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The Lover Boyz discuss their storied Durham history before playing Pinhook this weekend

The Lover Boyz will perform at Pinhook in Durham
The Lover Boyz will perform at Pinhook in Durham

The Durham singing-stepping group known as The Lover Boyz is performing at The Pinhook this Sunday. Some of the members have been singing for more than 30 years. They stopped by the WUNC studio recently to offer a little taste of what it will sound like when they take the stage.

This is an excerpt of an edited transcript of that conversation. You can hear the full interview by clicking the LISTEN button at the top of this post.

Producer, film-maker, collaborator, and session musician Phil Cook was convinced to play with the band after a meeting outside of a venue in Durham.

Cook: Pierce McCoy and I have known each other for years now, and we've run into each other in so many different places and spaces. (Speaking to McCoy:) Over the years, I just came to know that you're (McCoy) a musician, you love music, and we always just talk about music. And we were outside of 21c, I was playing show with Kym Register, who owns Pinhook and who was also playing. And McCoy came by and 20 minutes later, we had the seed for this thing. We were literally just outside right before the set and McCoy all of a sudden was in the mix with all of us and we were talking and he was just like, 'I just really want you to hear my group.'

Phil went over to Raymond Horton's house, sat on the couch and listened to The Lover Boyz sing in Ray's living room. That was all it took. With the quartet ready to roll, it was time to pick the songs. McCoy, who's been singing around Durham for more than three decades, explains how that worked.

McCoy: We had a lot of songs that we were trying to choose from. And initially what we were coming up with was tunes that everybody had basically heard, though maybe they haven't heard them in a long time. Then we started to come up with another idea. How many times have you played an album or a CD and you heard another song that didn't get played? Maybe it wasn't on the A side. Those were the ones that we were picking. And we found out I mean, luck of the draw, the first three songs that we do were in the same key. So it was an easy transition right? Even if it went down from super funky to just a mellow funk, and then the bottom sort of drops out and you just sway a little bit. It was still the same key.

Phil Cook added that it is important to honor the legacy of music that has been so important to Durham's culture.

Cook: We always talk about how Durham is changing so much, and I want to celebrate the parts of Durham that have been here, that are a part of the real lineage of Durham. And what else is more Durham than Pinhook?

The Lover Boyz will perform at The Pinhook in Durham this Sunday at 4 and 8pm. They'll be joined by a backing band that includes Phil Cook and Kym Register.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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