While nervously waiting for auditions to start for admission into the Western Carolina University School of Music, Tommy Norris and Chalmers Croft sat at opposite sides of the waiting room with instruments in hand. Norris was rehearsing a classical etude on guitar while Croft started playing along to it on his acoustic guitar. Norris smirked, laughed and the two introduced themselves. This sparked
what would eventually become a lasting musical collaboration between the two for years to come.
The pair quickly became great friends and decided to become roommates. Shortly afterwards, the two became known as the "dorm minstrels". From cavorting about the hallways playing bluegrass tunes or serenading the dorm residents in the elevators with "elevator music", Norris and Croft could never put down their instruments.
The two joined a jazz combo in the school of music, played regularly at the WCU Back Porch Music Club and embraced every opportunity to develop the passion that brought them to WCU in the first place.
Music Theory class quickly became the bane of Croft's existence, fortunately Norris offered to tutor Croft to help him slip by the rigorous and mind boggling exercises of theory. The pair practiced ear training by mimicking each other's phrases across bedrooms, came up with "theme songs" for their unfortunate roommates and just had fun with what they loved doing most.
Croft was eventually recruited to play lead guitar for Tommy's band, "The Barefoot Movement." Croft and Norris toured the Northeast U.S. with Barefoot throughout the summer of 2009 but Croft parted ways with Barefoot and WCU in January of 2010 to pursue a music minor and public relations major from Appalachian State University. Croft and Norris remained close friends and stayed in touch despite changing paths.
Norris graduated from WCU in 2010 and relocated to Johnson City, TN to continue performing and recording professionally with his band. He now interns with a local studio, gives mandolin and guitar lessons and is working on his second album with Barefoot.
Croft graduated from ASU in December of 2012 and relocated to Charlotte, NC where he is now pursuing a Master's of Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as well as plays lead guitar in the Matt Tucker Band, The Corey Hunt Band, and the Jeff Taylor band. He also plays lead guitar regularly at "The Lift" church in Indian Trail, NC.
Croft and Norris always talked about doing an album together but actually made it happen in March of 2012. The album is titled "Yesterdays" which resembles the days of the past and the musical connection and strong friendship that the two will always share throughout a lifetime.