(3 and a half out of 5 stars)
Though the listening styles of students and residents in Western North Carolina vary greatly, no other style of music captures the heart of the traditional mountain heritage like bluegrass. And so to write about that style of music, I would turn to no other band but Cullowhee Creek.Cullowhee Creek, the local heroes of bluegrass here at WCU, do not yet have an album, so, against the normal grain of how I write music reviews, I instead reviewed their multiple live performances. Believe me, you want to know about them, regardless of whether or not they have a CD.I first heard Cullowhee Creek at an Open Mic Night last year. When Troy Connor began to sing and pick at his banjo and then was joined by the other four band members, I was slowly drawn into deep southern comfort. With a rousing applause after they finished, I realized they had already established quite a fan base.The local adoration for Connor, Mike Yow, Jacob Trantham, Drew Edgerton and Harrison Carter has steadily increased since their Open Mic Night days. Veteran players at the Mountain Heritage Day celebrations, Cullowhee Creek also plays frequently outside of Nick and Nate’s restaurant in Sylva. Crowds are drawn in every single time by the sweet twang of instruments and voices.Crooners Connor and Yow do stunning vocal covers of popular bluegrass songs, like “Wagon Wheel” and even a few originals. The stringed instruments weave a consistently homespun melody that can make you smile with the nostalgia for a mountain life you may have never even known.If you’ve never had a chance to listen to these good ol’ boys, I encourage you to check them out. They have a Facebook group with postings of their next gigs, and visit their MySpace to hear tunes at www.myspace.com/cullowheecreek.