Sarah Osborne McCombie and Austin McCombie met because of music, and today they play old-time music together full-time as Chatham Rabbits. This husband-and-wife duo lives in a mill house in Bynum on the banks of the Haw River, the same house where a mill working family once lived and played music, and the husband from that family played as part of a mill-sponsored stringband that was known as The Chatham Rabbits. Sarah and Austin met in 2013 when he spotted her onstage at the Cat's Cradle opening for Mandolin Orange. He didn't know much about old-time music, and she didn't know much about him, but they figured it out. This past summer, they decided to leave their corporate careers to take Chatham Rabbits full-time. Together they've played smoky bars and summer festivals; busked on the streets of Nashville 'til their voices wore out; put a tune to the love at their best friends' wedding; and led churches in old-time hymns way past it was time for Sunday lunch. They are working with Robust Records (Mipso; Hank, Pattie and the Current) and will release their debut album in 2019.
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 while earning her degree from Peace College in Raleigh. 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 at Montessori Community School of Durham where where she created and implemented programs based upon North Carolina music and African American roots music. Austin McCombie always loved the music his family played, but he 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 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 in his former life was a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual.