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Wednesday April 14th

Below the Line couples music with friendship

<p>Caroline Ririe, Timmy Cooper, McKinley Pollock, members of a southern rock, alternative country band called Below the Line, share a laugh.</p>
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Caroline Ririe, Timmy Cooper, McKinley Pollock, members of a southern rock, alternative country band called Below the Line, share a laugh.

They form Below the Line, a rock, alternative country band from Winston-Salem.

Cooper, a vocalist and guitarist, said the band originally formed when he and Pollock, who performs vocals and plays stand-up bass, were in the same eighth grade class.

“We texted each other saying, ‘Let’s start a band,’” Cooper said. “We met in his room and just started playing.”

Throughout high school, the membership of Below the Line changed several times until Caroline Ririe joined on fiddle and vocals to form what they call the core membership of the band.

In addition to the three sophomores, Below the Line’s current lineup includes non-UNC students Ryan Ward on guitar and synth and Jefferson Bullock and Anthony Thigpin on percussion.

Below the Line has written and released two full-length albums, both of which are available on Spotify. They also perform covers from a wide range of genres, including “99 Problems” by Jay Z, “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly and, more recently, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

The video of their “Born to Run” cover, posted to their Facebook page on Feb. 15, received more than 9,000 views as of print.

Sean Kurz, a first-year business major, said the video is what won him over as a fan.

“I saw them play the Bruce Springsteen song, and I liked how they sounded,” he said. “I liked their page to see what they continue putting out.”

Below the Line broke through the Chapel Hill scene by playing at places like Local 506, He’s Not Here and fraternity houses.

UNC-Charlotte sophomore Hunter Hodges attended Mount Tabor High School alongside Ririe and said Below the Line is well received by crowds wherever they play.

“I’ve heard the crowd gets hype to ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia,’” Hodges said.

The band also performed for several thousand people alongside Echosmith and Civil Twilight at the Winston-Salem fairgrounds this past November.

Going forward, the group said they are taking February off from formal performances to focus on rebranding their image away from their high school identities and to begin working on their next release — a five-song EP that shifts to a modern style.

The band also plans to put out a video performance series, following the style of the Springsteen cover.

“Ideally, we’ll film in classic Chapel Hill locations — the Old Well, Franklin Street. Pretty much wherever they’ll let us in,” Pollock said.

The band said they’re excited for the future.

“We’re all young, and we’re still figuring this whole thing out,” said Cooper. “But we’re also excited for this break to be the start of the band moving forward.”


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