HAPPY NEW YEAR MUSIC LOVERS!!!
The Full Recap of 2017
2017 Music Memories
Some Fan Favorites
♦January ♣February ♣March♦
It surely was a great 2017 of listening to live music all around our beautiful state. I have enjoyed countless bands and visited many new venues this past year as I tried my best to bring you live music from the scene in North Carolina. To recap the year I picked many of the bands that moved me this year and decided to capture these moments and tell you about their road ahead!
Adam Hill Band
Adam Hill Band became a brand and the trio revealed itself for the first time at the close of 2016, but solidified with the addition of Cecil Pittman Jr offering the back beat. He joined songwriter and guitar powerhouse Adam Hill in February, with Gordy George on bass. All the players add vocals to the set list, which offers a blend of great music to all crowds. The band offers audiences a bit of classic rock, a taste of classic country, they rejuvenate the sounds of southern rock and they resurrect rock and blues legends that have since passed. Along with a long list of familiar favorites, the band also offers soul crushing original works hand-scribed from Hill’s life.
Hill On The Radio
Over the past year the band has been building a following and grabbing the attention of music fans from the coast to the mountains and even beyond our own state lines. We developed the website and kept a calendar full of fun dates. Some of the great highlights for the band came with radio opportunities with John Jones, who welcomed Adam Hill in studio three times this year. We went to the station in Jacksonville, where the Raeford Brown Morning Show turns its air space over to John Jones at the Earl School of Music for Music Monday. Which airs on Thunder Country 96.3 FM each and every Monday from 8:30-9:00 am.
Hill was the performer on February 20, which marked his 38th Birthday and radio debut. He was joined in studio with bass player Gordy George. On that day the duo was joined by host John Jones also. On May 20, 2017 the full band made their radio debut with Hill offering three original works. On December 4, 2017, Hill returned for a solo engagement and offered four original song selections. In the year ahead Hill will return to the studio on January 29, 2018 to assist and log the show with Fairlight Moriah on vocals.You might want to set an 8:30 am reminder now for that January day! You won’t want to miss it! Music Monday is a great feature show that shines a light on local NC artists. It has been wonderful hearing the show and finding new music through the broadcast.
We also made an appearance in studio with music brother and radio announcer Will Baker in Hillsborough, who hosted Lunch Crunch. It was an Adam Hill solo with his daughter Abbi Hill offering live video coverage in studio, as I documented the event with film and photo coverage. For much of that hour is was Hill on guitar, but I was on hand to talk about his website, this blog. We also spoke of Hank Barbee, and The Harvey Mansion. Hill offered five great songs for the audience to digest during their lunch hour from 12-1 pm.
When it came time to break out into new territory, the band headed west to Winston-Salem, where they entered a Battle of the Bands. They event was hosted by Ted’s Kickin Chicken. They were the first band out of 13 acts and they walked away the winners! They won $500 and the opportunity to open the Camel City Bike Fest 2.0 in September, which they did on the 9th of that month. We also made it south of the border this fall for an appearance at Suck Bang Blow in Murrells Inlet, SC.
We made great progress in branding the Adam Hill Band. We did that by creating a logo, developing a website, got a banner, made and sold T-shirts, designed business cards and it helped keeping the band working 3-4 night a week throughout most of the year. This is considerable progress which leads to more plans for the future. The band scaled back on gigs as we walked into the final quarter. Hill is revamping the plan and looking forward to laying down tracks for an original effort. That is the goal for 2018 for Hill. My goal is to focus on bringing more attention to the band and finding sponsorship for better equipment.
To keep up with Adam Hill and his band check out his website at:
Hank Barbee & The Dust Parade
I would say it was a very productive and fun year for Hank Barbee & The Dust Parade. Barbee released his follow-up solo effort Son Royale, an effort that offers ten tracks from the recording artist from Richlands NC. The album was released Eleven O’Clock Records and brought Barbee several wonderful opportunities on the road, including more festival shows, radio spots and a bigger store with more merchandise to sell.
