Born within the famous Shoal Creek Country Music Park, the Stranglers croon a charming set of traditional tunes that range from old time relics of ‘Carter scratch’ with an acoustical accompaniment to full-on-electrified swamp string. Formed in 2011 by Zeke Sayer on guitar and Matthew Garrison on the bull fiddle; both formally raised within the strong roots of southern Appalachia folk music; Clem Sayer of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame / Shoal Creek Music Park and Mark Garrison of the bluegrass sensation “BlueBilly Grit”.
“Gentle, old-timey folk songs that will make the dust in your hair feel right at home–if my memory serves me correctly, I once witnessed these guys mesmerize a drunk woman into sobriety beneath the punishing Georgia sun when she requested what was probably a Skynyrd, Foghat or Black Oak song, only to promptly launch into the most pleasant tune about a squirrel instead. These dudes don’t mess around.”
Tim Peyton / Terrapin Station Records
“The Shoal Creek Stranglers — featured a sound that was antiquated in the best sense of the word. They reminded me of Woody Guthrie … or, better yet, Peter, Paul and Mary singing Woody Guthrie songs. In reality, their folk song repertoire is made of songs all of the greats have written, or more often covered themselves: Doc Watson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Joan Baez and the rest. Songs like “Freight Train, Freight Train,” “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” and “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues” have a far-stretching history. They even threw in a Ray Stevens novelty song about a squirrel going berserk in a Mississippi church. Yup, they had it all. [they] have a full sound that feels bigger than the two men onstage. Zeke Sayer picks his guitar, and Matthew Garrison plucks his bass. It’s simple, it’s sentimental, and it’s inexhaustible.”
MARK ELLERS / Athens Banner Herald