Friday night at the Majestic Theatre, boot stomps and claps filled the venue, as rising country act Muscadine Bloodline opened for Whiskey Myers. The duo, composed of Mobile, Alabama natives Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton, were surprised at the level of enthusiasm in an audience this far north.
“Before we came up here last year, I thought people only listened to country music in the south, we thought there’s no way people would like country music in a metropolitan city like Madison,” Stanton remarked.
The sold-out crowd begged to differ, with some in the audience traveling up to the concert from the southern Chicago suburbs to listen to these country tunes.
Of course, Madison isn’t the only surprising place for country music fans.
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When the duo started their career as partners over two years ago, they thought the gigs that would host them would be limited to the Southeast. Now, Muscadine Bloodline is touring all the way from New York to Seattle, even playing in Los Angeles later this year, Muncaster said.
Even with the diverse range of places Muscadine Bloodline has traveled to, the group connected with the Wisconsin audience with a setlist containing a strong sense of Southern sensibilities.
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“Today I saw someone ice fishing for the first time, that was pretty cool,” Stanton said to the crowd.
The second song of the night was a cover of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ in the Dark.” On this piece and all others that evening, Muncaster and Stanton’s voices came together in a perfect blend to create a sweet, twangy mix on each song.
Many unfamiliar to the duo might think the two had been singing together since birth. But despite coming from the same hometown and having several mutual friends in high school, the two did not come to know each other until Muncaster’s former band needed an opening act for one of their concerts around Alabama.
Muncaster got connected to Stanton and would play shows between Hattiesburg and Auburn.
“We started posting videos on Facebook and YouTube and now, two and a half years later, here we are, doing it,” Stanton added.
The band is no stranger to the viral nature of music in addition to their touring gigs, as their song “Porch Swing Angel” garnered over 3 million hits on YouTube due to a viral post. This tune is a sweet love song with a rustic tinge. Many in the audience found their significant others during this song to hold on to and sway along with the sweeping tune.
Despite their modern notoriety, the act chooses to keep it low key behind the scenes.
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“We’re very involved in the business and management of our act, so we don’t have the luxury to live the ‘rockstar’ party lifestyle, but we don’t care. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for the music,” Stanton added.
Of course, the setlist wouldn’t be complete without a new song to share from their new EP, arriving in April. “Movin’ On” is the lead single from the new work, combining a rocking, rhythmic guitar line — that almost feels like light rock instead of country music — with relatable lyrics about what happens after a break-up. Hearing this, and the band’s other music, converted me to a fan, despite my limited country knowledge.
Muscadine Bloodline’s new single “Can’t Tell You No” drops Friday, March 9, with the full EP release of Movin’ On scheduled for April 27.