Chadwick Stokes, lead singer of the bands Dispatch and State Radio, returns to Cat’s Cradle Saturday night for his last stop on the tour of his new solo album, The Horse Comanche.
Stokes comes from a musical family and grew up playing brass instruments with his siblings and listening to his father play piano.
When Stokes was 18 years old, he began his music career by forming a band — which would later become known as Dispatch.
On his first tour with Dispatch, Stokes' sister asked him to drive from Vermont to North Carolina to perform because she attended Duke University.
Stokes said he enjoys the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area and finds himself coming back to perform time and again at Cat’s Cradle.
Jake Matthai, Stokes' cousin and a junior at UNC, said Stokes loves to experiment with music and that family gatherings often include some sort of music.
“Very informally he’ll pull out a guitar and play with other musical folks in our family,” Matthai said. “He doesn’t perform for us — he just does what he does.”
Matthai recounts the first time he ever saw Stokes perform in concert at a small venue in Baltimore.
“He can make really good music while producing a meaningful message,” Matthai said. “I feel like music has really pulled away from that in the twenty-first century.”
Stokes said he channels his feelings and opinions on a variety of different matters through his music.
Drummer Jon Reilly has known Stokes for four years, and has been a part of the group since the beginning, along with Stokes' brother William. He said that when band members change, they rename the group to adapt.
“I think it’s kind of fun that it’s never the same group of people," he said. "When the Pintos were Pintos, it was kind of weird to have a new collection of people and be called that same name. It’s also just really fun to come up with new names.”
Stokes’ tour manager and front house mixer, Jason Cutt, has toured with Chadwick once before and has known him since 2012.
“I really like the whole album and that doesn’t happen often,” Cutt said. “As a front house mixer, you don’t really get a chance to love all the music you mix, but with this particular record I really do.”
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