Growing up, Ellis Dyson loved listening to music on the radio until many of the songs started to sound the same. They had similar beats and were often formulaic. This epiphany led him to old-time jazz and artists like Jelly Roll Morton, and eventually to playing his own music. He began on the fiddle, moved on to the banjo, and started his own band as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dyson met saxophonist Danny Abrams, and the two busked on Franklin Street every weekend. They practiced on campus, and as their melodic sounds spilled from the rehearsal room into the hallways, a dream became a reality: Ellis Dyson and the Shambles.
Dyson and Abrams return to the State of Things for conversation and performance with a new iteration of the band. New to the team are Danny Grewen on vocals and trombone; Eli Wittmann on guitar and mandolin; and Butler Knowles on upright bass. They join host Frank Stasio to debut their new single “Psychopathic Family Farm.”
Plus they talk about their collaboration with Katharine Whalen of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Ellis Dyson and The Shambles perform Friday, Nov. 30 at the Evening Muse in Charlotte. They perform alongside Katharine Whalen on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Pour House in Raleigh and again New Year’s Eve at Carrboro ArtsCenter.