the Carpenter Ants
Gig Seeker Pro

the Carpenter Ants


Band Alternative Blues


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Album Review"

The Carpenter Ants - Picnic with the Lord
A gospel record by a roots rock and soul group from Charleston West Virginia? With a Jewish guitarist and a lead singer of the Muslim faith, an appreciation of Gospel Music comes secularly, honestly and musically to the Carpenter Ants. Think Little Feat or the Subdudes gone to a revival meeting and you’ll have a good feel for this wonderful CD The Ants feature guitarist Michael Lipton, the house guitarist for the nationally syndicated Mountain Stage radio program. Produced by Don Dixon, the Ants are augmented by Hammond B-3 legend Winston Walls. Winston brings his vast gospel and blues experience to the mix and his playing, while never obtrusive, adds soul and vitality throughout the recording. One of the CD’s highlights is the gospel classic, ‘Go Where I Send Thee.’ Lipton is joined on this track by guitarists Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody) and Robert Schaeffer and its a blast to hear these three guitarists , along with Winston Walls, give a master class in American roots music. Picnic with the Lord is one of those recordings that will grow on you-no hystrionic or show off pyrotechnics-just to the point and soulful music for all ears.
- School Kids Catalog

"Ants in Your Pants Review"

THE CD: "Ants In Your Pants"
PERFORMER: The Carpenter Ants

By Nick Scala

The question was posed to me while talking to a friend about the Carpenter Ants: 'What kind of music do they play?'

The first thing that came to mind was 'gospel. Then, understanding that gospel music isn't everyone's cup of tea, I quickly blurted out "R&B ... soul ... country ... rock 'n' roll ... umm ... Ya' know... Music."

It's made all the more interesting by the way the Ants are able to seamlessly juxtapose a soulful gospel number alongside a raunchy secular hip-shaker. The inability to categorize the Carpenter Ants is what makes them fun to listen to. You don't know where the next song might take you. But it's a pretty safe bet you're going to enjoy the ride.

That's the spirit of "Ants in Your Pants," the Charleston-based band's third CD. The blend of styles is outstanding, and it's backed by a few improvements over its predecessors: original songs (absent from previous efforts), better production values and a bigger dose of the fine guest musicians the Ants seem to attract.

If you're a regular Wednesday- or Sunday-night patron of the Empty Glass, chances are you've heard most of the songs on "Ants in Your Pants." The album, though, gives you bonuses you might not always get when you visit the band live, such as a second guitar to accompany Michael Lipton, or keyboards, or a sexy-voiced female vocalist.

Core ants, who include Lipton, Jupie Little (drums), Ted Harrison (bass) and Charlie Tee (vocals), are joined throughout the album by guitarist Steve Ferguson, who made his bones with NRBQ, another multi-genre, uncategorizable band that hit its stride in the 1970s, as well as Jon Carrol, keyboard player for Mary Chapin-Carpenter.

We also get an all-too-brief contribution from Robert Shafer, whose credentials merely include being twice selected as the national flatpicking champion and who added so much to the band's first album, "Long Live the Queen." Credits are also given to drummer Ammed Solomon (Mountain Stage Band, Voodoo Katz), vocalist Larry Groce (of Mountain Stage fame), producer Don Dixon, who chips in with guitars and vocals, and vocalist Laura Nadeau. The album is a tribute to the aforementioned diversity of sounds.

Meet the Ants in song

The CD opens with "Picnic With the Lord" (What I still can't figure is why this song wasn't included on the Ants' second album, the all-gospel disc titled "Picnic With the Lord.") The difference in this one is that it's written by Lipton. It's a sassifying gospel rocker -- what better way to get things started?

Next up is "Charlie Tee from NYC," the first of three Lipton-penned musical bios about the band's core members. (My question to the Ants: Isn't it about time one of you guys wrote one about Lipton?) The song is about -- and sung by -- Charlie Tee, the lead singer whose huge stage presence is matched by his passion. I've seen Charlie a few-dozen times now and have never seen him without a smile on his face. What I can't imagine is that smiling face under the funky 'fro of many years ago that Charlie sings about. That I wanna ’ see, because, these days, his head is smooth (and so, we're told, are his moves).

"On My Way Home" returns us to the gospel soul train and keeps hands clappin' and feets tappin', with Charlie and the mellow chorus leading the congregation down the road to rapture. We return to the biographical sketches with "Jumpin' Jupie Jive," concerning drummer James "Jupiter" Little and his zest for life, including chicken, Hennessey and ... other stuff.