Barbee used the year to build a following along the coast, around New Bern and in many other places from Florida to Georgia and even the mountain region of his home state of North Carolina. This was also the year Barbee solidified his band unit. Though it is difficult to travel with a band, Barbee has secured two players to help him in his trip formation which offers Hank on guitar Matt Henderson on bass and Jim Durham on saxophones. When jobs and budget allow, Barbee expands on that base of musicianship by hiring subs such as Joe Brown on keyboards and his percussion man, T-Bone on bongos, and Logan Watson on drums.
Whether playing solo or with a full band, Barbee always delivers a professional show with great original music offerings. To keep up with the singer songwriter check out his website at:
The Phantom Playboys
Another fun and favorite band I have found since starting the blog is The Phantom Playboys. I caught the band a few times over the course of the year. This band is a fun and rocking original outfit, that serves up the sounds of rockabilly music. With a style and ease they bring it like few I have found in my days covering live music.
The band is based out of Wilmington and do travel along the East Coast, points west. They are even happy to go South of the Border when called to perform. They have two CD’s of great music available for sale at their shows. They perform about a hundred shows each year and look forward to bringing their show back to New Bern in the year ahead. Keep it tuned right here for more on this fun band making more appearances in our area. Since meeting them last year I have watched them in Beaufort, Wilmington, New Bern and Washington. They are always worth the travel time and it is rare that I can get out without a dance or ten.
Since becoming a four piece band, they have worked out a solid set list of fun songs that keep fans on the dance floor to familiar beats not often offered by others on the circuit. They have also worked hard at branding themselves with many cute marketing strategies. They have built a good fan base from Kinston to New Bern and look to break into new territory in the year ahead. The band is available for private parties and live music shows at venues throughout NC. For more information or to hire them, you can give me a call at 318-789-6929 to discuss the dates you are looking to book as well as pricing.
To keep up with the band you can find them on the internet by following this ling:
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On The Scene with Tracey Stones
2017 Music Memories
♦April ♣ May ♣ June ♦
At the close of the first quarter and the start of yet another music season around NC, paperwork was filed to start a business in support of this blogs operational endeavors and in doing that, Tracey Stones Productions, LLC, became a viable business. This business not only publishes this music blog, but we are at your service to assist with your promotions of live music events. We are here to help venues and bands alike in the quest to bring people and music together for good times and building fond memories.
Besides keeping people in touch with the many local bands found around the coastal region, we’ve tried to introduce people to new talent, making a name for themselves from other regions around the state.
Kicking in the second quarter was an authentic blues talent, that hails from Pembroke, NC. Lakota John was not fooling around this April Fools Day, when he brought his blues to The Brown Pelican in New Bern, NC. He was one of the many great new blues artists I found around the state this year and I would love to see him return to the area soon. His sound is simple and playing is stunning. He brought me back to the days of Robert Johnson and evoked the spirit of Muddy Waters too. Nothing excites me more than blues music played well and this cat definitely does that. Be sure to keep up with this stringer by checking out his website via this link:
Hot Buttered Grits
It was at the inception of the second quarter that I caught wind of live music taking place at Circa 1810 Bar & Restaurant at The Harvey Mansion, 221 S Front St., New Bern, NC. (More on there efforts later in this four part series.) My first trip to the patio offered the grooves of New Bern’s own groove makers, Hot Buttered Grits. Since that night in early April, I have worked with The Grits in helping them branch out some. This year they brought their show to the Crystal Coast for the first time with a debut appearance at Off The Hook in Morehead City.
The five piece jam band offers a great mix of familiar songs, that keep people on the dance floor, as well as many fun originals.
The players in the band are Jon Johndrow on guitar and backing vocals, Howard Longino on guitar and vox, Seth Smith offering lead vocals aback up as well has guitar and mandolin offerings, Chris Buttitta on bass and Zack Meadows back on drums and offering vocals too. The band is a solid unit made up of musical friends. Most of the players call New Bern home. Only one hails from the Triangle region of the state.
Throughout the year I probably caught up with the Grits a half-dozen times and each show left me inspired and excited for more. The band plays private parties and are also available to play at your venue in 2018. To book the band give me, Tracey Stones a call at 318-789-6929, to work out the dates and details, to bring fun music to your establishment.
