Moonshine Racers
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Moonshine Racers

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"MOONSHINE RACERS-SKYLINE MOTEL"


North Carolina's Moonshine Racers call their music "prograssive-y'allternative," and this compact disc is an ideal showcase for the compositions of bandmember Scott (Fudd) McKinney. The band's contemporary style reflects a multitude of influences ranging from bluegrass and country to jazz and rock-n-roll. A few of the more compelling tracks are "Hobo's Prayer," "Pain Is Never Free," and "Nothing But A Memory." Anyone who enjoys the progressive side of bluegrass will find much to savor from the Moonshine Racers. (Moonshine Racers, 6700 Orr Rd., Charlotte, NC 28213, www.moonshineracers.com.)

Bluegrass Unlimited [April 2006 Issue] - Bluegrass Unlimited (Apr 2006)


"THE SOUTH’S OLDEST NEW BAND"

The Moonshine Racers just may be one of the South’s “oldest, new bands.”Between the four members of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based band, they have more than 100 years of performing and recording experience between them.Lead guitarist Cito Guilini spent the late 80’s and most of the 90’s with Charlotte’s Other People (remember the “Be Kind to Other People” stickers?), as well as his own project Liquid Sound.Singer, songwriter and guitarist Scott “Fudd” McKinney performed with the Southern jam band Residew in the early 90’s and with the Newcastle Boys.Banjoist Tommy Rape’ (pronounced rah-PAY) and bassist Rick Stapleton performed with numerous groups including Western North Carolina favorites The Woodies. The experience shows in the Moonshine Racers debut CD Skyline Motel.The band describes itself as “Prograssive-Y’allternative,” and the bluegrass influence is prominent.Tight, three-part vocal harmonies, tasteful and melodic guitar and banjo, and a guest appearance by longtime Doc Watson side-man Jack Lawrence underscore the bluegrass roots of the band. The traditional influence of Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, and contemporary great Del McCoury can be heard in such songs as “Nothin’ but a Memory,” “Breakdown,” and banjo player Rape’s “Haley’s Ride.”But there is much more to the Moonshine Racers’ sound than just “pickin’ and grinnin’.”McKinney’s songwriting abilities are displayed in the CD’s opening track “November Rain” (and no, not the Axl variety) which features guitar and banjo harmonies..Giulini’s well-honed guitar skills are displayed on the harder edged acoustic rockers “Pain is Never Free” and “Hard to Say.”Jam band aficionados will be impressed with Giulini’s Latin feel and Garcia-influenced leads.The Moonshine Racers plan to hit the road in the summer and fall of 2006, but until then you can get a feel for their live sound with free downloads from the band’s website.A follow-up CD is planned for late ’06 or early ’07. This is one “old, new band” that will be worth waiting on,

By Bryan Crain Honest Tune magazine:
The American Journal of Jam and Roots. Spring 2006, Vol.7, # 2 - Honest Tune Mag Spr 2006


"Skyline Motel"

Charlotte's Moonshine Racers kick off their debut album, "Skyline Motel," with the catchy "November Rain," which quickly gets stuck in your head. It's not a cover of the Guns N’ Roses song of the same name, though. With nimble picking that serves an almost vocal role, and a memorable chorus, their "rain" is less dramatic and more organic than the old version.

With front man/vocalist McKinney's relaxed storytelling, the group's restrained harmonies and subtle, layered banjo, guitar, and mandolin picking, this local bluegrass outfit brings pop, classical and jazz sensibilities to his traditional Carolina template. Instrumental runs by Venezuelan-born guitarist mandolin player Cito Giulini bring a Latin element to the mix. He, McKinney, and banjo player Tommy Rape provide fitting solos that manage to impress without being showy.

The group describes its sound as “prograssive y'allternative.” It's a fitting term considering the sound combines the inventiveness of new newgrassers like Bela Fleck and Sam Bush with a quiet, chamber rock gentleness and the blue-collar realness of classic bands like the Eagles.

