The Corduroy Road
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The Corduroy Road

Athens, Georgia, United States | SELF

Athens, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Americana Country


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The Corduroy Road @ Cashiers Mountain Music Festival

Cashiers, North Carolina, USA

Cashiers, North Carolina, USA

The Corduroy Road @ Stillwater Taproom

Augusta, Georgia, USA

Augusta, Georgia, USA

The Corduroy Road @ Private Event

Athens, Georgia, USA

Athens, Georgia, USA

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The Corduroy Road in Studio '99
Friday, December 14, 2007

Filed by Sean Phipps

It’s not often that we get to visit with a band that is on the cusp of something really exciting, but on this week’ s MUSICcast we’re lucky. The Corduroy Road is an old-time acoustic duo from the Athens, Ga area. Members Drew Carman and Dylan Solise, childhood friends, formed the band recently to explore their mutual passion of acoustic music. In just a few months, the Corduroy Road has released “Diapason,” their first EP, toured with the nationally recognized Avett Brothers and written songs for a new album. Recently, the guys stopped by the TImes Free Press to play a few songs and talk about their promising career.

Listen Here - Chattanooga Times Free Press

August 2008

"Influenced by The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, The Corduroy Road captures early American folk music, while being known for its almost punk rock energy-driven live shows, playing alongside bands such as Paleface and The Delta Drift. The duo has been performing in venues across Georgia since June and will have a show at The Melting Point on August 5."


"This bluegrass-rooted quartet from Athens, Ga., aspires to mine the ground between the Avett Brothers and the Felice Brothers, and ends up being a lively and entertaining way to pass time."

Ed Bumgardner | Journal Reporter
- Winston-Salem Journal

Consisting of a banjo player and guitarist, The Corduroy Road's (above) records are influenced by old-time country and Americana, while the live performances exude the energy of punk rock.

Nov. 9 2007 - Athen Banner-Herald

Bluegrass Buzz!

The Corduroy Road
By Zach Czirr

With more steam than Casey Jones’ locomotive, The Corduroy Road paved its way into the bluegrass over the Thanksgiving holiday to give an outstanding homecoming performance at the Fishtank.

The harmonies wailed as they played crowd favorites “The Ballad of Stoker Joe” and “The Glow” to the packed house.

Transplanted from Lexington, Kentucky to Athens, GA the Corduroy Road has a sound all its own.

Only two members, a banjo, guitar, and a harmonica make up this tandem that is now touring throughout the southeast.

With an E.P. titled Diapason already released, the band looks to release a full album next year.

Even though the band resides in Athens, GA, Lexington will always be home to The Corduroy Road. In fact, the band members, Drew Carman and Dylan Solise, are childhood friends who came up with the idea for the band from a little front porch pickin’ right here in town.

Carman subsequently moved to Athens for graduate school.

Lyrics were written over emails and in letters; music was practiced over the phone and on short visits home.

Eventually, they knew the band could be something special and thus, Solise made his way to Athens as well. The rest, as they say, is history…

The Corduroy Road will be around Lexington this holiday season, where they will be playing at the Fishtank on Dec. 20th.

November 30th, 2007

The Corduroy Road
By Zach Czirr

The Corduroy Road, a band from Athens, Ga with strong ties to Lexington, has grown substantially since their humble beginnings in early 2007. sat down with the members of The Corduroy Road, Drew Carman and Dylan Solise, to get the skinny on the band.

TOPS: Tell us a little about The Corduroy Road
DC: It started after we both finished college. Dylan was playing some guitar and I was playing some banjo. We basically just got together one day to jam. Literally from the first day (of jamming), we started talking about playing for people. I then moved to Athens, Ga. for graduate school. So, for about a year and a half we kept writing and practicing songs when I’d come home for short visits. Eventually, Dylan moved to Athens.
DS: It just got to the point where I had to make a decision; to stay working full-time and not really pursue music (in Lexington) OR; do something different, and I chose to do something different. We had our first gig two weeks after I moved here.

TOPS: Who were some of your musical influences?
DC: I started playing classical music when I was younger. My mom brought me up on piano, violin and then viola through high school (at Henry Clay). I actually didn’t listen to much folk or bluegrass music until college. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I started to get to know Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers and he has been one of the biggest influences to me musically. They’ve helped us out tremendously. I got into Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt and of course, Hank Williams—one of my favorite songwriters of all time.
DS: I’ve been through a lot of phases; I started out listening to classic rock, listened to hip-hop in high school and more recently I started listening to roots/folk music. I (also) love Neil Young, I was an English major in college so I really enjoy good songwriting.

TOPS: So, who writes the lyrics?
DS: It’s a private practice for the most part.
DC: We have about 30 original songs (thus far) and they (lyrics) are probably 50/50 and we push each other (to get songs done). It’s just like any other job, where you push the other person to succeed.

TOPS: What inspires the both of you to write?
DC: Songwriting, like anything else, takes a lot of practice and dedication. I will write before bed, just reflecting on the day. The most confounding or simplest thing can turn into a song.
DS: I get inspiration for songs through relationships with other people. It’s fun to try different things (when writing). Sometimes the lyrics are all reality, sometimes it is all fictional and sometimes it’s a little of both.