To follow them on Facebook, give their band page a like by checking out this link:
Joe Brown & The Band
Joe Brown & The Band is another talented New Bern based band, that offers the funk and fun of good music each and every place they play. They deliver the message of unity through the deliverance of music that moves people. It is the feel good vibe that makes you want to dance and groove anytime Joe Brown and The Band are around. I first met Brown and heard his band last year at a bar that since closed it’s doors. They are a five piece unit that offers soul, funk, rock and R & B music for fans to enjoy.
Helping to curate the sound of this machine are the following players: Joe Brown, in the front plays keyboard and sings, backing him up is a solid four players including Eric Whitehurst, bass, Denzel Willis, guitarist, *TeeBone, Percussion and Nate Keys, on drums. To keep up to speed with the band you can find them on Facebook by following this link:
If you have not heard Justin Castellano play an acoustic guitar, then you have not seen the sheer skill and ability of this extraordinary player. I have been friends with the fancy player from the simple town of Beulaville, NC for several years and after creating this blog, he took me under his wing and helped to steer me in the direction of greater opportunity.
Castellano is the creator and host of the Facebook page Guitar Resources and offers a glimpse into how to manipulate strings and create sound with video offerings and other creative posts. I am a co-host of the page and add video and occasional posts as well. During the 2017 calendar, we featured several guitarist from NC and I was lucky enough to offer a couple sessions in the first quarter that featured Adrian Watts, guitarist and founder of the party band TrainWreck and Hank Barbee in time for the release of Son Royale in March. There is hope of more collaboration works for the two tech geeks in the new year; should time ever allow us that opportunity.
Castellano keeps busy playing 3-4 shows each week, from the middle of our state to the coast. He also takes a few trips each year out-of-state to share his music. This particular year the player headed South and made new friends in Charleston, SC, as well as numerous other areas. There are few players and none in our immediate area that offer the style that comes with Castellano. He is an inspiring talent that looks forward to offering a new recording to fans and friends next year.
One of the highlights for me this past year was bringing together the former duo, Backseat Romeo.They feature the mad skill of Castellano and the smooth essence of his best friend and musical brother Ed Prophet. The duo played a couple shows together this year and one of them was on the patio at The Harvey Mansion.
One of the other things you can bank on is getting an education from Castellano when it comes to new gear and high-tech ways of offering music to the audience. He truly is a master of sound and stays on the cutting edge of technology. He is a professor and student, learning and growing as time evolves and opportunities present themselves. To keep up with his evolution and to enjoy his great music be sure to like is Guitar Resources page and check out his website as well. That link is:
If there is one thing that 2017 taught me, it is that there is no shortage of talent in New Bern. In fact this town is full of crafty artisans and crazy good music makers. One of the most skilled players I have grown to know and appreciate this year is Tom Spellman. This player is a master of the craft and offers lessons throughout the week at Fuller’s Music here in New Bern. When he is not teaching the craft, he is expanding on his own skills with hours of practice.
Spellman keeps busy with several bands and variety of styles are offered with these endeavors. Though 2017 did not prove to be the year for any of his own projects, such as his metal band, Kill Mercy, which has been on a hiatus for some time; it did, however prove to be a busy year for other projects.
One of my favorite bands that features his skill is the Old World Music and Jazz sounds of the band Casablanca. This trio of jazzy players is based out of New Bern and features the talents of Spellman on guitar and band mates Simon Spalding on guitar and other stringed instruments and Glenn Druhot on percussion and drums.
For those that appreciate classic and southern rock sounds, be sure to catch this player with his “family” projects. Spellman offers some of the guitar works needed for Mimic Band, which offers the music of Boston, Heart and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had the pleasure of checking them out in May when they played the first Spot Jam of the season in La Grange, NC. The don’t do too many shows in our state, but to learn more about the band check out their EPK released earlier this year:
The other tribute band that Spellman keeps busy with is Second Helping. This ten piece band is based mostly in NC. They also play most shows on the road and out of state. I did however catch the band a couple of months ago when they played a recent benefit for an area school. They deliver the many songs and familiar sounds of Skynyrd with great energy. I refer to both of the efforts as “Family” projects because Spellman shares the stage with his Mom and Stepdad, Laura and Chis McCalister when playing for Mimic and Second Helping.
