Ramseur Records is an independent record label from Concord, North Carolina that concentrates in signing folk and bluegrass artists. Started in 2000 by Dolph Ramseur and run out of his house it has made a name for itself in the industry with outstanding acts such as the Avett Brothers, the everybodyfields and Bombadil.
Dolph Ramseur began his label a little later in life than most with almost no knowledge of how to run a successful independent label. He did, however, have one of the most important and commonly overlooked traits any great music businessman should have: the drive to get the music he loved out into the world.
It all started when he bought an album from English singer-songwriter Martin Stephenson and the two began to talk about music from North Carolina. When Stephenson mentioned touring in the around the region Ramseur took it upon himself to help book the shows for his new English friend. After this endeavor he realized he enjoyed the experience so much that he started his own label. He put out his first album, David Childers’ Blessed In An Unusual Way two years later. Since then he has been busy signing the Avett Brothers, the everybodyfields, Bombadil, Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers, Sammy Walker, Martin Stephenson, Paleface, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Darling, Frontier Ruckus and Sam Quinn + Japan Ten. Of all the things that Dolph Ramseur has done right there are three very important things that have helped this independent label stay alive and grow. Those are the ability for them to stay small, the fact that he signs artists that he actually likes and the plan that Ramseur gives to all of his artists.
When Dolph Ramseur signed the Avett Brothers he had to not only be their label, but he had to also be their manager and in the beginning their publicist. Today Dolph still manages the Avett Brothers, although they are now signed with Rick Rubin’s American Recordings, as well as four other artists that are on Ramseur Records. This barebones beginning is what you see in the start for most independent labels for many good reasons, most importantly because it works. Dolph didn’t have the money to pay multiple publicists, promoters and A&R reps, he even had to work at a furniture store to make ends meet while starting his label. So this small operation, while maybe seeming to be more of a thoughtless necessity than a choice, really helped keep the expenses minimal and responsibilities centralized which allowed the label to grow at a quicker pace and in the direction Dolph wanted.
Taken from the biography on the labels Facebook page they say that, “Ramseur Records is about songwriting that transcends genres, cuts through the pretense and truly means something. We pride ourselves in putting out art of substance that affects people — from punk rockers to classical music enthusiasts; construction workers to college professors. When the meaning behind the music is real, nothing else matters.” I couldn’t describe their dedication to music any better. Every artist that they sign is different in their own right and every artist also happens to be extremely talented. This interest in artists he signs shows in the support and dedication that he throws behind every one of them.
Here is a great video of the Avett Brothers riding a Jackson Hole Gondola signing “St. Joseph’s” off of their album the Second Gleam.
“Make good music and build your fan base” This simple down to earth approach is what has helped make artists such as the Avett Brothers go from selling a few of their first CDs at local Merlefest to selling over 20,000 of their EP the Second Gleam, their last release on Ramseur Records, and selling out Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary, North Carolina, which holds 7,000 people, playing with no opener for nearly two-and-a-half hours. According to a WFAE interview Scott Avett says, “We’ll sign autographs until the last person goes because these are the people that brought us here. No dollar bill, no producer, no one person brought us here.”
While no one person actually did bring them to where they are today, it’s safe to say that this one label brought them pretty damn close and are right behind all their other artists pushing them along as well.
Here is a video for Bombadil’s amazing song “So Many Way’s to Die”
Here is Sam Quinn + Japan Ten making a demo for “Hello” at Ramseur Records “HQ”
To watch more amazing videos of performs from Ramseur Records I suggest that you go to their Vimeo Page right now.
Here is a great mix of musicians as Scott Avett sings a Bombadil song “Marriage”
And just because there can never be too many things to watch and I love this video here’s another one of the Avett Brothers singing “Laundry Room” off of their album I and Love and You