Each year, the Nappie Awards music categories allow readers to pick musicians they consider some of the most talented in the Azalea City. While the list of winners holds many familiar names, Lagniappe readers also have the opportunity to be exposed to sounds with which they may be unfamiliar.
This makes the “Best New Band” category one of the most telling. Not only does it present a new music project that has made a positive impression with local music lovers, but this category can also be a harbinger of things to come.
For the 2016 Nappie Awards, Lagniappe readers went country and tapped into Muscadine Bloodline. This duo featuring Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton finds a great deal of satisfaction in winning this award.
“Me and Gary both grew up in Mobile. Having people from here recognize us as something special to them means more to us than anything,” Muncaster said. “This is our home base. We wouldn’t have music careers if we didn’t have our home base here in Mobile.”
Before Muscadine Bloodline, Muncaster and Stanton had established themselves as solo artists. The two became friends and began performing their solo sets on the same bill in an effort to boost the crowds at their live shows.
A year ago, the duo decided to combine their talents and compose a song together. Muncaster describes this event as the “tipping point” for the birth of Muscadine Bloodline. While Muncaster was living in Auburn, he invited Stanton to spend the week with him writing and performing. These sessions made the two realize it was time to combine their talents in one project.
“I had played with a lot of players, but I hadn’t clicked with anybody like that,” Muncaster explained. “From there on, Gary moved to Nashville last June, then I moved up the following October. We moved in together and were like, ‘Let’s do the damn thing.’”
As far as songwriting goes, Muncaster describes Stanton as a “songwriting mastermind.” Stanton wrote a number of songs during his college years, and many of their original songs have come from Stanton. Their current single, “Shut Your Mouth,” is a tribute to Southern culture Stanton wrote while in college.
However, Muncaster says the two have been using brainstorming session to co-write a number of Muscadine Bloodline’s tracks, with great success. These sessions have been so successful other musicians have expressed interest in collaborating with the duo on songs.
“We just sit down in a room and bounce ideas off of each other,” Muncaster said. “Luckily, we like the same type of things and vibe off of them. We’re lucky enough now that people are wanting to write with us. People don’t want to write with us individually — they want us both there in the room.”
The future of Muscadine Bloodline is looking very productive. The duo has been busy laying down tracks for a four-song EP. They also plan to keep their performance schedule as full as possible. According to Muncaster, some of these performances include opening spots with Corey Smith and Travis Tritt. Ultimately, Muscadine Bloodline provides further evidence that the local country scene is growing, and Muncaster recognizes its growth not only locally but nationally.
“I feel like the current state of country music, speaking on a national level, [has seen] a resurgence,” Muncaster said. “There’s not many musicians that I know in Mobile that really like what’s going on, as far as the national country scene. They’re out doing their best to play country music, which is good for Mobile. They’re staying away from the Bro Country thing.”
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