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Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks

Blind Boy Chocolate & the Milk Sheiks

Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks mixes fiddle, guitar and mandolin with wood saw, wash-bucket bass and washboard. The string band draws its selection from early American music, including that of black and white string bands, jug bands and blues. Hear them play at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 3 to 4 p.m.

This free concert is presented as part of the Music of the Carolinas series.

Dwight “Blind Boy Chocolate” Hawkins was working in construction in Oregon when he learned how to play his wood saw as an instrument. He spent many hours perfecting the sound and learned to match the notes and tones to violins and other instruments.

Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks came together in the summer of 2009 as a three-piece group featuring Hawkins on wood saw and guitar; Nicky “the Squirrel” Marshall on mandolin, harmonica, accordion and kazoo; and Antone “T-Bird” Costa on lead guitar and kazoo. In the spring of 2010 they gained two new members, Alex Brady on washtub bass and Aaron Gunn on fiddle.

The band uses prewar blues, ragtime, early jazz and songster traditions from the 1920s and 1930s. Their sound is influenced by the Memphis Jug Band and Charlie Poole. They were a hit last spring at MerleFest and have made a name for themselves in western North Carolina.

The program is sponsored by PineCone, with support from the N.C. Museum of History Associates, Williams Mullen and WLHC-FM/WLQC-FM.

For more information about the museum, call 919-807-7900 or access or Facebook. The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton St., across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit

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