Most people had never heard of The Carolina Chocolate Drops before the band caused a sensation with its 2010 album "Genuine Negro Jig." That album went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album that year, and since then they've cemented a reputation for their mix of virtuosity, innovation and respect for musical tradition.
They had actually been around awhile before that album, though, with a couple of obscure small-label releases and some work on the soundtrack of the movie "The Great Debaters."
They'll be in Tampa on Sunday for a concert at Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
Their style starts with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, but they re-interpret it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping American popular music.
They've released two albums since "Genuine Negro Jig," including their latest, "Leaving Eden," which came out a couple of years ago. Their sound has continued to evolve and their virtuosity has deepened, even while their music has remained firmly planted with its Carolina folk roots.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets: $24.50 plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827, www.strazcenter.org.
-- Marty Clear