Name change in works for Hilton Head Island band Cranford & Sons (but not why you think)

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJuly 7, 2013 

Cranford & Sons

This summer is shaping up to be one of change for one of Hilton Head Island's most popular bands.

A new record and, biggest of all, a new name are on the way for the band formerly known as Cranford & Sons, which also recently replaced longtime drummer Randy Rockalotta with recent Hilton Head High School graduate Julius DeAngelis.

But it's the name change and not Rockalotta's amicable departure that has raised eyebrows on the island where rumors swirl about possible legal action brought against the local band by the platinum-selling, Grammy award-winning English folk quartet Mumford & Sons.

Not so, says band founder and namesake John Cranford.

"There was no cease-and-desist letter or anything like that," Cranford said, with a chuckle. "I wish that were the case. That would have made for some awesome publicity. What we did encounter was people coming to our shows thinking we were Mumford & Sons. Like we had a gig recently at the Hilton Head Island Wild Wings and it's like, 'Really, guys? Do you think Mumford & Sons is playing a show at a Wild Wings on the south end of Hilton Head?'"

As the story goes, the band was actually christened Cranford & Sons by Tristan O'Grady, one of the owners of The Big Bamboo Cafe, who saw the band loading upright basses, amp stacks and assorted other junk into his club and quipped that they looked like something out of "Sanford and Son," the popular 1970s comedy starring comedian Red Foxx.

"We kind of liked it and the name stuck and a month later, Mumford & Sons released their first album and it was like, 'Oh, (expletive),'" Cranford said.

The band stuck it out with their name for several years, even releasing a full-length, self-titled LP under the moniker in July 2012.

But Cranford said frequently being mistaken for the platinum-selling English band or as a Mumford & Sons cover band finally prompted the name change as they continue work on their new, as yet-unnamed second full-length album due out in October.

The band is no closer to deciding on a name for that record than they are to picking a new name for their band though both conversations are ongoing, he said.

"We've talked about so many different kinds of names but are probably going to stick with the Cranford thing because it's something that has become associated with our band," Cranford said. "The one we're leaning toward is Cranford Hollow. We want a name that still feels obviously Southern and we've discussed everything from Cranford & Co., Cranford Creek, Cranford Manor."

"With technology now, we're able to see everything that our band name might be associated with," he said. "Hopefully, we have better luck than we did with our original name, which ended up being so close to Mumford. We very much want something evocative of South Carolina and of the Lowcountry."

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

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