NC Live @ The Carolina Theatre, Durham, May 27, 7:00 PM: Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys, with Kamara Thomas

TICKETED FREE SHOW!!!! Bursting the seams of the Kraken, Jonathan brings the hugely popular “Shake Sugaree” show to the Carolina Theatre stage, with special guest Kamara Thomas. GET TICKETS- FREE with Advanced Eventbrite Ticket | $5 Day-of-Show without advanced ticket

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists.   Between heartbreaking ballads and heart-lifting sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show. Jonathan Byrd is a preacher’s kid, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 2018, he created the Shake Sugaree Americana Residency, a weekly three-hour show at a little roadhouse outside of Chapel Hill called The Kraken.

Together with his band, The Pickup Cowboys, Byrd puts on a working class variety show with guest musicians, poetry readings, and epic jams. Now in its third year, the Shake Sugaree has developed into a local community event and an international online gathering place as it live-streams on YouTube, Facebook, and several other platforms.

Byrd’s non-profit, The Shake Sugaree Foundation, uses a percentage of the proceeds to support arts education for special needs children at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson, North Carolina.  Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists.   Between heartbreaking ballads and heart-lifting sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show.

Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, NC, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites.

Joined on drums by Austin McCall (Kaira Ba, Violet Bell), and musical renaissance man Johnny Waken on guitar, saw, and mandolin, Byrd shares the often-missed, always poignant tales of the small people that make the world such a big place.

Boxing photo by Rodney Bursiel  

GET TICKETS- FREE with Advanced Eventbrite Ticket | $5 Day-of-Show without advanced ticket


“…a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” —
K. Oliver, Free Times

“…one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.” — Chicago Tribune

“Jonathan Byrd swings from the roots of American music…He jumps between gutbucket blues and tender ballads, empathetic work laments and sympathetic character studies…Byrd shares the often-missed, always poignant tales of the small people that make this world such a big place.” — Grayson Currin, The Independent

Kamara Thomas and her band.

Kamara Thomas

“For a long time, I couldn’t accept that it was going to be harder for me, as a woman of color, to have people hear my country songs,” says Kamara Thomas, whose cosmic Americana tunes are as powerful and ambitious as the Country Soul Songbook project she now spearheads. A love letter to both her community and the genre on which she was raised, the project consists of quarterly concerts highlighting an inclusive array of Durham musicians, as well as an online documentary series that will spotlight different facets of the Durham community. Featuring a mix of originals and covers from the likes of Dolly Parton and Charley Pride, this inaugural show finds Thomas joined by Rissi Palmer, Phil Cook, Shana Tucker, and Loamlands’ Kym Register and backed by an all-star band. “It’s about telling the stories that haven’t been told, singing the canon in new ways, and hearing old songs come from the bodies of people who’ve been kept out for all the obvious reasons,” Thomas explains. —Spencer GriffithText content