Saturday, December 10, 2011

Charlotte loses beloved local musician

Charlotte's music community took a huge hit Friday when local musician Rodney Lanier died suddenly after a short battle with cancer. Lanier was a member of Jolene, Sea of Cortez, and played with numerous other bands over the years including Hard Times Family, gogo Pilot, Lodestar, Eleventeen, and Virginia Reel. He worked at Evening Muse in NoDa. News of his illness was met with an outpouring of support from the community. A show Sea of Cortez booked at Chop Shop in October quickly exploded into an all-star benefit that included a Jolene reunion and drew over 600 people throughout a very cold, rainy Halloween weekend night. The footage above is from that event and although the sound's not the best, you can see Rodney (in the trucker hat) on stage. That event alone raised $12,000.

I didn't know Rodney well, but he was one of those people you instantly liked and enjoyed seeing out. He always smiled and said hello and sometimes chatted a bit. In my mind I thought of him as Rodneybear - one of the many nicknames friends bestowed on him - because he was so sweet and likeable. I honestly don't know anyone that didn't like him - as evidenced by his Oso Grande benefit in October looking like a reunion of almost everyone I've ever met in the music scene in Charlotte.

Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz with his passing since yesterday. I've received texts and calls from friends sharing their concern and devastation. "Shuffle Magazine's" John Schacht posted a personal piece about Rodney this morning with some lovely photos by Daniel Coston. You can read it here.


  1. I didn't know Rodney personally at all, though he took my cover a few times. He was part of a under-rated local music scene and one of several magical listening experiences I have had in Charlotte. Sea of Cortez played as the last band at a benefit show at the Neighborhood Theatre several years ago. My wife and I were going to leave but as we watched this band start to set up and the variety of instruments we decided to stay. The music that night was amazing it was creative, emotional, challenging, engaging and fresh all at once. I hope as a musician he knew that people listened to his work and enjoyed it. Too often there is such talent living next door to us and they go unrecognized.

  2. OMG! Ie remember this song from back in the day. Gotta a few runs on MTV. So sad to hear of his passing. Wish I knew more about him or was "in touch" enough to know about him...his music. Peace.

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