When not keeping busy with a band, Spellman is found about town hosting music events under the name “Tom & Friends“. During these shows we get to see the skilled guitar man team up with friends and students as they offer the community music they love. You can check out this next show, next month when he performs at Circa 1810 Bar & Restaurant at the Harvey Mansion. He will be joined by friends on Saturday, January 27, 2018 with music being offered from 8-11 pm.
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On The Scene With Tracey Stones
2017 Music Memories
Part Three of Four
♦July ♣ August ♣ September ♦
In the Heat of the Summer I met
The Hot House Quartet
The Hot House Quartet caught my attention this summer with their music when I saw them at The Brown Pelican. It was not only my love for jazz sounds that caught my attention, more it was that this band is that they are serving in the US Marines Corps.
The band is one of transition of sorts, as they are all serving so we have the pleasure of hearing from the members not on a tour of duty. The heroes I met this Summer includes: Chris Schott, trombone, John Larson on piano, Harry Willard on guitar, Dan Webber on bass and Mark Gulotta on drums.
I saw these guys a couple of times this summer. One time at The Brown Pelican and the last time in late September at BrUtpoia. I just have to take my hat off, place it over my heart and salute them.
To keep up with the band visit their Facebook page by visiting:
GEM Productions, New Bern’s Diamond Music Team
In the height of the music season we find lots of festivals and fun community events in cities and towns all around our state. The one I kept a close eye on was 2017 Bernaroo Arts & Music Festival. Brought to New Bern, NC by GEM Productions. This independent music promotions team is one local company that intrigues me and evokes a good spirit in me.
I love the work they do, I love their support of local North Carolina music. They bring all genres together throughout the year while bringing new talent to our town. Bernaroo is their largest offering, but they deliver talent to our clubs throughout the year. Not only are they supporting live music and local artists, they are coaches and promoters too.
When they choose their causes to participate in they show up with a great show that raises money for the charity at hand. Closing out its 5th season, which often marks the make or break threshold; Bernaroo is something this blogger sees being a big part of our town and its music history.
This year’s event took place on July 14th and July 15th with marquee events being held at Isaac Taylor and Live at The City Laundry. Tickets were $15 for a single-day pass and $25 for a two-day pass. Tickets went on-sale on Thursday, May 11th at 12:00 p.m.
Official Bernaroo After Parties will take place at The Brown Pelican and LIVE at The City Laundry respectively, while various venues throughout downtown will host free live music and art galleries throughout the day on Saturday, July 15th.
This was the line up from this year’s festival and links to the bands we met.
Tan and Sober Gentlemen –
A high energy Celtic bluegrass folk band with funk and fun beats that cranks up the energy in any room or atmosphere. They are infectious and fun. This was the first time I had the pleasure of hearing the band and walked away buying a CD which I still enjoy often.
Hailing from Snow Camp, North Carolina, the Tan and Sober Gentlemen pioneer a sound they call “Celtic punk-grass.” Raw and unfiltered, this style is a blend of hard-driving, dance-able roots music from both sides of the pond, delivered with a punk edge and whisky-fueled abandon. They are particularly noted for their rip-roaring live show, featuring all sorts of on-stage shenanigans, audience engagement, and above all tremendous energy. As far as folk music goes, the Tan and Sober Gentlemen are the best drinking and dancing band you”ll find.
Hank Barbee –
Becoming more known to the New Bern crowd, Hank Barbee & The Dust Parade performed in support of the mid-Summer Festival. They offered a strong set with a full band and drew in the crowd with their fun and crafty original selections. They set up their store and sold merchandise during and following the bands performance. Barbee had new shirts, bracelets made from recycled guitar strings, and several discs for sale at the show.
Bearfoot Monty –
Opening this year’s event was our hometown’s own original rock band Bearfoot Monty. They had a success first year and proof of this was their appearance opening this annual festival. They sold T-Shirts and stickers all in support of raising money for a recording. With several fund raising events which followed Bernaroo for that effort have paid off. We will hear the new release from Bearfoot Monty at the turn of this new year ahead. The band recently finished laying down the track and the mix is done too. Look for the product January 20 and more news on its release here.
