Lowcountry record label gives local musicians chance to shine

Lowcountry record label gives local musicians chance to shine

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Whether you're a dedicated diehard who attends every show, or a casual fan who tries to make a concert when it's convenient, if you've been to a show featuring local musicians in the Charleston area in the past decade, Dan McCurry has probably had a part in it.

For the past decade, McCurry has been playing, producing, and putting music out for the public in the Charleston area and since 2012 his record label "Hearts and Plugs" has given Lowcountry bands an outlet for their music to be heard.

McCurry got his start playing in the band Run Dan Run as well as Steven Fiore & The Good People, Elim Bolt, Grace Joyner, The Lovely Few, Hermit's Victory and many others that fans of the Charleston music scene may recognize.

Hearts and Plugs got its start as a blog in 2007 and McCurry kept that active for about two years. After remaining dormant for a while, McCurry revived the name for use as a record label when his band, Run Dan Run, was preparing to release its second album. He said he's blown away by the growth the label has seen since then.

"At the time I didn't really have any expectations for Hearts and Plugs but it caught on more than I ever thought it could and has since become my main focus," McCurry says.

The typical workday for McCurry may come as a surprise to those who think all the music industry entails is booking and playing shows, concerts, and festivals in between parties.

"A workday at Hearts & Plugs involves lots of emails, maybe a few phone calls, perhaps a meeting, listening to music, shipping merchandise, planning for the next release or event, maybe screen printing posters or t-shirts, talking with record stores, etc. Basically it's a little bit of everything," McCurry says.

With 15 bands currently signed to the Hearts and Plugs record label,  Dan is constantly working. His hard work is starting to pay off, with many of his bands gaining national attention.

Brave Baby recently released their sophomore album, "Electric Friends," at a secret warehouse show to a sold out crowd in Charleston.  The alternative rock band is known for their high energy shows and have seen their fan base grow steadily over the past year or two. They have been featured on the Pandora radio app, played on radio stations in Europe and are looking forward to continuing their growth.

The High Divers and Susto will be playing the Savannah Stopover music festival this weekend. Susto has been a staple of the Lowcountry music scene since 2011, and many say it's only a matter of time before they break into the mainstream. The High Divers have quickly gained a following here in the Lowcountry as well, with their debut album "Riverlust" gaining high praise from critics and fans alike.

Slow Runner has probably had the most commercial exposure out of the band's on the Hearts and Plugs label. Based out of both Charleston and Nashville, Slow Runner has had songs featured on Shameless, Grey's Anatomy, and multiple other shows on FOX, MTV, and Showtime. Their main goal is simple: "continue their storied tradition of using ornery pop songs to try (and fail) to get girls to like them."

The other bands on Hearts and Plugs are growing quickly as well, with ET Anderson earning a solid fan base playing shows in the Midlands and South Dakota native Johnny Delaware quickly gaining a reputation as a can't miss singer-songwriter here in Charleston.

"It feels good to have these milestones with the bands. I look at it all as indicators that these bands are growing and moving toward possibly having sustainable careers making music and doing what we love which is exactly what H&P wants to foster ultimately," McCurry says.

A Charleston native, McCurry has high hopes for Charleston's music scene in the near future.

"There's a lot of positive energy here in Charleston right now as a whole, a lot of like-minded musicians/artists pushing to make things work here, to create their own scene together, their own unique culture together – I feel that because of this mindset and energy, Charleston is just a really good place to be right now," McCurry says, "I'd really like to see Charleston become the next music city, the next Nashville or Austin – I think we very much have this potential and hopefully H&P can grow on the national level and bring that sort of attention and recognition to Charleston that I think it deserves."

With a loaded schedule of shows and festivals coming up in the near future, one can rest assured McCurry will do his part to keep the beat steady and keep plugging along to ensure Hearts and Plugs remains at the forefront of the Charleston music scene.

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