Nonesuch Records spokeswoman Melissa Cusick told The Associated Press that founding member Justin Robinson has left the band. Beat boxer Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins are coming aboard to join Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, she said.
The Chocolate Drops announced the change at a show last week. No reason was given for the switch.
"The Carolina Chocolate Drops have been playing together and touring the world for more than five years," Robinson said. "During those years, we have experienced great successes, heartbreaks, trials and triumphs. It is, however, time for me to take a separate road and though it is bittersweet, it is the best choice."
Robinson said he won't be touring with the band full-time, but may show up on stage every once in a while.
The Chocolate Drops are a North Carolina-based folk group in the old string band tradition that grew out of friendships made while playing with Piedmont string musician Joe Thompson and at the Black Banjo Gathering. The band is up for best traditional folk album for their critically acclaimed fourth album "Genuine Negro Jig" at the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
"Folks can still expect great music from our group the same way a jazz band can change personnel without sacrificing the quality or the talent on stage," Flemons said.