October 2009

The Homecoming: Carter Twins Return To Hilton Head

Author: Kate Hanzalik

Just nominated for this year’s CMT awards for Best New Duo and Breakthrough Video of the Year, Josh and Zack Carter are the newest, youngest, hottest pair in the country music scene—and they just happen to be from Hilton Head Island. If you are a Lowcountry resident or have visited here in the past five years, you’ve probably heard The Carter Twins’ upbeat, pop-infused country tunes at Wild Wing, Coligny, or any number of other music venues or festival.

“We played out everywhere in Hilton Head,” said 19-year old Christian Academy graduate Zack in a recent interview with CH2, just before the start of their 15-city tour, which stops in music meccas such as New York City and Charlotte. “You never know who you are playing in front of…every bar that would let us play, [we would] because we are really young.”

The twins are set to play at a homecoming concert at the Shoreline Ballroom on Sunday, Oct. 18. Proceeds go towards the Binyah Foundation, a non-profit devoted to preserving Daufuskie Gullah culture and architecture; and proceeds from tickets sold by local schools and churches will go towards those organizations.

With Josh on guitar and Zack on piano, their music is a soulful combination unlike any other. They define it as “new country” or hybrid pop-country. Simply put, “It’s fresh,” said Josh. Their lyrics are quick to praise Southern gals, and their short story of stardom will have any aspiring musician drooling.

With their mother in the radio industry, music has always been an integral part of the Carter twins’ lives. They have always been fearless about putting themselves out there, playing everywhere, schmoozing. So when they had a chance encounter with an MTV executive in Los Angeles early their senior year, they made the best of it. By the time they graduated high school in 2008, they scored a contract with CMT. Their family picked up and moved to Nashville shortly thereafter so the twins could make their first album. And it was well worth it. Heart Like Memphis, set to release in early 2010, features collaborations with some of country’s biggest names—Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Alan Jackson and Toby Keith.

“It is kind of like a journey,” said Zack of the album. “We take you to some sad songs, to songs about love. It’s a whole entire emotional roller coaster.”

“People our age and people older and younger can relate because we’ve all been in the same situation,” added Josh.

Their hit single, of the same name as their album, is heard on stations around the states and all over the Web. Their producer, Frank Rogers, is ranked the number one country producer by Billboard magazine.

“Frank is probably one of the funniest, most amazing men in the entire world,” said Zack. “It’s so great to be working with such an awesome guy. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves and say, ‘Really? Are we working with the Frank Rogers?’ He believes in us 110 percent and is never afraid to tell us what he really thinks.

Yet they haven’t forgotten their roots. Of their favorite places on the island, Zack said, “Most of all of them revolve around food and the beach. So I would say Wild Wing. We always have to go there with our friends. That’s always fun. Fiesta Fresh…”

Josh, a Hilton Head High School graduate, said, “We just like hanging out at the beach and going to the pool, relaxing—things that we can’t do in Nashville because it’s landlocked. Hilton Head, for us, is our place to lay by the pool and not talk about music.”

Throughout all the hype, they remain humble and gracious. “It’s just a whirlwind because we never thought it would happen this soon,” said Zack. “It is incredible. The artist community in Nashville has been so great to us. CMT has been a great partner in helping us launch our career. We can’t believe it, at 19 years old.”

For tickets, call (843) 842-0358 or order them online at
www.shorelineballroom.com or etix.com. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; show
begins at 6:30 p.m. Other ticket vendors: Street Meet, Mellow Mushroom, The Zone Sports Bar, Loose Lucy’s, or Station 70 in Bluffton. Learn more about the twins at www.cartertwins.com and on Twitter. Songs are available on iTunes
and cmt.com.

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The Binyah Foundation
Over 100 years ago, Daufuskie Island’s Binyah (Gullah) society was prosperous, with a wealth of natural resources fueling the economy. But after fires ravaged the Melrose Plantation, bullweed infiltrated cotton crops, and pollution destroyed oyster beds, many Binyahs were forced to leave for other coastal towns. Today, with only 20 natives left on Daufuskie, cultural and architectural preservation efforts are imperative.

While the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation repaired schools and churches, many of the socially used structures like the Brothers and Sisters Society House still need revitalization—and that is where the Binyah Foundation comes in.

“Over 100 structures and homes have fallen to mother nature year by year,” said executive director Bart Whitaker, who is spearheading the homecoming concert, and he’s hopeful about the event. “The Shoreline Ballroom holds about 1,700; our anticipation is to have it sell out, and if it does, we’ll do a second date on Monday the 19th.”

For more information on ticket sales, the concert and upcoming events hosted
by the Binyah Foundation, call (843) 647-5170,
email bart@binyahfoundation.org, or visit thebinyahfoundation.org.

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