TOPS: Why Athens and not Lexington, your hometown?
DC: We absolutely love Kentucky. Even when people ask where we are from, we say, Lexington. A lot of that (playing in Athens) is based around the music scene here. There are plenty of venues here; we could see a good show every night if we had the time and money. (In fact), on our posters we put Athens,Ga/Lexington,Ky.

TOPS: Living in Athens, (ahem) where does your allegiance lie for college sports?
DC: Not to dog the dawgs, we're not really against them (UGA), but we wear blue to all the games. Gotta root for the boys in blue!

TOPS: Do you miss anything about good ol’ Lexington?
DS: I miss the people more than anything.
DC: We try to make it a point to play Lexington every two months or so because it’s such a big part of us.

TOPS: What’s in store for The Corduroy Road in 2008?
DC: Right now we are finishing up putting songs together for our new album. Hopefully in late winter/early spring we will be recording that and releasing it by late spring/early summer.
DS: Meanwhile, we are trying to hit the road as hard as possible on the weekends.

TOPS: You guys are playing for your hometown over the holidays, what else are you guys looking forward to?
DS: I am looking forward to hanging out with my family, seeing my brother, seeing my sister. We’re all spread out now so we don’t get together as much. It will be nice to get together and enjoy some food.
DC: Definitely some cookin’ and some eggnog. The holiday time in Lexington is special. You always run into folks you know.

TOPS: Ten years down the road where do you see yourselves?
DS: Hopefully playing music. If not I’ll probably be in a hammock with a bottle of Southern Comfort.
DC: Preferably playing music fulltime. If not, I want to be a badass Landscape Architect.

Look for The Corduroy Road w/ The Delta Drift, live at the Fishtank on December 20th for a show that is sure to make your Yule, tide.

December 5th, 2007 -

October 22, 2008

It seems nothing went as planned for The Corduroy Road this year. When the duo of Drew Carman and Dylan Solise entered dreamLab studios in Winterville, GA, they expected to emerge with a full-length album. Instead, The Corduroy Road came out of recording with an E.P…along with a record deal, a full band and plans for a nationally distributed full-length. Maybe planning is overrated.

"We really wanted to make an album that had some low end on it, with some drums and bass and more of a rhythm section," says Carman. "That was our original intention - just to have those guys play with us on the album…but it just worked out so well that we asked them if they wanted to join the band…it didn't take a lot of convincing."

While bassist Ethan Payne was eventually replaced by Tim Helms, drummer John Cable stuck with the band, and the fuller sound has already made an impression on local audiences, particularly on new local label Mule Train Records. The label caught wind of the dreamLab sessions just a couple months ago, and what they heard sounded like pure potential. After catching The Corduroy Road opening for The Packway Handle Band at Georgia Theatre, the label was won over completely.

So, instead of finishing the record in Winterville, Mule Train provided the resources necessary to record a full-length with highly acclaimed producer John Keane which is due out in late January. In the meantime though, Carman really wanted to give something to the fans who have waited over a year for a Corduroy Road release.

"The only time [our fans] could hear us with a full band was at a live show, so we decided to take six of the songs we recorded at dreamLamb and release it as an E.P."

While the release, simply titled E.P., is just a taste of what's in store for The Corduroy Road, it's easy to understand why Mule Train jumped on board so readily. Although rooted in classic Americana, with lots of foot stomping, banjo plucking and pedal steel, The Corduroy Road also has a knack for endearing pop sensibility. It just takes one verse of swaying to the acoustic rhythms before you are singing along the next time the chorus rolls around. It's the kind of music that practically begs for a sing-along, with Carman and Solise's rich, organic harmonies leading the way.

It's an energy that Carman says the band really embraces during a live performance. "We try to make the audience as much a participant in the music as we are. The energy that we get from the crowd is what feeds us and what makes us have a good show."

Even as a folk duo, The Corduroy Road's live show had been described as embodying a punk rock attitude. "We do a lot of screaming, sweating and jumping around and breaking of strings," says Carman. "We try to move the show with a high energy, and it's a lot easier now that we have a drummer and a bassist, too. Before, I about blew my knee out stomping. I started mic-ing a piece of wood that I put down underneath my foot because I put a hole in a stage at a show in Kentucky."

Where did this unbridled enthusiasm for rootsy rock come from? Well, perhaps you could say it's in the water - or at least, that's where Carman found it.

After college, Carman worked for an engineering firm in Lexington, KY that sent him out to Eastern Kentucky, going door to door conducting water surveys.

"I experienced a lot of really old time mountain music, roots, bluegrassy stuff, in Eastern Kentucky back in the mountains," he says. "I was going into these peoples' houses and talking to them and running water tests, and so many of them were musicians, too. So I would get to hang out with these old time guys that were like musical heroes that nobody knows about. They had these old pre-war Gibson banjos that were probably worth like 10 grand or something. They were just so awesome; I started picking up some techniques from them…sometimes spending all evening talking, playing music with them and drinking moonshine."