I was not able to attend the full second day, but I did catch the singer-songwriter showcase at The Brown Pelican on Saturday July 15 where I saw 6 of the featured singers. Following the showcase more fun shows were offered at Live at The City laundry where the following bands rocked the stage:
Ancient Cities –
J Rowdy & The NightShift –
Seabreeze Diner –
For more information on 2018’s event or to get involved contact Grant Golden or Bailey Evans at email@example.com
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Carolina Woodstock Arts & Music Festival
In the high heat of the Summer I headed out to catch the first day of a two day event held at the Lenoir County Fairgrounds. It was the first Annual Carolina Woodstock Arts & Music Festival.
It was an event held to celebrate and raise money for Lenoir County Veterans and the great attraction was the menu of live music being serve throughout the three-day event.
Here is the recap of that amazing good time which ran in the August 19, 2017 Issue of NCMZ.LIVE:
I arrived just in time to kick my weekend of in high gear with an Adam Hill Empiricism…this band freaking rocks…and their original music melts my soul. I walked up to Hill offering his own song. “What’s Left” and before closing out a stellar set the band delivered this number as well:
I only caught about half of the band’s set. They were originally slated to close out the night, but due to having an early gig today, the band switched positions in the roster and rocked the crowd long before the sun thought about setting. It certainly did my soul good to see these boys set the stage on fire with their fierce set of guitar driven rock.
Next up we all got down with the Kinston based blue band, Feral Cats. This quartet of talented players offers Kim Kornegay on drums and vocals, Greg Howard on bass and vocals, Sam Zouari on guitar and vocals and Scott Carlisle on lead guitar. They offered boogie numbers like “Hip Shake” and “Big Boss Man” and even took us “Down to the River” and through even the jungle in their full set of awesome music.
To keep up with these cool cats from Kinston known as The Feral Casts, be sure to visit their website at:
THE WICKED SHIMMIES
Next up we got a good dose of 90’s pop style music with rock infused throughout with The Wicked Shimmies who offer a fun set of great favorites that not every band offers. They offer mostly 90’s and more current music in their set but they also stepped back to give up some Dead Flowers by The Rolling Stones. This is another Kinston based band that is fairly new on the scene.
To learn more you can follow the band on Facebook by checking out and liking their band page:
The Shady Melons
Next up we got a dose of soul blended with some funk and even rock grooves courtesy of The Shady Melons. Another new band on my radar coming out of Lenoir County. They gave up a great set of modern music with the ability to bring us back in time as well. This is a great band with lots of soul for the offering. I enjoyed their set immensely. They also feature a few player familiar to Roman Sams fans. Matthew Hart on guitar and vocals and David Brown on guitar. So it seemed almost fitting to have Samantha Holland finish out their set with them before she took to the stage with her band The Roman Sams.
To become more familiar with The Shady Melons, you can find them on Facebook at
The Roman Sams
Closing out an extraordinary night of great local music, one of my favorite classic rock party bands brought it front & center. The Roman Sams never disappoint. I found this band down in Morehead City last year and get even more excited about them each time I have the pleasure of seeing them. They always deliver an unfiltered show of solid rock classics and they offer Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Journey and so many other bands most groups don’t attempt to cover, and they pull it off with ease with the seasoned Samantha Holland at the helm and Matthew Hart on guitar and vocals David Brown offering lead guitar, Trey Horton on bass and Joey Gillette on drums.
To keep up with this band be sure to check out their Facebook page :
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All sound production will be done
By Lee Gargano and G & G Audio for this event
Information about vendor spots can be found at
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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Comes to Durham, NC
Ledbetter Heights shot up to Number one and replace the players greatest inspiration on the blues charts. Stevie Ray Vaughan has been a driven force in his style and genre appreciation. Much like SRV, KWS has stayed true to keeping blue music the focus of his life on the road. He is an amazing slinger and it was an honor and privilege to see him so up close when he rolled into Durham in support of his new release.
