STATE: The Axe Handlers to bring bluegrass tunes

Published 4:30 am Monday, October 19, 2020

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The Axe Handlers are up next on the outdoor stage at the “Car”certs at the Cole at 6 p.m. Friday in Hamlet.

This brand new bluegrass band based out of central North Carolina includes Richmond County native Luke Vuncannon on guitar, Matthew Nance on banjo, Jim Simpson on bass and Boyd Hulin
on mandolin. Their music style focuses on driving the front edge of the beat with high energy instrumentation and vocals.

All four of the guys grew up playing and competing in local fiddlers’ conventions. Vuncannon and Simpson were in a band together for several years, while Hulin and Nance have been in a total of four bands together through the years. This is the first time all four have played together in the same band.

“We all met at local band competitions years ago, each of us playing with our own bands,” said Vuncannon, who was born and raised in Ellerbe. “This new group was put together by a simple phone call that got the ball rolling.”

“Car”certs is an outdoor concert series held in the parking lot of the Cole Auditorium on the Hamlet Campus of Richmond Community College. People “drive in” for the show and remain in their cars or set up chairs in front of their parking space to watch the performers on a stage in front of the Cole. At the gate, vehicle owners are provided with the FM station to tune in on their car radios to hear the band, but the parking lot is designed so everyone can see the band and the action.

“This outdoor concert series has continued to have great success, providing families with a safe night of entertainment,” said Cole Director Joey Bennett. “We look forward to showcasing the talents of the members of The Axe Handler and bringing some energetic bluegrass music to the Cole on a Friday night.”

Mobile food vendors will be selling refreshments during the concert. Social distancing while standing in line for the food trucks will be enforced.

Cost for The Axe Handlers concert is $15 per vehicle. Half of the proceeds will go to the band. Cash will be the only accepted payment type.

This is the fifth act of the “Car”certs at the Cole series. The remaining show is an 80s throwback band Cassette Rewind (with Richmond County native Brandon Kirkley) on Oct. 30.

The Cole Auditorium is at 1042 W. Hamlet Ave., Hamlet. Parking lot attendants will be directing cars to appropriate parking spots.

No alcohol is permitted.

For information, call the Cole Auditorium Box Office at 910-410-1691 or visit