I suppose the country-funk of "Sausage Song" is as close as we'll get to self-revelation from Lipton (well, maybe "Mama was a Big Un" may qualify). He turns the tables on the age-old question asked by us single menfolk, you know the one: 'Why buy the cow when the milk's for free?' Well, this one's from the ladies' perspective -- Why buy the hog when the sausage is free? Lipton shares the lead vocal with Nadeau, lead vocalist, guitarist and lyricist for Stella, a popular band from Athens, Ohio.

The third and final installment in the Meet the Ants series is "Ted's on the Move," which intimately introduces us to rock-steady bass player Harrison. The album then returns to its gospel roots, slows things down and hands the lead vocal to Jupie on "Cryin' in the Street." (Jupie also gets credit for additional lyrics.)

The Ants March On

I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing that, during the break, that's Lipton on rhythm and Ferguson doing the solo work. Fergie spent lots of time this summer and fall with the Ants, and I always looked forward to hearing him do the decidedly secular "Downtown" song. Why isn't that on the album, dagnabbit?

The countrifried hook returns on "Mama was a Big Un," on which Lipton speaks of genetic progression and pays a quick, smile-inducing tribute to the 1960s one-hit-wonder classic "Countin' Flowers on the Wall." He gives us another pe - The Gazette

"Top 10 Alternate Country"

From Peter Bochan:
Top 10 Great Alt Country Bands / Acts / Artists
Guide Picks
These alternate country acts shouldn't be missed.
#2 Carpenter Ants
Shades of NRBQ, R & B, and BBQ--this is a West Virginia country treasure. Name checking Randy Newman and calling on the "little people" to rise up, The Carpenter Ants have it all--harmony vocals, tight rhythm and a great love for making music.

"Praise from Kevin Coyne"

Kevin Coyne, British Legend as a musician, painter and writer did the artwork for "Insect Ball" and the upcoming "Ants in Your Pants"
When speaking of the Carpenter Ants he said:

Working with the Carpenter Ants is a special kind of pleasure. Their
music has passion and joy, a deeply felt soul that reaches right down
to the boots. When I sing with them I know I'll get 100% commitment. The Ants love making music and it shines through everything they do - Kevin Coyne, Musician, Artist Writer

"Reviews: Single and Loving It"

Songs from Picnic with the Lord
10-14 of Top 20
sample reviews:
John The Revelator “Picnic With The Lord” The Carpenter Ants.
DJ Jim: Now I have to tell you, I love The Carpenter Ants and I really like this song. One of the things I like about this group is their gospel nature. I love gospel shag tunes and I don’t think there’s nearly enough of them out there. This song is going to have the Shaggers and Boppers alike flocking to the dance floor. It just has a great smooth sound. I love it. DJ Mike: Most everyone should be familiar with Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up by now and if you’re not, you should be. This is going to be a natural follow-up to that hit. If you enjoy Roy Rogers or the new Vince Gill song this is right up your alley. Take a bit of swamp, add some bop, and you’ve got a formula that cooks. Amen Brother! Available from
Workin' On A Building “Picnic With The Lord” The Carpenter Ants.
DJ Jim: Another great gospel tune from the Carpenter Ants. A little faster than the other songs in this review this one works well for Boppers, Shaggers, and West Coast Swing dancers. Like the other Ant's songs this one has a catchy beat that makes you want to move to it. I really like this one a lot. DJ Mike: If there are any Black Gospel church's out there looking for a house band, the Ant's are your band. Seriously, these guys have song after song that are so distinctive that it's a wonder they're not on a major label. This is another floor filler and doesn't need any manipulations whatsoever. I would even leave in the rather fast ending just for fun. I challenge any Bop or Shag DJ not playing these guys to play them one time for their crowd and watch the response. I guarantee success. Available from
- Jim and Mike the DJ Guys

"Top 10 R&B 2003 and 2004"

National Association of Rhythm & Blues DJ’s
National Association of Rhythm & Blues DeeJays N.A.R.B. Dee jays Top 50 Songs Compiled from the members monthly top tens,

Top 50 Songs of 2004

1.Party Till The Lights Go Out - Hardway Connection
2. Nine Times A Man - Wilson Pickett/Don Covay
3.Back That Thing Up - Tyronne Davis
4. I Can't Change My Hear - Ricky Godfrey
5. Boogie Children - Finis Tasby
6. Sophisticated Lady - Mya
7. Loving My Baby - Memphis All-Stars
8. Remember Me - Tommy Brown
9. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart - Attractions
10. Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up - Carpenter Ants

