Candlewyck started as an acoustic duo founded by Chris Emerson and Ty Bennett in Charlotte, NC. After years of playing and writing together, Chris and Ty decided it was time to put some of their ideas on tape which eventually became the first Candlewyck CD.
Originally a guitar and mandolin group, Candlewyck soon became the title of a recording project that would feature Ty's original compositions and Chris’ exciting mandolin style. While working on these songs Chris and Ty recruited the help of some talented friends such as banjoist Steve Dilling (IIIrd Tyme Out) and producer Art Bordeaux. As word spread about the Candlewyck CD, more and more people wanted to take part. Ultimately the CD became an all-star recording that features some of the finest talents in acoustic music. John Cowan (New Grass Revival), Joe Craven (David Grisman Quintet), Jim Hurst, Larry Rice and Michael Fath are just a few of the musicians that perform on the CD. Combining elements of rock, jazz and classical music, the Candlewyck project was recorded primarily at The Sound Farm studios in Charlotte with additional recording done in various other studios throughout North Carolina and Virginia. While this eclectic recording often hints at folk, country and popular music, it’s loaded with fresh ideas. The Candlewyck CD includes the hook-laden “Whatcha Gonna Say”, the touching “Little Jasper” and the gospel barn-burner “Firemen”.
The band prides itself on being one of a very few bluegrass groups to write, record and perform their own material. While Ty composes most of the group’s material, several tunes are collaborations with Chris such as "Firemen". “This will always be one of our favorite songs and was actually our first single released to radio where it did well” says Chris. They called on Lonesome River Band alumni Don to sing lead on the tune and it won Best Bluegrass Song at the 2002 Independent Music Awards --not a small feat considering the thousands of entries and the fact that the judges included Arturo Sandoval, Ricky Skaggs and Tom Waits.
A live Candlewyck show guarantees excitement, variety and a lot of picking. The band performs music from the award winning CD as well as material to be released on a second record later this year. Jon Cornatzer is impressive in how he is able to combine banjo parts performed on the CD (by Terry Baucom, Jens Kruger, Tony Furtado, etc.) with his own creative ideas and make it all work. He is a tremendous talent and will be featured heavily on the new Candlewyck record. Recent sessions have included keyboard legend T. Lavitz (Dixie Dregs, Widespread Panic), Rob Ickes (Blue Highway), Moondi Klein (Chesapeake), Tim Cashion (Grand Funk Railroad), Jon Randall (Emmylou Harris) and John Cowan (New Grass Revival). “We're just having fun and trying to make good music” says Ty. Look for Candlewyck on the road soon with a new record and a cup of java as everyone in the band is a coffee nut.