The SunnySide Band

The cool mountain air whirls through the crowd; smiles sweep across the faces.  Toes begin to tap in rhythm to the steady thump of the upright bass.  Heads sway in motion to the graceful notes of the autoharp.  Bodies dance to the charming strums of the acoustic guitar.  It’s a beautiful cheery day at Humpback Rocks with the folks kickin’ back and enjoying the mountain sound of The SunnySide Band.

SunnySide began in September of 2007, playing their first gig at Humpback Rocks Old Settlers Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  With their passions in playing the old-time mountain music, this trio is a harmony of beautiful sound, although, the roots of each member of SunnySide are as varied and unique as the mountain music itself.

Mountain Music is defined by a variety of folk music from many countries.  England, Scotland, Ireland, and countries in Africa are all contributing areas to this mountain sound.  Mountain music is comprised of beautiful ballads and other types of folk songs played on acoustic instruments.  But it’s more than pleasant voices and smooth licks on the guitar to portray the mountain sound.  It’s the raw spirit, joy, and emotion that exude from the artist that brings the old-time mountain sound alive.

SunnySide is a band unto itself.  They are laid back yet professional, free yet disciplined, speaking a universal language with their music.  Since the background of all three members is so different, SunnySide is blessed with a unique sound.  Carol Phillips contributes her passions of the Carter Family, Jim Lilly adds his flare of his early love for the old-time mountain music, and Betty Calvert brings forth her love of the classic country tunes of the 1950’s.  Together, this trio gives the beauty of mountain music a fresh twist.

-Carol Phillips' Grandmother on Banjo- Posted on 'The Wall of Music' in 'The Old Homestead Museum'

Since there was no radio or television in mountain living, their music was their means for entertainment.  The people told their stories of hardships and comforts through the instruments they played, through the movements of their dances, and the lyrics of their songs.  Mountain music was more than just tunes; it was their life stories backed up with beautiful instruments like the autoharp, guitar, bass, banjo, and fiddle.

SunnySide is dedicated to keeping the old-time mountain roots alive.  They do more than just play their acoustic instruments and sing words.  They strum each note with the heart of the natives; they sing each story through the eyes of its past, and they live each moment through the spirit of the mountains. SunnySide is old-time mountain music.