Lay It On Down was released in Europe in July and here in the states in August. Right after its release the band hit the road in support of their ten track effort that also soared to number one on the blues charts where in remains. It is there for good reason. Every song on the release is great. The only thing missing is an instrumental.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd has shined a bright light on the blues ever since the golden child of the blues guitar world made his mark. He has a family and faith backed business operation and he stays very busy on the road and in the studio.
His other love is classic and or fast Mo-par cars. Since reconnecting with the artist on Facebook I have taken the time to retrace the past 20 years since I left the music scene. What a wonderful experience it has been getting to know all of the blues I have missed.
No matter what disc you select, no matter what show you get to see…It is sure to be good money well spent. To keep up with all things Kenny Wayne Shepherd, join his website and keep up to date. He has a lot of great shows already booked for the year ahead and he always keeps it interesting and humble. He really is a pleasure. Check him out today.
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On The Scene With Tracey Stones
2017 Music Memories
Part Four of Four
The Close Out of the 2017 Music Season
♦October ♣ November ♣ December♦
The Blues Is All Right!
As we wrapped up part three we ended on the blues, I am back to talk about some of the other blues bands I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing this year. With writing this blog, I get to study schedules of festivals. Much like the Summer Season, the Fall offers many awesome music filled festivals as well.
The first one I caught in the final quarter of this music filled year was the North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City, NC.With a strong background in covering the blues, when I notice it on an event schedule it gets logged with a star.
I ended up attending the festival after I was called in by Charlie Weatherby who needed a band for the day time rocking in his beer garden. We brought Adam Hill Band to the party and after he got my day started with good rocking outside Off the Hook.
Following Hill’s early afternoon show, I stayed for the remainder of the evening, enjoyed several bands and even fireworks. The weather was awesome and the music was great all day and night.
The Carolina Swamp Dogs
There was one new band I heard, that caught my attention and has held it ever since. Based out of Jacksonville the Carolina Swamp Dogs were playing a Kenny Wayne Shepherd song when I walked up to their set under the tent. It was “Everything Is Broken” that dragged my attention away from 3 Day Weekend’s load in.
This trio of players are unique in they’re set up and delivery of authentic rock and blues music. On vocals percussion and harmonica I met Gary Oles. Talk about a band of badasses. These retired Marines have a combination of 85 years in service to our great nation. Now they play the blues and stay true to the authenticity of the music and deliver it in a raw and rugged way.
Oles howls like the wolf and brings blues enthusiast back to such greats as Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf. The other bulldogs backing him also add to the unique delivery are Tommy Langlois on guitar and vocals, as well as kick and snare drum which he beats with his feet. On the other side of the stage we find Matt Ingram on bass.This blues trio doesn’t play out often but when they do they bring a show.
Following their strong set of fun blues music, I caught up with the band and invited them to New Bern. Last weekend the band played on the patio at Circa 1810 Bar at Harvey Mansion. It is always a good vibe on the patio when the blues is alright! The band will return to Circa 1810 in 2018! You can keep it here to find out when!
The Carolina Swamp Dogs are available for Festivals and Community Events. They like to keep their shows family friendly and enjoy making the whole family dance.To get them at your next community event contact them today.
New Bern’s Rock Beats The Coast
I was excited to see New Bern rockers 3 Day Weekend on the bill and closing out Seafood Festival on Saturday night. Here again, we find a group of veteran rockers that only get together a few times a year. Generally for festivals, community events and the guys are also known for putting together some great fundraisers, to help community charities and even local families in need.
The five piece band offers two guitars, drums, bass, keyboard and deliver classic rock songs that bring the audience back in time to when life was carefree and dancing was easy. It is always a pleasure to catch them as they offer all the fun rock from the 60’s and 70’s classic rock era that makes us shimmy and shake.
The se guys havebeen rocking the New Bern scene since their onset 12 years ago. One gig they have been hosting each year is a New Year’s Eve Party at Monette’s Grocery Store on Old Cherry Point Road. That is where you can find the boys rocking tonight. Admission to party is $10. Doors open at 8 pm and the party goes into the New Year.
The last event I found them closing out was a fundraiser in New Bern that featured three acts and a fun time for all that came together for an area family.
