The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday October 19th

Swamp Rabbit Railroad is on the hunt for a meaningful audience

Swamp Rabbit Railroad
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Swamp Rabbit Railroad, an American folk music duo, will spread "honest and innovative" music to Carrboro this Friday, live at Open Eye Cafe.

The South Carolinian group is made up of husband and wife duo, Lauren and Tyler Cason, who said that their main goal is to infuse truth into their music while also bringing awareness to modern day issues.

“It’s a lot about trying to make music that we feel has a lot of substance,” Lauren said. “There are a lot of songs in the world that don’t say a whole lot, you know, that has its place but, my husband, who writes our songs, he tries to put elements of reality that just, maybe speak about issues that don't get spoken about or give a voice to people who maybe need to express themselves.”

The Swamp Rabbit Trip formed in 2010, but the name Swamp Rabbit Railroad was coined in 2015. According to their website, Swamp Rabbit Railroad’s music is American folk revival music. They are influenced by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon.

“My husband, he’s always kind of had an old soul," Lauren said. "So he’s always had a strong interest in it. When he was getting his masters degree, he wrote his thesis on American folk music, its history and where it is now." 

Lauren and Tyler met while studying music and both have master’s degrees in music. The Casons said they bring a fresh twist to traditional American folk by creating complex harmonies, both vocally and instrumentally. The Casons said American folk music is honest and edgy.

“The word we often associate with folk is authenticity — of musicianship, of lyricism, of performance,” Tyler said. “It’s music that has elements of truth in its lyricism.”

Lauren said that in a world with many polarizing issues, the pair want their music to encourage people to listen to other points of view.

“Like the traditions of folk music, telling stories about people that may be different from those in our audience, just to make people think and expose people to different thoughts and ideas.”

The duo is currently promoting their new spiritual album, “Down by the Riverside,” released in 2017, and said recording it as one of their best memories as a musical couple.

“There was one track we did totally straight through, it was untouched and it was just a really really special moment, and it was kind of transcendent,” Lauren Cason said, referring to “Nothing but the Blood.”

The duo performed in July at the Savannah Folk Music Society at the First Friday for Folk Music monthly event. 

The owner of Open Eye Cafe, Scott Conary, said Swamp Rabbit Railroad fits the vibe of the cafe.

“They had a great sound, and they had an appropriate sound for the stage,” Conary said. “We’re happy for them to make the sound and the space nice for a little while and hear a different sound.”

As the duo's following continues to grow, the couple said their long-term goal is to bring their music to, what they call, a “meaningful audience.”

“It’s not just ‘Oh we want to get famous’, it’s we want to get our songs out there for people to hear them. We would love to travel overseas if the opportunity arose,” Lauren said. 

Open Eye Cafe hosted the Carrboro Music Festival Sunday, where nine acts performed.

Swamp Rabbit Railroad will be performing at Open Eye Cafe on Friday at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

@hey_kyramae

arts@dailytarheel.com 

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