14 musicians from the Triangle area

Porter Robinson's performance at Red Hat | Photo by RALtoday

You probably already know that the Triangle has a rockin’ music scene. From alternative rock bands to Americana and folk duos, our musicians run the gamut when it comes to talent. Worldwide audiences have proven their love for these musicians: 80,000 people showed up to J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival in April + locals consistently sell out Sylvan Esso’s shows. 

We’ve put together a list of some of our musical favorites originating from the Triangle area. 

Raleigh musicians

Bowerbirds 

Composed of Philip Moore, Beth Tacular, and Mark Paulson, this folk band from Raleigh was formed in 2006. The band is famous for songs like “In Our Talons” + “Tuck the Darkness In” and its NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. Bowerbirds latest album, “becalmyounglovers,” is Phillip Moore’s recording project and the band’s first album since 2012.

Kate Rhudy

Listeners can expect to hear indie-folk musical stylings like “I Don’t Think You’re an Angel (Anymore)” + “Boy From Charlevoix” from this Raleigh singer-songwriter. Featured in multiple publications, Kate Rhudy played with various bands in Boone before collaborating with Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange (now Watchhouse) to create her first album in 2017, “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me.”

Arson Daily

Made of Zach Dunham, Adam McLean, Quincy Platt, and Dan Strief, this Raleigh-based band describes their music as “Nashville garage rock” and “indie-radio trash” — though you can decide for yourself while listening to songs like “Pipe Dreams.” Just like the aforementioned Kate Rhudy, Arson Daily also began in Boone before relocating to Raleigh and performing with larger names like Shakey Graves and Briston Maroney. 

The Connells

This Raleigh band initially made of Mike and David Connell, John Schultz, Peele Wimberly, and George Huntley, was formed way back in 1984. Their song “’74-’75″ eventually found chart-topping success in Europe which led to an MTV feature and follow-up albums until 2001. After a 20 year hiatus, the band released their 2021 album, “Steadman’s Wake.”

American Aquarium

This alternative country band formed in 2005 hails from Raleigh and is made up of its founder BJ Barham, Zack Brown, Whit Wright, Bill Corbin, Kevin McClain, Colin DiMeo, and Ryan Johnson. Their discography includes popular songs like “The Luckier You Get” + “Losing Side of Twenty Five” along with tunes from their latest 2020 album, “Lamentations,” which explores the concept of human doubt. 

Priscilla Block

This Raleigh native and country music star was just nominated for her first CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. The singer-songwriter entered into the world of fame when she released her viral song “Just About Over You” on TikTok in 2020. 

Ryan Adams

Known for his rock/alt country band Whiskeytown in the 90s, along with his solo album “Heartbreaker,” Ryan Adams is from Jacksonville, though his band Whiskeytown was Raleigh-based. While he might not perform in his home state anymore, songs like  “When The Stars Go Blue” + “Come Pick Me Up” are still popular among fans.

The Triangle + beyond

Sylvan Esso 

This electronic-pop duo comes from a few miles down the road in Durham. Consisting of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, their debut single, “Hey Mami” reached No. 39 on the Billboard 200. This duo was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2022 ceremony.

Ben Folds Five

Before he became a solo act, this Winston-Salem native formed the alt-rock band Ben Folds Five in Chapel Hill. Comprised of Ben Folds, Darren Jessee, and Robert Sledge, the three-man band is known for popular songs like “Brick” + “Army.” In fact, in 1998, “Brick” was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award alongside the likes of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

Porter Robinson

This DJ + musician spent time creating music and refining his craft while growing up in Chapel Hill. Mostly known for his EDM sounds + work with Skrillex, the Grammy nominated artist added “philanthropist” to his resume. He has worked with pediatric oncologist Dr. Kate Westmoreland of UNC Healthcare to raise funds to support pediatric care in Malawi.

Watchhouse 

Before their name-change, this husband and wife duo from Chapel Hill was known as Mandolin Orangeremember Kate Rhudy’s collaboration? Listeners will find folk songs like “Wildfire” and “Golden Ember” under the band’s former name, but shouldn’t hesitate to check out newer songs like “Wondrous Love.” 

Mipso 

This folk string band comes right out of Chapel Hill with popular harmonizing tunes like “My Burden with Me” and “People Change.” Made up of Jacob Sharp, Libby Rodenbough, Wood Robinson, and Joseph Terrell, the band made their debut in 2013 with the release of their “Dark Holler Pop” album. 

Chatham Rabbits

Hailing from just outside of Pittsboro, the Chatham Rabbits is made up of married duo Austin + Sarah McCombie. Known for their old-timey music performed with a new and fresh sound, this duo debuted with their album “All I Want From You” in 2019.

J. Cole

Raised in Fayetteville, the rapper + record producer introduced his music to the world in 2007 with his first album, “The Come Up.” His most recent album, “The Off Season,” has become his sixth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. To honor his NC roots, J. Cole brings diverse musical and artistic talent to Raleigh with his Dreamville music festival at Dix Park.