Our Story

It's been about music from the get go. Austin and I crossed paths in 2013 when he spotted me onstage at the Cat's Cradle while opening for Mandolin Orange. He didn't know much about old-time music and I didn't know much about him, but we figured it out. Music is the reason we met. It's our past time and our gift we give to others. Together we've played smokey bars, summer festivals, busked on the streets of Nashville ‘til our voices wore out, put a tune to the love at our best friends' wedding, and led churches in old-time hymns way past it was time for Sunday lunch. 

We’re fired up about our sound. We'll turn your living room into a listening room, your child's classroom into a performing arts center, and your festival into a memorable event. 

Drop us a line and tell us hello. We can’t wait to meet you.

Sarah + Austin | Chatham Rabbits 

 
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Sarah Osborne McCombie

grew up in the piedmont of North Carolina. At age 18, her voice landed her onstage at Prissy Polly's BBQ with her favorite band, the iconic old-time trio, The South Carolina Broadcasters. After that night, they offered her a banjo and a job. As banjo player and vocalist for the band, Sarah played countless concerts all the while earning her degree from Peace College in Raleigh, NC. She has garnered tremendous experience and exposure to the wide expanse of American roots music. Post Broadcasters, Sarah served as the music teacher at the Friends School of Wilmington, and is currently the music teacher at Montessori Community School of Durham where where she creates and implements programs based upon North Carolina music and African American roots music. Sarah loves horses, hound dogs, and Jimmy John’s (#6, please).

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Austin McCombie

always loved the music his family played, but didn’t know it had a name. His relatives in Southwest Virginia played bluegrass and his parents in Wilmington, NC immersed him in 90s country classics (hellllo Alan Jackson with a mullet) and beach music standards. Somewhere in the middle, he found the name for his favorite sound: old-time. Although he eventually came around to the good stuff,  Austin spent a fair amount of time on the dark side, playing guitar and keys in his super hipster electronic band DASH. Austin attended NC State University and is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. Austin loves sharing his love for this music with his clients and folks he meets along the road. He also loves fly fishing, Rittenhouse Rye, and Gillian Welch.

NOW ABOUT THAT NAME...

 “Boomtown Rabbits”: The Rabbit Market in Chatham County, North Carolina, 1880–1920

“Boomtown Rabbits”: The Rabbit Market in Chatham County, North Carolina, 1880–1920

Nothing that falls a victim to the hunter’s gun throughout the entire confines of North Carolina can compare with the Chatham rabbit.
— Chatham Record, 1906 NOV 22,

Over a century ago, rabbits were the prized cash crop of Chatham County. Folks in the area had their claim to fame. Many decades later, we live in a little mill house in historic Bynum, North Carolina, just on the banks of the Haw River. Our house was once the home of a mill working family. They played music and the husband was a member of the mill sponsored stringband, The Chatham Rabbits. You can read more about the original band and Bynum here.

We aim to pay respect to the original Chatham Rabbits.