Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Is Comboland Radio?

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You have stumbled upon an internet radio station that features the music of Comboland! You may be asking yourself "what the heck is a Comboland? You may be asking "where is it"? "Didn't I see a sign for it between Creedmoor and Berea?" Comboland is somewhat geographic in nature, but musical as well.

I, like many others, had the good fortune to be in central North Carolina during the golden age of clubs, bars, bands and music. It lasted from the early 70's through about 1985. There were so many groups and plenty of places to play. More importantly there were also plenty of people; mainly college aged folks, to support these musicians. I was also fortunate enough to become friends with several of these bands and their members, and even work with a few of them at a recording studio. It was a great time to be involved in the music scene!

I would later get back into radio, and at about the same time the drinking laws changed. Fewer people were going to these clubs, the number of bands dwindled down and the scene began to dry up. I moved out of the area in 1994 and lost touch with the most of the folks in the music scene.

Several of those folks I had known since childhood and we did maintain friendships. But…. you know how it goes. It might be months, or a year or two between conversations. One of those folks, former artist manager Harry Simmons, sent me an email in December of 2007 saying that Fabulous Knobs/Woods co-founder David Enloe had died. I could not believe what I was reading! I then found my way to David's band mate and best friend Terry Anderson's blog. It was touching and yet very sad.

After I cried a little bit I decided to dig out my old albums and tapes to reminisce about the old Carolina music scene. I got on the internet and Googled "North Carolina Music Scene". I saw Steve Boyle's great "Return To Comboland" website full of old videos and the new documentaries he was producing. I found a few other blogs and discovered that fans were still passionate about this music but except for a few websites there is NO outlet for it at all. I also discovered that beyond Don Dixon and Terry Anderson (whose CD's I already had) there was still some rockin' music coming out of the Carolinas. So I digitized a bunch of albums (and a few 45's) and did a bit of restoration to eliminate scratches and rumble, ripped a bunch of CD's, built a database and started generating playlist to listen to around the house. I was really surprised at how good the old and new stuff all sounded together.

I thought that maybe you could build a radio station built around the music of the "North Carolina Music Scene". I then refreshed myself on the rules and regulations for streaming audio and quickly realized I would need more artists, and more music post 1987 to make an internet radio station work.

Back to the web and I found some regional bands on CD Baby and through Terry Anderson and Jack Cornell's Doublenaught Records. I also saw the Spongetones had a new CD, Mitch Easter also had a recent release and the Jump Rabbits had one coming out (it is out now). I searched out music from the post Comboland era bands, COC, Superchunk, etc. Still not enough so I expanded out a bit more, hopefully without diluting the sound. I ran in test mode for awhile using my friends, my wife, and some of the musicians I was about to feature. Suggestions were made, then tweaks were made, music added, music subtracted, and got Comboland Radio up and rolling.

The station was launched publicly on August 1st, 2008 via Live365. I have since heard from a number of people and have more music to track down and add! The initial response has been incredible! People are literally listening from all over the world, but primarily from North Carolina, which makes total sense.

The name is borrowed from a project spearheaded by Godfrey Cheshire and "The Spectator" magazine in 1985. You may remember the LP "Welcome To Comboland" 27 different artists/bands submitted 2 to 3 songs each for the initial project. Twelve of them ended up on the record that was finally released on the "Making Waves" label. It was this project that put "Comboland" on the map and gave a catchy name to the "North Carolina Music Scene".

The Comboland project was an effort to expose the great music coming out of the Carolinas (and Virginia too) and help these artists find some success. The internet radio station I have started is an effort to continue that tradition by providing an outlet to the artists that are STILL cranking out an enormous amount of great music from Comboland! Please listen and tell all of your friends to do so too. If you are a band in the North or South Carolina or Virginia I would love to hear from you so I can consider adding your music to the ever expanding playlist of Comboland Radio.

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