Top 50 Songs of 2003
38. Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up - Carpenter Ants

- R&B DJs

"Music - Big Sound, Cute Hall"

May 30 issue
Music: Big Sound, Cute Hall
You don't have to go to a stadium to hear great music. Here are some top small venues:
"Mountain Stage," the National Public Radio broadcast and TV show, brings eclectic musical lineups to Charleston, W.Va.'s Cultural Center Theater ($9.50 to $15; ). Afterward, many performers visit the nearby Empty Glass (under $10; to jam with the soulful Carpenter Ants.
- Newsweek

"Best CD This Year"

Published in The River Reporter

The Carpenter Ants,
Picnic With The Lord, Alpo Records
Review by Bob Cianci
The Carpenter Ants' Picnic With The Lord just might be the best CD this writer has heard all year. This roots rock group with R&B and swampy blues leanings hails from West Virginia, and sports a rotating personnel depending upon each project. Picnic With The Lord is The Carpenter Ants' foray into traditional gospel music, spotlighting the vocals of Charlie Tee and the Hammond B-3 organ of Winston Walls, plus Michael Lipton's funky guitar stylings. Tracks like "Where We Gonna Go From Here," "John The Revelator," Leadbelly's "Take This Hammer," "Go Where I Send Thee" (which features guitarist Bill Kirchen), and "He's An On Time God" all simmer or ignite, with righteous and oftentimes downright sanctified energy. As the liner notes explain, the band members are not "saved" in the fundamentalist Christian sense, but chose gospel because it "drives musicians and audiences to such soaring levels of passion." No argument from this writer. This is great music from a criminally unknown American band that should be heard by a much larger audience. I've occasionally uttered this command before, but here goes again: If you buy only a few CD's every year, The Carpenter Ants' Picnic With The Lord should be one of them. Trust me on this one. You don't want to miss this incredible music.
- the River Reporter

"Don Dixon -- Ant's Producer"

Selected Production Projects
(in no particular order)
* denotes Rolling Stone Top 1000 album