The community concert was held at The DoubleTree by Hilton in New Bern and featured music by the duo Take Two, the rocking trio BiPolar Express and classic rock band, 3 Day Weekend.
The community gathered for a great night of fun while raising money for the family. It was a heartfelt effort with heartwarming results. Lynwood’s wife was so appreciative for the efforts extended for her family. It was a heartwarming night for rocking!
More Festival Fun
MumFest Music Moments
I have lived in New Bern for more than a decade but have not really paid much mind to MumFest. That changed this year, with dedication to this blog, as I noted the many music acts that were found around town throughout the weekend. One thing that warmed my heart was that most genres of music were represented.
MumFest Country Music
Caroline Dare was one of two country acts I caught during the weekend. I first met this young entertainer in 2014 when she played at the Promise Place Barn Bash, opening the event for Bryan Mayer. The 16 year old singer has caught much attention in her young career and has the promise of youth and talent working in her favor. If you have not seen the talented singer-songwriter take some time to see her soon. In just three years, she has become a seasoned player more confident at the helm of her budding career.
The other country flavors we found at MumFest we Rob Lightner and Nathan Shaffer who offered a great variety of classic country and familiar rock favorites. Both acts performed on stage under a tent that was set up on the corner of Craven and Front Streets.
Those that brought the rock were all familiar names. They were all the hometown rockers we love. While many were attending the pre-mum fest concert on the Palace lawn, I was hanging with the players that were rocking around town.
On the bill at The Brown Pelican was a double feature, featuring two local players. First there was Dan Jam with none other than Dan Jam Phillips leading the way. He was joined by Scott Carlisle on electric guitar, Al Gleason on acoustic and vocals, Dan Jam Phillips on guitar vocals and an occasional percussion. From 5-8 pm they rocked the early crowd, with many great classics for the 60’s and 70’s. They were also joined by local chef and caterer Vincent Farro who offers great music too. Buck Loy then rocked The Brown Pelican on to finish off Friday Night.
Aaron Davenport gave the grooves to folks gathered at Thristy Bruin.
Limited Engagement kept the party going on the patio at Circa 1810 Bar at The Harvey Mansion.
The rocking trio Limited Engagement also played on Saturday afternoon. They played under a tent that was added last minute on the corner of Broad and Middle Streets. James Ford lead singer and guitar for LE, also performed under the tent solo during the festival.
Next up, I swung by the Isaac Taylor Garden to check out a new band in town, Caffeinated Soul Boogie. A trio of players that are now my new example of why, players looking for bands mates need to attend open mic nights. This band came together via the monthly open mic night held at Trent River Coffee Company. On vocals is Darria Yeager, assisting on acoustic guitar is her father, Derrick Moore and back behind the kit and occasional on acoustic and vocals, is host of the monthly open mic night Matthew Kerlin.
The final rock band that I caught all weekend made their appearance on Saturday. Joe Baes Project is a fun rocking trio based here in New Bern and they took to the Miller Lite stage to rock friends and fans under the tent. I met this band soon after I started writing the blog and caught them several times this year.
Also spotted around town that weekend was rocker Tommy Duzan Sr. One of the great things about this city is that there are strummers and stringers all about and the one I found in Bear Plaza was Duzan, He is an awesome talent familiar to the streets of New Bern. When I passed him by, he was deep in the blues and giving my soul some much-needed music therapy.
There was plenty of big band, brass and jazz to be found at MumFest. Some of the bands I caught included the Onslow Winds Band. They offered a great set of standard at Bank of the Arts on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday I enjoyed the sounds of Casablanca. They performed on the patio at Circa 1810 Bar at The Harvey Mansion. They entertained a brunch crowd on the final day of the festival.
Offering the jazz inspired rock sounds Sunday evening on the patio was Hark Barbee & The Dust Parade. That made for a fine dining experience following a fun weekend..
John Emril brought his blues to town for MumFest. He kicked off the final day of the event under the tent on the corner of Craven & Front Streets. That was a fine Sunday find, listening to this singer songwriter offer such a soulful and authentic offering with slide and steel guitar. This artist was another new blues player that I met this year that truly grabbed me with his talents.
