“Are you Sarah?”
He doesn’t answer. He just points inside.
We walk into Corner Perk in Old Town Bluffton, and as we approach the counter, I notice his reusable coffee cup has an old sticker still on it that says, “Be excited, like Jevon,” confirming that I am indeed talking to the right person.
He rapid-fires questions.
“Where are you from?”
“North Carolina, but I live in Sa-” and before I could finish my sentence he jumps in again.
“Where did you go to school?”
I rush the letters of my alma mater out faster than a Southerner is ever supposed to speak.
“Have you ever heard us play before?”
“Yes, yes I have.”
Walk into a Lowcountry Boil show and you’ll find gentlemen of multiple generations, playing a variety of music, each with his own instrument. You’ll notice a guitar and a bass. Someone singing on a microphone. Then the icing on the cake, a fiddle and a banjo. I remember the first time I heard Lowcountry Boil playing at Palmetto Bluff. As I walked up the staircase of the River House, there were the distinct sounds of a fiddle and banjo. The band’s intentional efforts to create the perfect three-tone harmonies were evident, producing the toe-tapping music that is bluegrass. And I thought to myself, ‘Oh, this is going to be good.’
As I sit down with band members Gary Pratt and Jevon Daly to chat about all things Lowcountry Boil, they take a swan dive into it. A switch occurs from rapid-fire questions to rapid-fire facts. They speak with such passion for the band that was started in 1997 ‘as a spoof.’ Nearly 20 years ago it was still all about the harmonies, guitar, fiddle ‘and Dad.’
“Dad?” I ask.
“Yeah, my Dad,” Jevon answers with admiration in his eyes, and then he adjusts his red Coca-Cola trucker hat.
“We play a lot of songs we wrote.”
A wave of music has hit local folks with the bluegrass style, but with a modern twist. Using humor and Southern drawls, Lowcountry Boil creates songs that keep the crowd moving, entertained and coming back for more. With three roots – harmony, the people and the crowd – Lowcountry Boil stays true to the band’s identity to keep the fans happy. There is a tongue-in-cheek humor in much of their writing, as one could imagine from a band that wrote a song titled “Heinie in the Moonlight.”
“There’s a template for what we do. You know, like marketing for a company. The company wants you to use certain images, colors. What’s the word?” Jevon asks.
“A brand,” I reply.
“That’s it. It’s our brand.”
Hop onto the Lowcountry Boil’s Facebook page, and you will find pictures from crowds at their shows, tracks to their latest albums and their most recent endeavor, “Slowcountry Tunes,” a stream of short clip videos. The band’s original music fills the page with songs like “Best I’ve Ever Been” and “Don’t Spill My Beer.” Don’t miss the photos of local concerts from their fans grinning ear-to-ear.
“Mike is the patriarch,” Gary says. That must be ‘Dad,’ I think to myself.
Mike leads the way with the band that his son loves so much. They didn’t grow up listening to bluegrass music, they listened to “hippy and hipster” music, as Jevon describes it, but the instruments and childhood music combined to create the unique sound that Lowcountry Boil is today. And while they don’t want people to take them too seriously, they take their band very seriously, viewing each gig as a workshop – a chance to test a new song, a chance to make a change, and a chance to work out their musically gifted minds.
THE WHOLE PICTURE
Mike and Jevon Daly were with Lowcountry Boil from its humble beginnings back in 1997. Back then, Bluffton had a population of 973 people. Andy Pitts joined the band in 1999, and Gary Pratt followed suit in 2008. With Mike on the banjo, Jevon on the fiddle, Andy strumming his guitar and Gary bringing power on the bass, Lowcountry Boil isn’t the only thing they’ve been up to. Being in just one band isn’t enough for these talents.
Andy began at age 14 with First Daly Planet, another local band. Then there is Silicone Sister, their sister band, that may be like that older sibling who always caused a little trouble, but who you can’t help but love. And that’s when they started talking about Lowcountry Boil again. “She’s like our baby,” Gary said. For more than 20 years, they poured themselves into her – created her, rooted her and helped her grow.
Today, Lowcountry Boil has quite the following. You can find them playing at anniversary parties, at Hudson’s in the summer, at an oyster roast in the winter and, of course, at Palmetto Bluff. Over the past decade some things have changed: Bluffton transformed from a sleepy little Southern town of 973 people to a sleepy Southern town of 12,530 people. But many things have remained the same. Bluffton is still the little Southern town that brings people home. Lowcountry Boil is still the band that passionately sings “Heinie in the Moonlight” and “I Love You Maria Sharapova.” Some things will never change.
Written by Sarah Grubbs
Photos by Keith Lanpher