The Zinc Kings began as a side-project for several musicians that were playing in the University of North Carolina Greensboro Old Time ensemble. Christen Blanton, Dan Clouse and Mark Dillon realized that while they loved Appalachian music there was a huge area of music that was not being addressed, the music of the North Carolina Piedmont. Music from this region tends to be more heavily influenced by the blues tradition and it is reflected in the playing of many of the tunes. Each the three founding members have long backgrounds in music. Blanten is a professional viola player, Dillon a longtime songwriter and Clouse is a professional tuba player. Very few of these skills make it into the Zinc Kings but their experience in playing the music is reflected in their lively performances.