Tan and Sober Gentlemen are playing the 2024 Blue Ox Music Festival

Tan and Sober Gentlemen

Performing Saturday, June 29th

Born and raised in North Carolina, the Tan and Sober Gentlemen began taking the songs, stories, and tunes that make up their beloved state’s musical tradition before they could talk. The music of the Carolinas, (and Appalachia in general) stems from the marriage of the Irish fiddle and the African banjo, which first met in the American South before the Revolution. The Tan and Sober Gentlemen aim to bring these traditions full circle. They play Irish tunes, ballads, and pub songs right next to the Appalachian fiddle tunes of their youth, melding the two into what they call “Irish-American hillbilly music.” Meanwhile, they have earned a reputation as one of the South’s hardest-hitting live acts, playing at blazing tempos, and putting every last bit of energy they possess into the show. The result is a raucous celebration of the Carolinas’ Irish heritage, with drinking, dancing, and merriment galore.

Since the band’s formation in 2017, the six-piece band has toured the US and Ireland, headlining legendary Irish clubs such as Whelan’s and the Roisin Dubh. Stateside, their resume includes festivals such as Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Appaloosa Festival, Tartan Day South, and Shakori Hills. In January of 2023, in their home of Alamance County, they sold 683 tickets to their show at the Haw River Ballroom. They released their sophomore record, Regressive Folk Music, in June 2022, and their debut record, Veracity, was named by Shite’n’Onions as one of the five best Celtic punk records of 2019 and 2020.

“If hurricanes could play music, they’d sound something like North Carolina’s Tan and Sober Gentlemen… (They) make music that’s a mix of moonshine and rocket fuel. It’s wild and free bluegrass mated with punk rock. Incorporated with unabashed Gaelic influence, they thrive from a hammer-down style.” -Bristol Herald-Courier