Carolina Sonshine, formed in 1998, was one of the best bluegrass gospel bands to play Fountain. They were primarily a festival band because the band members lived too far apart to work otherwise, and we were lucky to get them a couple of times to play RAF. They came to Fountain because Dennis Cash had so enjoyed his show, on auto harp, with Sherman Lee Dillon playing traditional blues and old-time music.
With Carolina Sonshine, Cash also played mandolin, and guitar and sang tenor and wrote several of their original songs. He and co-founder and bassist Wayne Ratley met at a bluegrass jam in Fayetteville, where Cash had been transferred for work. Next in was Danny Stanley and then banjo picker David Smith.
Danny Stanley, from Loris, SC, had played for 18 years with his family band, the Stanleys. He was lead singer, played guitar and wrote original songs for the band. He also played fiddle, Dobro, harmonica, and mandolin.
Tom Langdon, Lorraine Jordan’s husband, joined the band in 2004 as their second permanent banjo picker, also playing Dobro as needed and providing baritone vocals.
Carolina Sonshine was particularly well-known for their dedication to the music of the Country Gentlemen. “Danny sounds a little bit like Charlie Waller,” Cash told Michael Brantley for Bluegrass Unlimited.
Stanley demurred: “I really didn’t try to imitate Charlie Waller. I just wanted to do something to honor him.”
• • •
Brantley, Michael. “Carolina Sonshine: Together on a Mission.” Bluegrass Unlimited. Aug. 2010: 50-52. Buy it.
Promotional copy generated by R.A.Fountain for Carolina Sonshine and Dillon & Cash performances in 2006.