Toby King, Operator, Josie
Sneakers, In The Red, Carnivorous
Fast Annie, Unsafe At Any Speed, Chelsea
Brotherhood Of Peace, Cuttin' Loose, Avanti
Rod Abernethy, Solo, Avanti
Greer, Between Two Worlds, Sugarbush
(much sought collector’s item in the UK – value $300+)
Arrogance, Give Us A Break, Sugarbush
Arrogance, Prolepsis, Sugarbush
Arrogance, Lively, Moonlight
R.E.M., Murmur, I.R.S. *
R.E.M., Reckoning, I.R.S. *
R.E.M., Dead Letter Office, I.R.S. *
Don Dixon, Most of The Girls Like To Dance..., Mega DK / Demon UK / Enigma US
Don Dixon, Romeo at Juilliard, Enigma
Don Dixon, EEE, Enigma
Don Dixon, Romantic Depressive, Sugar Hill
Don Dixon, the Invisible Man, Gadfly
Don Dixon, Notepad #38, DAR
The Smithereens, Especially for You, Enigma *
The Smithereens, Green Thoughts, Enigma/Capitol *
The Smithereens, A Date with The Smithereens, RCA
Marti Jones, Unsophisticated Time, A & M
Marti Jones, Match Game, A & M
Marti Jones, Used Guitars, A & M
Marti Jones, Any Kind of Lie, RCA
Marti Jones, Live At Spirit Square, Sugar Hill
Marti Jones, My Long-Haired Life, Sugar Hill
Marti Jones, My Tidy Doily Dream , DAR
Beat Rodeo, Staying Out Late with Beat Rodeo, I.R.S. *
US Secret Service, US Secret Service, Moonlight
Matt Barrett, The Ruse, Moonlight
The Blazers, Ten Easy Lessons, Moonlight
The Fabulous Knobs, The Fabulous Knobs, Moonlight
X-teens, Big Boy's Dream, Moonlight
X-teens, X-teens, Dolphin
X-teens, Love & Politics, Dolphin *
Treva Spontaine, S'il Vous Plait, Moonlight
The Graphic, People In Glass, Dolphin
The Killer Whales, The Killer Whales, Dolphin
Wednesday Week, What We Had, Enigma
The Pressure Boys, Rangledoon, Root-a-Doot
Marshall Crenshaw, Mary Jean & Nine Others, Warner Bros. *
Guadalcanal Diary, Walking In The Shadow of The Big Man, Elektra *
Guadalcanal Diary, 2 x 4, Elektra *
Guadalcanal Diary, Flip Flop, Elektra
Let's Active (Mitch Easter), Cypress, I.R.S.
InTuaNua, The Long Acre, Virgin UK *
Andrew Cash, Boomtown, Island Canada
Buzz of Delight (Matthew Sweet), Sound Castles, DB
Matthew Sweet, Inside, Columbia
Fetchin' Bones, Cabin Flounder, DB/Capitol
Fetchin' Bones, Bad Pumpkin, DB/Capitol
Fetchin' Bones, Galaxie 500, DB/Capitol
The Reivers, Saturday, DB/Capitol *
Chris Stamey, InstantExcitement, Coyote/TwinTone/A & M
The Accelerators, The Accelerators, Profile
The Connells, Darker Days, TVT
Tommy Keene, Places That Are Gone, Dolphin
Tommy Keene, Back Again...Try, Dolphin *
Kim Carnes, Gypsy Honeymoon, EMI
Dumptruck, Positively Dumptruck, Big Life/RCA *
Richard Barone, Primal Dream, Paradox/MCA
Michael McDermott, Gethsemane, SBK
John Cody, Zelig Belmondo, Duke Street/MCA Canada
Jim Brock, Tropic Affaire, Reference
James McMurtry, Where'd You Hide The Body, Columbia/Sony
Surfaholics, Tiki-A-Go-Go, Pixler Discs
emmet swimming, Arlington To Boston, Epic/Sony
King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running, Original Cast Recording, Sugar Hill
Pat DiNizio, Songs And Sounds, VelVel/BMG
Kyle Davis, Raising Heroes, N2K Encoded Music
The Pinetops, Above Ground And Vertical, Soundproof/Monolyth
The Hangups, Second Story, Restless/BMG
The Backsliders, Southern Lines, Mammoth
Moxy Fruvous, Thornhill, Bottom Line/BMG
Mark Bryan, 30 On A Rail, Atlantic
Hootie & the Blowfish, "City By A River"
Jesus: The Epic Mini-series (CBS TV) soundtrack, Sparrow/Capitol
Hootie & the Blowfish, "Use Me",
Scattered Covered & Smothered, Atlantic
Madison Smartt Bell & Wyn Cooper, 40 Words for Fear, with Jim Brock, Gaff
Rosavelt , The Story of Gasoline, Gaff
Bland Simpson, Follow You All Over the World, Gaff
Jeff O’Kelley, Just Passing Through, Buddy Dog Records
Jim Wann, Sings Johnny Mercer, Pardon My Southern Accent vol 1 & 2
The Carpenter Ants, Picnic with the Lord
The Carpenter Ants, Insect Ball
The Carpenter Ants, Ants in Your Pants
Additional Credits (including co-production, engineering, etc.): Mike Cross, Born in the Country, TGS; The Spongetones, WhereEver Land

Dixon, as a songwriter and performer, has written or co-written songs for multi-platinum albums by Counting Crows and Joe Cocker, plus played bass on Mary Chapin Carpenter's Number 1 single "Shut Up & Kiss Me"

For more information about the Carpenter Ants contact:
Second Sight Management

- Production Credits


Long Live the Queen, 1997
Picnic with the Lord, 2001
Insect Ball, 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


Carpenter Ants have been together through 16 years and 2,000+ performances perfecting their sound -- "Chicken-fried country and gospel soul". Anyone who digs Steve Ferguson & NRBQ, Cat Mother and the All Night News Boys, Hank Williams Sr, & vintage Lonnie Mack will dig these guys. Praise the Lord and pass the plate." - Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters).
First First and foremost, whether playing R&B, gospel, country funk, blues, boogie and regardless of the occasion, the band never fails to have a good time and make great music! The Ants are supported, produced and often joined by famed singer/ songwriter/producer/ rock'n'roller Don Dixon (REM, Smithereens, Joe Cocker, Marshall Crenshaw)
"Guest" Ants -- sitting in for sets that ping-pong from rock 'n' roll and blues to country -- have included Radney Foster, Bill Lloyd, Rodney Crowell, Robyn Hitchcock, Taj Mahal, the late Luther Allison, English rock legend Kevin Coyne, Bill Kirchen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Howard Levy, ex-Replacement Slim Dunlap, Marshall Crenshaw, John Mooney, and Chip "Wild Thing" Taylor.