Born and raised in the North Carolina backcountry, The Tan and Sober
Gentlemen began taking in the songs, stories, and tunes that make up
their beloved state's heritage before they could talk. Despite having played music together in some form or another for most of their lives, the current lineup was formed in the summer of 2016.
They aim to explore the Celtic roots of North Carolinian music, and to play it with a fire and intensity they feel is lacking in much of today's folk music. The result is an avalanche of Scotch-Irish hillbilly insanity they dub "Celtic punk-grass." As far as folk music goes, they're about the best drinking and dancing band you'll find.
Born and raised in the hills of Burke County, North Carolina, Eli Howells learned at the knee of master fiddlers such as Jane Macmorren, and honed his craft at fiddlers’ conventions, barrooms, and back porches across the state. His distinctive Scotch-Irish fiddle stylings provide the core of the Tan and Sober sound.
From Durham County, North Carolina, Alan Best comes from a family deeply involved in the tradition of American folk dance. With generations of calling, dancing, and playing behind him, Alan’s musical versatility and deep knowledge of American dance music came as a surprise to no one. With his accordion, mandolin, pennywhistle, and whatever else he fancies, Alan embodies the music of the Celtic diaspora.
The latest in a line of bearded, booted bass players from Alamance County, North Carolina, Ben Noblit is a luthier’s worst nightmare.
He ain’t violent, he’s just excitable. Hailing from Alamance County, Tucker’s family has been playing music for longer than anyone cares to record, and hosts one of the longest-running barn dances in the country. With his Carolina-blue voice and machine-gun picking, Tucker is rapidly cementing his position among North Carolina’s next crop of banjo virtuosos.
From Lee County, North Carolina, Jake bears little resemblance to the collective band description above. He is, however, a hell of a drummer. Despite numerous reprimands from the Band Image Committee, he remains committed to his manbun.
From Durham County, North Carolina, William Maltbie’s influences range from the Kinks, Cramps and Pogues to Johnny Cash and Blind Willie McTell. With his roaring voice and love for the darker side of roots music, Will brings the dirt and grime to the Tan and Sober experience.
With the exception of her heartwrenching voice and Johnston County swagger, Courtney remains largely a mystery to Ben, who had to write this thing.