Beach Music in The Carolinas

Everything You Need to Know About Carolina Beach Music

From the danceable beats of Luis Fonsi’s Despacito to the funky rhythms of Bruno Mars’s That’s What I Like, there are plenty of classic songs that come to mind when you associate music with laid-back beaches and sunny shores. But there’s one type of music that existed long before the likes of DJ Khaled and Bruno Mars graced our boom boxes. And that is Carolina Beach Music.

The excitement that this music genre evokes is perhaps only eclipsed by the extent to which it is underappreciated. Today, we will give you a complete 101 of this genre of music; what it sounds like, its history, and the big name bands associated with it.

So, grab your rattles and get your groove on, we’re about to introduce you to a world of catchy melodies and toe-tapping beats.

What is Carolina Beach Music About?

As the name suggests, Carolina Beach music finds its roots in the traditional R&B scene of the Carolinas. Add a razzle dazzle of soul, rock ‘n’ roll, country, and jazz music elements to this rhythm and blues, and you end up with beats that evoke positive emotions and make you think about the South and nostalgic beach trips.

The smooth beats of this genre are also super easy to dance to. In fact, the shag dance is signature to Carolina rhythms. This dance is a lot like the other swing dances popular on the seashore. But these swing moves are usually accompanied by smooth gliding strides in shag. It is for this very reason that Carolina Beach Music is also called  “shag music”.

A Brief History of Carolina Beach Music

It all started in the mid 90s when a mixture of drums, electric guitar, and horns was recorded in the Carolinas. The rhythm that grew out from this combination was not just smooth but also super catchy. Thus, Carolina Beach Music came into existence. Over the next decade, the interest in this genre was boosted by radio hosts and clubs who jammed to the beats of Carolina all along the coast. By the 70s plenty of bands had come into existence who refined and personalized this genre into what it is today.

In present times, Carolina Beach Music may not be topping the charts on Spotify every month but it holds a special place in the hearts of the people who live along the coast who ensure the genre continues to evolve while maintaining its originality.

Carolina Beach Music: Famous Bands

Some of the most prominent bands of Carolina Beach Music are:

1. The Band of Oz

Inducted into the Hall of Fame of Beach Music, The Band of Oz has only produced hits and bangers ever since their inception in the early 70s. From  Chuck French’s trumpet to Keith Houston’s guitar Oz was all about playing from the heart. And America loved them.

2. The Castaways

From The Durham NC area The Castaways Band knows the classics and plenty of up to date party tunes. This band has entertained tens of thousands for decades and as the song says- It Will Stand..

3. The Cat5 Band

The Cat5 Band was equally good at producing top-energy music that would attract massive crowds. But that’s not the only way you can experience Cat5. The beach band has also released plenty of albums, two DVDs, and a live show CD.

4. The Catalinas

If you appreciate a blend of classic beach music hits and modern bangers, consider attending a performance by the Catalinas. Started in the late 50s, the band has stood the test of time. More than 70 musicians have called the Catalinas their band and today, it is a proud member of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

5. The Coastline Band

From relaxing rhythms to groovy beats, The Coastline Band can do it all. Many of their hits can be streamed on Spotify which is great news for the modern listener.

6. The Drifters

What happens when you combine electrifying beats and unrivaled stage performance? Well, The Drifters come into existence. The funky dressing of this band is the perfect embodiment of their performance style. Rest assured, you won’t be able to resist taking the dance floor when attending a performance by The Drifters!

7. The Embers 

Craig Woolard has perhaps done more for the Carolina Beach Music scene than any other artist. His band, The Embers has undergone plenty of lineup changes over the past few years but one thing remains constant: A-level music and groove.

8. The Entertainers

Song catalogs don’t get any bigger than the bangers produced by The Entertainers. From chill blues to electrifying ques, this band has got something for everyone.

9. The Tams

Currently on a tour of the US and Canada, The Tams have been featured in dozens of movies and shows. You can stream their jazzy albums online or book a show and watch them live.

10. Too Much Sylvia

Similar to The Tams, Too Much Sylvia has also been featured in movies and TV shows. Their six albums are all equally good and are sure to get you in the shag dance spirit. Too Much Sylvia is famous for its extensive tours. So, whether you live in the US or on the other side of the Pacific, stay tuned for tour updates from their social media pages.

Final Thoughts: The Future of Carolina Beach Music

It’s been more than six decades since the beats of Carolina Beach Music first graced human ears. Since then, this genre of music has only grown. The laid-back vibe and danceable beats of this kind of music have continued to be the highlight of any trip to the Carolinas. Granted, the golden era of Carolina Beach Music was probably in the 70s and 80s but modern streaming apps have ensured a global audience can now enjoy this genre.

So, will you be trying out a Carolina Beach Music playlist next time you hit the beach? Let us know in the comments below!