The Guilty Pleasures is an acoustic band from the musical heart of North Carolina, steeped in our State’s strong musical tradition but not afraid to venture into uncharted territory. Band members John McNeal (guitar), Nat Smith (bass), Meredith Nye (fiddle), Tim Stambaugh (banjo, dobro, percussion), and Michael Booze (banjo, mandolin) have played everything from country to funk to punk to jazz (which perhaps explains how they can pull off segueing from an 18th-century ballad into The Monkey Song from Disney’s “The Jungle Book”) before returning to their musical roots.
Guilty Pleasures has been playing the Orange/Chatham County scene since the late ‘90’s, with occasional sojourns to Asheville and other points westward. In addition to the typical bar/restaurant venue, the band plays wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, church picnics and family reunions, and they are regulars at the Shakori Hills and Eno River Festivals.
The Guilty Pleasures’ sound is centered in bluegrass, old-time music, ballads, jigs and reels, but they’ve been known to cover all genres of music, including Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, the Band, Elvis, Gram Parsons, The Byrds, Rolling Stones, Pachabel and George Gershwin. Dancing is encouraged, and dancers can select from the breakneck pace of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys to the sorrowful lamentations of Hank Williams to the out-and-out weirdness of Clarence Ashley’s “The Cuckoo Bird.”
So kick back and enjoy the wide-ranging sounds of the Piedmont’s premier purveyors of Americana, The Guilty Pleasures. And remember, North Carolina blessed the world with Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, but it also gave birth to Thelonious Monk and George Clinton!