When looking at Charlotte for its music identity, most will look to The Avett Brothers– the kind of band with enough honky tonk, flannelshirts and beards for the entirety of the folk genre. But now, more than ten years since The Avett Brothers started, it’s time for newer bands to start defining Charlotte’s sound. One band that is making headway is Matrimony, consisting of Jimmy Brown, his wife, Ashlee Hardee Brown, and her two brothers Jordan Hardee and CJ Hardee.

“I guess the Avett Brothers are an inspiration in terms of their work ethic (and) how much they’ve toured. They’re just a real hardworking band, which I really respect,” Jimmy Brown says on a phone call from Costa Mesa, California, but he doesn’t think Matrimony is following in their musical footsteps of bluegrass and folk. “That whole Southern banjo-y music isn’t really that big of an influence. I think of us more as a fun, emotional rock group with two singers and a family sing-a-long.”


Brown describes Matrimony as sounding like a hillbilly Fleetwood Mac, saying it’s not just folk or Americana but there is a pop sensibility, too. When it comes to creating new songs, Brown says the band doesn’t focus on any particular sound but rather, they focus on writing lyrics that are emotive and personal. “When we write, we don’t think about any other bands. You write what you’re feeling, and we definitely learned a few things about what works for us as a band,” he says.

Their development has led them to the west coast on their tour, where Brown describes people’s common misperception of Charlotte as being traditionally Southern with white picket fences. Though Charlotte is more Southern than Los Angeles will ever be, it isn’t like the stereotype that people think it is, nor is it necessarily as twangy as The Avett Brothers represent it as.

Lookingthrough the backdrop of several music videos by Matrimony, the sentiment for their Charlotte roots is evident, and even their latest release,Montibello Drive, is named for the street in Charlotte, a place where Brown and the Hardees all lived.


As for the dynamics of a band of family members, Brown describes the unique sibling harmonies between Ashley, CJ and Jordan. "It sounds better, all of us singing, than it sounds any of just one of us singing. Maybe that’s just because you can’t hear my voice properly whenever everyone is singing. We’ve got a cool connection and we got a cool thing where we’re all very grateful and aware of it. We do everything we can do to retain those relationships and to make sure everybody’s having a good time and making sure we can still play music together.”


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