The Museum is open with updated hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, required free timed tickets for the Museum collection galleries to encourage social distancing, and increased health and safety procedures including required cloth masks. Learn more about these updates at ncartmuseum.org/covid19. Museum from Home programming continues, including virtual events. Please note: Entry to special exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt requires a paid ticket.
Without further ado the winners of this season’s contest, and the lineup for the season finale, are:
Americana: Chatham Rabbits
Soul/Funk: Lydia Salett Dudley
Rock: Early Gray
World: Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble
Meet our winners!
Chatham Rabbits: As one of North Carolina’s most beloved roots music outfits, Chatham Rabbits has swiftly emerged from the fertile Americana scene in the Triangle with intimate close harmonies and mature songwriting in the vein of predecessors like Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. The husband-and-wife duo of Sarah and Austin McCombie favors rustic, minimalist acoustic arrangements—mainly clawhammer-style banjo and guitar—that showcase old-time reverence with their songwriting. Chatham Rabbits’ first album, All I Want From You (2019), was recorded with the help of Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin, and their song “Oxen” from their sophomore album, The Yoke is Easy, The Burden is Full, was named one of the “Top Folk Songs of 2020" by Paste magazine. During the pandemic, they created a mobile concert experience, The Stay at Home Tour, which brought Chatham Rabbits to over a hundred neighborhoods in 2020.
Lydia Salett Dudley is a jazz and gospel pianist and singer living in the Raleigh-Durham area. She released her first single, “Green,” in 2008, and her composition “Sunsets” was featured on the UNC Jazz Band’s album Tenor Vibe in 2010. Her nonprofit organization, The Salett Art Center, Inc., serves at-risk youth by providing music education that empowers individuals to express their own voices. She currently sits on the board of the Heart of Carolina Jazz organization. Her band Jazz Xpressions, consisting of music educators and performers, plays at various festivals and public and private venues. They have released several projects, including Jazz Xpressions (2019), comprised of uniquely arranged jazz standards, and This Is Christmas (2019), consisting of traditional holiday standards, hymns, and original compositions. Her 2020 single “Whatcha Gonna Say” was featured in the New York Times Magazine.
Early Gray is a duo formed by pianist Owen Dodds and guitarist/mandolinist Drake Duffer. Self-described as modern folk, Early Gray began as an experimental duo by two classical musicians, and what started as pure improvisation spun into fully developed vocal and instrumental compositions. Natives of North Carolina, Dodds and Duffer have drawn influence from the state’s various musical spheres. Early Gray’s debut album, Paint the Windows, was released in 2017; another full-length record is upcoming. They have appeared at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater, New York’s Rockwood Music Hall and Pete's Candy Store, Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle, Charlotte’s The Evening Muse, and Elkin’s Reeves Theater.
Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble: With its mesmerizing style and sound, the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble has captivated audiences with soulful arrangements of Argentine tango standards and original compositions. Based in North Carolina, the group performs nationally and internationally and also collaborates with milongas (tango dance organizations) Durham Tango and Alma Tango (Winston-Salem). The ensemble’s continuous engagement with Latino regional organizations (Casa Azul of Greensboro, Hispanic League of Winston-Salem) led Guillén (lyricist) and Alejandro Rutty (composer) to create The Other Side of My Heart, an oral-history musical piece based on interviews with Latina immigrants. In 2019 the ensemble developed In the Embrace of Tango, a program that explores Argentine tango and its crossed path with Jewish culture. Next 2021–22 season they have planned a North Carolina tour with regional youth orchestras performing their newly commissioned Tango Concerto Grosso.
We’re going offstage and into the galleries with Music at the Museum! This series showcases a diversity of North Carolina bands that represent our state’s rich musical landscape. Presented with Come Hear North Carolina, this free livestreamed concert series kicked off September 1, 2020, and is coming back for season two on April 13, 2021. Check out the livestream event pages below and keep your eye out for the TV re-edit, which will be broadcast on PBS NC in the coming months.