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1 or 2 — Episode 33: Rex Darling

Tip jar for Rex Darling

During Free Times’ Virtual Music Crawl back in December, Rex Darling showed off the full-band evolution of its classical-guitar-backed-crooning-meets-atmospheric-indie-rock.

For this week’s “1 or 2” session, the core duo of Catherine Hunsinger and John Vail display the stripped-back gifts that are the spark for this exciting new Columbia band.

There is nothing here but Hunsinger’s light, airy but still thoroughly commanding voice, and Vail’s tender, understated but still impressively dexterous guitar playing. The duo’s chemistry is supreme, with Hunsinger finding all the right spaces amid the guitarist’s plucks to fill with her emotion-rich vocal, and Vail’s volume rising and falling in perfect sync with the singer’s soft-to-less-soft dynamics.

The result is a relaxing tune that overflows with pathos — an ideal musical compliment for thoughtful sips at a wine bar, which is, not coincidentally, how Rex Darling got started.

We’re happy to feature them on “1 or 2,” playing outside on a pristine winter day in front of Roy Paschal's "River Maiden" in Cayce. And we’re happy to get back in action after taking a few weeks off from this series.

As this pandemic continues to stretch on, my hunger for live music and other types of performance continues to be too much to slake with the limited options I feel comfortable attending. For those of you who feel similarly, I hope this week’s episode and those to follow help you get by.

The "1 or 2" socially distanced performance series was started to connect Columbians with local artists during COVID-19, and to give those artists a chance to get a paycheck when such opportunities have become more rare. Free Times remains grateful to our partners in this endeavor — One Columbia, Richland Library and SceneSC — for helping us keep it going.

To check out more 1 or 2 videos, all of which are freely accessible without an online subscription, head to


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