Awendaw Green, located by the Sewee Outpost in Awendaw, SC, is host to a weekly music series. Every Wednesday evening, bands come out and rock the stage at what is commonly known as the “Barn Jam.” The venue is a beautifully maintained lot with seating, bonfires, and food and drinks for sale on location. Eddie White, a local dentist, is the man who brings the music to this quaint little town right outside of Mount Pleasant. Friends and visitors are invited to bring their own coolers with other food and drink options and enjoy a great night of music for just a $5 donation. Children under 12 get in free.
Last Wednesday, a great band from NYC came through and rocked the pants off of everyone in attendance. This all girl band, known as Antigone Rising, celebrated the release of their new album, Whiskey and Wine (Part 1) on March 25th. The band, with founding members and sisters Kathy and Kristen Henderson playing lead and bass guitar (and vocals), Nini Camps rocking vocals, and Dena Tauriello hitting the drums, delivered a powerful set of alternative country music to a welcoming and packed house. Overwhelming the audience with songs such as That Was the Whiskey and Everything Changes from their new album, they experienced something rarely seen at the Barn Jam – a standing ovation from the crowd.
Having a chance to talk with the band, I was instantly impressed with their dedication of setting good examples for girls and women to overcome obstacles and stay true to themselves. In choosing the band’s name, they looked to Antigone, the daughter of an incestuous marriage between Oedipus and his mother Jocasta, who is known for securing the burial of her brother at the possible expense of punishment by death for herself. Her brother was considered a traitor, and any type of mourning for his death was disallowed. Punishment would prove swift for Antigone when she was caught by the King’s guards. Defiantly, she stood behind her morality and cried out to the King about the prominence of “divine law” above man’s self-made code. Antigone Rising is a prime example of overcoming challenges and proving that they can easily be “better than the boys” with hard work and determination.
Kristen Henderson, bass guitarist and vocalist, enjoys a more personal success through her experience with meeting and marrying her now wife, Sara, and having dual pregnancies simultaneously after conceiving on the same day. Being highly involved in the LGBT community, they are staunch supporters of gay marriage. Kristen and Sara were on the cover of Time Magazine and have written a book about their journey, Times Two, Two Women in Love and the Family They Made, printed by Simon and Schuster. Offering advice to young people who may be experiencing their own coming out, Kristen says the best thing they can do is be honest with themselves and keep a good support system. “It’s hard, isn’t it?” she says to Dena. Notwithstanding, Kristen is proud to have two 5 year olds with Sara and is hoping to have at least one more child in the future.
The girls have traveled around the world and have played with some heavy hitters over the past few years. Traveling through the mid-east was interesting to say the least, as they were initially in fear for their safety. As it turns out, the fear was misguided, and the locals in places such as West Bank held similar beliefs about the States. “They were afraid to come to the US due to our school bombings,” states Kristen. Dena acknowledged this with a nod and said, “It wasn’t like we thought it would be at all.”
Throughout their travels, they have found themselves onstage with some of the most famous and popular bands of all time. Antigone Rising opened for the Rolling Stones at The Arena as well as Aerosmith and Rob Thomas. The girls also describe one particular concert when they opened for the Allman Brothers. Greg Allman’s manager said that Greg might want to join them onstage, but also that he’s quite terrible with remembering things and would probably forget. However, they staged the set list to where the song that Greg Allman might join them would be played towards the end at the second to last song. Unfortunately, he didn’t show up, so they pushed the song back again. After they’d started rocking their final song, an organ was pushed out with Greg Allman jamming onstage with them! They nearly lost their shit, and Kristen freely admits, “I started crying.”
Once you see them live, you can see how their talent and charisma will take them to even more venues and open for other huge acts. Kathy Henderson’s guitar riffs remind you of Pat Benatar mixed with Pink Floyd, and she reminds us that her first influences came from Karen Carpenter. Joan Jett’s label, Heart, has picked up the band and is promoting their album, with a video being produced soon. Having such an awesomely talented band such as Antigone Rising visit the Barn Jam is something we may never forget, and we hope they will come back again to play in our little “tree house” on the Green.
A lifetime of music addiction and appreciation has led Stephanie to her passion of live music photography and the entertainment industry. Having a particular interest in exceptional guitar work, she is best known for introducing her kids to Steve Vai’s and Yngwie Malmsteen’s talent in an effort to promote musical discovery to a new generation.