Zinc Kings

The Zinc Kings began in the fall of 2010 with Christen Blanton Mack (mandolin, fiddle), Dan Clouse (banjo, guitar, washboard), and Mark Dillon (banjo, guitar) playing in the University of North Carolina Greensboro Old Time ensemble; their current lineup also features Ryan Mack (bass). They soon realized that while they loved Appalachian music, there was a huge area of music that was not being addressed, the music of the North Carolina Piedmont. Music from this region tends to be more heavily influenced by the blues tradition and it is reflected in the playing of many of the tunes they played. After starting the band, they quickly found themselves overwhelmed by demand for music from the North Carolina Piedmont. In 2013, The Zinc Kings collaborated with Raleigh Little Theatre, Bare Theatre, and PineCone to create old time and bluegrass inspired music as part of a prodcution of William Shakespeare's As You Like It, for which they picked up a nomination for "Best Original Music" from the Indy Week.

Each of the three founding members have long backgrounds in music. Blanten Mack is a professional viola player, Dillon a longtime songwriter and Clouse a professional tuba player. Very few of these skills make it into the Zinc Kings directly, but their experience in playing the music is reflected in their lively performances.

The Zinc Kings have been playing seemingly non-stop, including performances at local venues and festivals including Hoppin' John fiddle festival, The Charlie Poole Festival, Fiddler's Grove, Asheville's Bele Chere Festival and multiple private engagements. In the summer of 2011, The Zinc Kings became the house band for the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Theaterfest production of Where Music Kills Sorrow.

Also in 2011, The Zinc Kings released their self-titled debut album. Recorded over the course of an extended weekend with no overdubs and two microphones, the album is an accurate representation of The Zinc Kings live performances. Their second album, As You Like It (2013), features original music from the Raleigh Little Theater & Bare Theater production in addition to traditional tunes. The Zinc Kings have recently completed recording their third album, which is set to be released by the end of summer 2015.

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