Lees Cut is an up-and-coming variety band based out of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. At present, the band is a four-piece composed of Quinn Widerman, Matt Carswell, Wyatt Thomas, and Harper Newber. I was lucky enough to see them playing as a five-piece with Dante Patterson, who can play any instrument, but mostly played lead guitar in the performance. He was a full-time member, but is currently not performing with them due to life circumstances, although they are still quite close.
Lees Cut in a nutshell: Quinn looks and sounds like a cowboy that travelled through space and time to let the people of this era experience authentic country music. Matt plays lead guitar and displays his mastery of the vocal fry- a.k.a. rasp- when it is time to break out the alternative rock songs. Wyatt plays bass like a man possessed, jumping around the stage, climbing tables and even taking laps around the venue. Harper ties it all together on drums, expertly coordinating with the other members, resulting in a tight sound with seamless and entertaining transitions between songs and genres.
These guys are young, but they perform with a skill and professionalism that typically belongs to experienced entertainers. That is partly due to their many years of individual practice, and their near daily performance schedule, but it is also a result of the guidance of expert mentors.
The band is named after the channel where Matt and Quinn first met, Lees Cut, in Wrightsville Beach. At the time, Matt had already been taken under the wing of Jim Quick, a
performer with more than 20 years of experience touring the East Coast as frontman of the rock and soul beach music group, Jim Quick & Coastline. Jim is a recurring recipient of the Carolina Music Awards “Entertainer of the Year” award, and his album Down South was produced by Nashville’s Gary Nicholson.
With help and advice from Jim and his network, Lees Cut has been growing quickly. Besides Jim Quick & Coastline, Lees Cut also shares some relation with another critically acclaimed East Coast beach band, Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot. In some ways these coastal bands and their fans are like a family, and Lees Cut represents the next generation of East Coast musicians.
I saw that strong bond and sense of community first hand Sunday evening at Duck’s Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach. There, these two huge bands, along with Lees Cut and many other guest artists, put on an amazing benefit concert for the family of Joey Noble. Joey, or Uncle Joe to those who knew him, was many things to many people: a long-time fan, a fellow musician, a father, a best friend.
The fundraiser was originally set up by this tight-knit community of music lovers after Joey was diagnosed with stage four cancer to help him afford his medical bills, as Joey was determined to fight for his life. Tragically, Joey didn’t live long enough to see the concert held in his honor. The concert then seemed to become a celebration of Joey’s life, a chance for his community to help his family pay the medical bills and funeral costs, and also an opportunity to raise money for cancer-related charities. Besides live music, there was an auction, a bake sale, and a performance by a pair of talented young shag-dancers. All of the proceeds that night were donated, totalling over $18,000. It was a spectacular event, and according to those who knew him best, exactly what Uncle Joe would have wanted.
As I was helping Matt carry cakes meant for the bake sale into Duck’s, I was struck by the contrast between the atmosphere of the previous night’s venue- a college bar called Goodfellas- and the show he was about to play. I turned to him and said, “It feels like I’m going to church.”
He replied without missing a beat, “You are… but, this church has beer.”
Categories: Arts & Entertainment