass.  The band’s CD can be found in many shops on Ocracoke.


MORE INFORMATION

The following list shows their ranking.

TOP ARTISTS OF MARCH 2012

Compiled by Richard Gillmann from FOLKDJ
Based on 13326 airplays from 150 different DJs

1. The Chieftains
2. The Steel Wheels
3. Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer
4. Sarah McQuaid
5. Carolina Chocolate Drops
6. Mariel Vandersteel
7. Drew Nelson
8. West Of Eden
9. Molasses Creek
10. Red Molly
11. Altan
12. Emily Pinkerton
13. John McCutcheon
14. Bob Dylan
14. Jackstraw
14. Loretta Hagen
14. The Pines
18. I See Hawks In L. A.
18. Peggy Seeger
18. Steve Gillette And Cindy Mangsen
21. Cathy Fink And Marcy Marxer
22. Johnny Cash
23. Lara Herscovitch
24. Jack Hardy
25. Lester Flatt And Earl Scruggs
25. Mary Black
25. The Refugees
28. Carrie Newcomer
28. Darrell Scott
28. Tim O'Brien
31. Cary Cooper
31. Lowen And Navarro
33. Gillian Welch
33. Greg Brown
33. Lyle Lovett
36. Joe Crookston
37. Anais Mitchell
37. Peter Mulvey
39. Cathy Jordan
39. Dennis Warner
39. Leonard Cohen
39. Richard Shindell
39. Truckstop Honeymoon

 

The top folk songs of 2012, also compiled by Richard Gillmann:

1. "Breaking Like The Sun" (26)
        by The Steel Wheels

        from "Lay Down, Lay Low"

2. "Rain In The Valley" (20)

        by The Steel Wheels

        from "Lay Down, Lay Low"

3. "Hard Edge Of Livin" (16)

        by Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer

        from "Little Blue Egg"

3. "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key" (16)

        by Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer

        from "Little Blue Egg"

5. "Mud And Stone" (15)

        by Loretta Hagen

        from "Mud And Stone"

6. "Halfway To Heaven" (13)

        by The Steel Wheels

        from "Lay Down, Lay Low"

7. "Lay Down Lay Low" (12)

        by The Steel Wheels

        from "Lay Down, Lay Low"

7. "Lessons" (12)

        by Drew Nelson

        from "Tilt-A-Whirl"

7. "Mississippi Sawyer" (12)

        by Molasses Creek

        from "An Island Out Of Time"

7. "On She Goes" (12)

        by West Of Eden

        from "Safe Crossing"

11. "Country Girl" (11)

        by Carolina Chocolate Drops

        from "Leaving Eden"

11. "Hog And Sheep Going To The Pasture" (11)

        by Mariel Vandersteel

        from "Hickory"

11. "Summer Heat" (11)

        by Emily Pinkerton

        from "Ends Of The Earth"

14. "Amazon" (10)

        by Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer

        from "Little Blue Egg"

14. "Bohemian Highway" (10)

        by I See Hawks In L. A.

        from "New Kind Of Lonely"

14. "Cross Of Jesus" (10)

        by Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer

        from "Little Blue Egg"

14. "Darkness" (10)

        by Rose Cousins

        from "We Have Made A Spark"

14. "Flannery's Dream" (10)

        by Mariel Vandersteel

        from "Hickory"

14. "Frost Is All Over" (10)

        by The Chieftains

        from "Voice Of Ages"

14. "Lift You Up And Let You Fly" (10)

        by Sarah McQuaid

        from "The Plum Tree And The Rose"

14. "Pretty Little Girl" (10)

        by The Chieftains

        from "Voice Of Ages"

14. "Scat Reel Set" (10)

        by Molasses Creek

        from "An Island Out Of Time"

14. "Trickle Down" (10)

        by Atomic Duo

        from "Broadsides"

14. "When The Ship Comes In" (10)

        by The Chieftains

        from "Voice Of Ages"

25. "Here To There" (9)

        by Drew Nelson

        from "Tilt-A-Whirl"

25. "May The Twain Ne'er Meet" (9)

        by Jackstraw

        from "Sunday Never Comes"

25. "Miner's Bride" (9)

        by Karen Dahlstrom

        from "Gem State (EP)"

25. "Promised Land" (9)

        by Drew Nelson

        from "Tilt-A-Whirl"

25. "Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man?" (9)

        by Carolina Chocolate Drops

        from "Leaving Eden"

25. "Sun Goes On Rising" (9)

        by Sarah McQuaid

        from "The Plum Tree And The Rose"


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