When I first met Hasee (pronounced Hazy) Ciaccio around 2010, she was a high school student at The Academy of the Arts, Science & Technology, in Myrtle Beach.
I’d met her briefly when she volunteered for South By Southeast Music and Dinner Feasts at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot.
A few years later, after her enrollment at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. (you sang that, right?), she’d joined a trio to form a four-piece band featuring young adults playing old time Appalachian instruments. The act was called The Barefoot Movement; think bluegrass with a hipper cast.
Now with college, three albums and tens of thousands of road miles behind her, Ciaccio will enjoy a Myrtle Beach homecoming July 24 at Brookgreen Gardens as a part of the Cool Summer Evenings concert series.
ETSU was the first, if not only, large school to offer a bachelor of arts degree in old time, bluegrass and country usic, and it’s where Ciaccio met the kindred spirits that still make up The Barefoot Movement.
Ciaccio, who plays stand-up bass (among other instruments), has performed with the band locally at the Liberty Tap Room, Bourbon Street Bar & Grill, Pine Lakes Tavern and a few other spots around town, but the band counts as highlights performances opening for large crowds around the U.S. and growing national media coverage including features on CMT, CMT Edge, Country Weekly, at Starbucks, and a promo video with rock band Blind Melon’s former bassist and songwriter, Brad Smith.
Smith, who wrote the Blind Melon hit “No Rain,” agreed to produce The Barefoot Movement’s cover of the song on their second LP project “Figures of the Year.”
“Among our biggest shows were opening for The Milk Carton Kids a couple of summers ago,” said Ciaccio, “and we’ve opened for Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Stanley, and we have a Vince Gill date coming up later this summer. Last summer we went to West Africa (Burkina Faso) for two weeks with the U.S. Embassy in kind of a cultural exchange program to commemorate that country’s Independence Day. We played primary schools, orphanages, and a big celebration that was televised nationally. The people were so wonderful and they danced to our music, and then they taught us to dance to their traditional songs. The ambassador’s wife is from Kentucky, and she wanted a bluegrass band, and we got the call.”
Though her music and head may be in the mountains of Appalachia, her heart is still in the Lowcountry.
“I grew up in Myrtle Beach, going to Brookgreen Gardens. This will be our first time there and we’re all very excited. It’s such a beautiful spot, and I can’t wait to show it off to the band. It’s the perfect setting and place for us. We’ll do mainly originals, songs off of our recordings, a couple of covers, like maybe ‘No Rain’ as an encore. We’ve got a live album coming out this summer, and then a Christmas album, too.”
Joining Ciacco in the band are founders Tommy Norris (mandolin, vocals) Noah Wall (fiddle, lead vocals), and the newest member, Alex Conerly (guitar, vocals).
“If there’s one phrase that encompasses the whole [roots] movement it’s ‘down-home,’” continued Ciaccio. “When people ask where our name came from, Noah always says ‘when we were kids living down South, you’d always hear your dad say, ‘come on in, take your shoes off, stay awhile.’ So for us, we want people to come to our shows, stay for however long, and to give them a breather from all the stresses of the world. I feel like [roots music] is a gateway to an older time, and an invitation to reach back.”
Do yourself a favor and sample the band’s music and watch their hi-def videos at www.barefoot-movement.com. Visit www.brookgreen.org to learn more about the sculpture gardens’ Cool Summer Evenings concert series. Each show, held Wednesdays and Fridays, run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and tickets are included with park admission, $15 for adults, discounts for children through 12 years old, and seniors 65-plus.
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