By Courtney Devores
THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
MONDAY FEBRUARY 20, 2006 - Charlotte Observer ***1/2


"Skyline Motel"

When I was asked to review a bluegrass record, I thought, “who, me?” A Sex Pistols lovin’, former college radio directin’, northeastern transplantin’ kind of guy…bluegrass? I don’t really know anything about bluegrass. My exposure to bluegrass music (was) limited to “O Brother Where Art Thou” and some performances at [local] music parties. The Moonshine Racers are not your typical bluegrass. They would rather you think of them as “progressive Y-allternative.” I didn’t know what that meant, but it was evident from the opening of November Rain that these guys are for real. Clearly, these are some fine musicians, and while the music definitely has all the trappings of your typical bluegrass collective, there is something different about lead singer Scott “Fudd” McKinney’s voice. It does not have the typical twang often found in bluegrass recordings. Fudd’s vocals provide accessibility to people whose musical tastes lie outside of bluegrass. The harmonies were tight and tasteful.

I like to think of myself as an open minded listener, but even I find most bluegrass rather grating after too long. The Moonshine Racers changed things up enough to keep the record interesting, and when the record was over, I had no hesitation to pressing play and starting the journey all over again. However, as with most DIY debut albums, I found the overall performance a little flat and one-dimensional; especially after hearing the live recordings on their website. Their live performances have a punch and fire that is not as apparent on Skyline Motel. Nonetheless, Skyline Motel is a fine debut, and after a glimpse into the world of “progressive Y-allternative,” I think I want some more.

By “GTR” Levin
AMPS ELEVEN MAGAZINE, CHARLOTTE, NC
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - AMPS ELEVEN MAGAZINE


"Woody Mitchell"

You don't get much rootsier than this Charlotte crew. Drawing on old-
time music, bluegrass and country blues, the Moonshine Racers have
blended their own amalgam of foot-stompin' twang. Expect to hear some
Bill Monroe, Hank Sr., Mississippi John Hurt, Elvis, Doc Watson and
Jimmie Rodgers, plus a passel of their home-brewed material. Saturday
at the Visulite Theatre.

Woody Mitchell
` The Charlotte Observer
March 15 2004 - The Charlotte Observer March 15 2004


Discography

Skyline Motel on Little King Records released Oct 2005
radio play on wncw in north Carolina

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Bio

The Moonshine Racers is a North Carolina based band which performs a self described style of alternative country-grass called "Prograssive-y'all-ternative". The band has existed since early 2001 and has played numerous festivals, clubs, and other private events including The Visulite Theatre (Charlotte, NC), The Neighborhood Theatre (Charlotte, NC), Ziggy’s (Winston Salem, NC), Harvest Fest (Georgia), Smile Fest (NC) and many more. Members have shared the stage with such musical greats as Doc Watson, Moe, Acoustic Syndicate, The Larry Keel Experience, Curtis Burch, Widespread Panic, Leftover Salmon, David Allen Coe, Goose Creek Symphony, Darrell Scott, Guy Clark, and the Seldom Scene among many others.
The band draws on a variety of influences including bluegrass, classic country, jazz, blues, old-time, gospel, rock and roll and American roots music:

• Lead guitarist and vocalist Cito Giulini, combines his Latin upbringing (born in Caracas, Venezuela) with his classical guitar training to create a unique and compelling guitar style which can range from soft and subtle to towering and powerful. He is alumnus of the popular “jam bands” Liquid Sound and Other People.
• Banjo player Tommy Rapé (pronounced rah-PAY) is a native of Georgia. He came to the Charlotte area and began playing at an early age in school bands. He started on stringed instruments with guitar but soon found his affinity for the banjo and started developing the "hot as a firecracker" style he still uses today.
• Bass player Rick Stapleton also received some of his earliest musical experiences in school bands. His many years of experience with several different bands (including The Woodies and Seconds Flat) have solidified his fluid yet forceful bass style. In addition, his strong vocals add that extra element to the band's sound.
• Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Fudd McKinney draws upon his Appalachian mountain heritage and love of bluegrass and roots music to write songs that reach back into the past but are also firmly planted in the present. McKinney's passion is educating himself and others about the many varied musical styles he loves.