When Carman first started The Corduroy Road with long-time friend Solise, the duo kept things very traditional - with Carman strictly on claw-hammer banjo. But this new E.P. signifies a new chapter in the band's development, with the addition of the electric bass and drums taking the music in a more rock-oriented direction. With the rising popularity of folk-inspired rock bands from Okkervil River to the Avett Brothers, it seems like The Corduroy Road is picking up speed at just the right time.

Carman agrees: "This is a really good time to be playing the music that we play."

Michelle Gilzenrat
- Flagpole

November 7, 2008
Article by Walter Tunic

Banjoist Drew Carman and guitarist Dylan Solise couldn’t help but combine their respective musical preferences on their debut recording project.

For the two former Lexingtonians and Henry Clay High School grads now living in the vast musical haven of Athens, Georgia, that meant blending Carman’s interest in old time string and mountain music, especially the kind chronicled by the Whitesburg-based roots music co-op June Appal, and Solise’s enjoyment of indie pop, particularly the type cultivated by the celebrated Elephant 6 collective that was inspired by late ‘60s psychedelia.

The catalyst for the duo’s music, though, was the progressive string music of acts like Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers that pumped new generation drive into decades-old acoustic sounds.

“When we first went into the studio, it was supposed to be a smaller project - just a self-financed thing,” Solise said.

“We wanted to get as much for our time as possible, so we ripped through it and cut about 17 songs over about 2 or 3 weekends. It came out to about 5 days of recording. We planned to put what we had out ourselves and sell it on the road. Then, thru the studio, we got in touch with a record label here in Athens (Mule Train Records) that really wanted to help us to expand what we were doing.”

The result is a new six-song EP disc and the subsequent addition of bassist Tim Helms and drummer John Cable. While Carman and Solise have performed locally as a guitar/banjo duo, the most recent instance being a summer show at Al’s Bar, this weekend marks the local debut of the full quartet lineup as well as the release of the new EP. The name of the band, as well as the recording, is The Corduroy Road.

“As Dylan and I started out as a duo, it was very limiting with just guitar and banjo and our vocals,” Carman said. “Now with some of these other instruments, we can really start to put meat on that skeleton that we worked up with our songs.”

The instrumentation and vocal harmonies of The Corduroy Road suggest bluegrass. But on tunes such as Desperate Man, a blend of piano, banjo and pedal steel guitar create a far more evocative and atmospheric presence.

“When it was just Drew and myself playing, we got pegged as a bluegrass band quite a bit,” Solise said. “A lot of that just had to do with the fact was have banjo in what we do. Obviously our sound is indebted to bluegrass in a number of ways. But I’ve never really tried to adhere to that tradition strictly. While I definitely respect that, I’m more interested in combining all those influences to create something different.”

To put that combination into practice, the full quartet lineup of The Corduroy Road have begun work on a full-length album with help from producer/engineer John Keane, a fabled member of the Athens music community who has worked with, among many others, Widespread Panic.

“I’ve got tons of his records here at the house that I listen to,” Solise said. “This is a really neat opportunity for us to be able to work with him for our next record and bridge that gap a little more between modern music and that great music from the past”.

The Corduroy Road performs at 10 p.m. tonight at The Fishtank, 500 E. Euclid. Cover charge is $5. Call (859) 254-3474
- Lexington Herald Leader


'Diapason' EP - (June 2007) Independent Release
'Just One Drop' EP - (April 2009) Mule Train Records
'Love Is a War' LP - (June 2009) Mule Train Records
'Live at the 40 Watt' (Jan 2010) Independent Release
'Two Step Silhouette' (June 2012) Independent Release



The Corduroy Road is an Americana band from Athens, GA.

“Fans of anything from country to bluegrass to folk rock will especially enjoy The Corduroy Road’s notoriously lively shows.” says Flagpole Magazine.

Comprised of Drew Carman (vocals, banjo, guitar, harmonica), Elijah NeeSmith (vocals, bass), Matt Dyson (banjo, guitar), Garrett Chism (drums), and Russell McCumber (fiddle) the band has been touring in some form since 2006. In November of 2008, The Corduroy Road entered the studio of local legend John Keane (Widespread Panic, REM, BR549, Uncle Tupelo) to record their debut LP, Love Is a War, released in Summer 2009. After an exciting and fruitful year, the band release Live at the 40Watt in 2010 as their first live album. It captured the raw live energy that the band has become known for. Soon thereafter, the band decided to take a hiatus from touring in late 2010 and went through a few line-up changes.

With these changes came the material that is embodied in their latest release: Two Step Silhouette (June 2012). The band’s lead singer, Drew Carman, calls it “The most genuine album we’ve ever done to date. It has only the instrumentation that we tour with; the instruments we can fit in the van and play to people in a live setting. It also expresses songs that came from collaboration, input and teaching from every member of the band to one another. The songs were molded together by the whole, rather than just guided by individual songwriter.”

:: Previous Praise ::
“An aggressive touring schedule, emotive songwriting, and the band’s commitment to performing down home, honest music has established The Corduroy Road as a buzzworthy band on the indie roots rock scene.” -Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

“The Corduroy Road captures early American folk music, while being known for its almost punk rock energy-driven live shows.” -Southeast Performer