Here is more on the artist found under the bio section of his music page:
John Emil, an accomplished singer/songwriter, guitarist, and a master of slide guitar, has delivered showstopping performances at major music festivals. Some include The Telluride Blues and Brews Fest, the Lake Occonee Music Fest, the Florida and South Florida Folk Fests, the Decatur Blues and Bluegrass Festival.
Equally adept with the acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitar and dobro, Emil first appeared on the South Florida music scene in 2000. Fans hear haunting, subtle hints of Delta bluesmen Son House and Blind Willie Johnson. Emil ultimately creates a unique style all his own by integrating country blues, folk, bluegrass and lush Hawaiian sounds into his repertoire.
To keep up with the artist and catch him in a town near you, check out his website:
There was plenty of funk and soul offered on Saturday night for the festival . Closing out the day on the Miller Lite Stage on the corner of Craven & Front Streets offered the sounds of Soul Psychedelic. They were a fun and funky party band that made many groove to the popular hits they played. They offer familiar songs from the 70’s and 80’s known to make people dance.
That is always a welcome message, and when set to the right music it makes people groove and even fall in love.
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Great Surprises of 2017
Tracey Brenneman Returns to the Stage
When I met Tracey Brenneman over a year ago she was singing in a band and about ready to step back from playing on the music circuit. When music is a part of your soul however it is hard to keep away. Brenneman returned to the stage offering solo acoustic sets and a few duo offerings with music brother, Simon Splading. When I last met with Tracey she informed me that come 2018 she will be coming back to the scene with a full band. She has the players lined up and rehearsal are taking place now. Once the band has a name and is ready to reveal themselves, I expect Tracey will reach out to be so I can bring you the news. One of the most moving moments on the scene happened when I walked into Trent River Coffee Company to hear Brennemanoffer the song” Me Too,” a song she wrote in response to the Hash Tag that went viral this fall.
BiPolar Express Steals Bloggers Heart!
In the middle of Spring last year, I was invited to the home of Wick Wickline. He wanted me to have a listen to a new band. Emerging on the scene last August as The BiPolar Express. They offer all things rock to all crowds they meet. They specialize in high energy rock vibes that became popular in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. The band in all is comprised of Wick on bass, and vocals, Josh Overby offering vocals and guitar and Mike Lancaster supporting vocals and drums.
When I sat in on rehearsal, I loved the energy and set list. What I did not know is that they would become my favorite party band. I love these guys.
They have a fun show that features great sound and lights and they deliver energy and fun. This year they broke out the the New Bern area. Besides catching them at the benefit that Overby organized at the DoubleTree in October, I caught them out of town as well.
They played a couple of shows at Off The Hook in Morehead City this Summer. More recently at the Red Room in Kinston. You can catch the band in a few weeks at The Market Street Pub. Save the date. They rock the house Saturday, February 3, 2018. To keep up with the band like them on Facebook:
Budding Artists Bloom in Bearfoot Monty
It has been a rather fun and inspiring year watching New Bern’s own original rockers Bearfoot Monty. This quartet came to be just about 18 months ago. Lead singer and guitarist Justin Hargett approached Gabrielle Christie about the idea of forming a band after an open mic Christie was hosting at 2016 Bernaroo Arts & Music Festival.
Liking the idea, the duo teamed up with a couple more area players and BM was born. Hargett and Christie compose most of the material before bringing in the band to finalize the works. This band ends the year with a finished recording and looking forward to their debut EP release in the early part of the New Year.
Pauses and Causes
The Good Gatherings of GEM Productions
At the start of the last blog I told you about the music promotions team know as GEM Productions.They are bringing great music to our town via events that highlight the talents of many artists from around our great state. Another thing this wonderful music team does is to pair up with local business to raise money for community causes. Case in point was 2017 Lily Fest held in November at The Brown Pelican.
These events are well promoted and organized. This event was for the Coastal Women’s Shelter. The event hosted a menu of great female talents. Along with local crooners, such as Alisa Mike, Tracey Brenneman, and Holly Parkar, the night offered a great close with the phenomenal Laura Reed. Offering her blues while featuring blues sister and long time friend, Miquela De Leon on guitar.
GEM Productions organizes many fundraisers throughout the year. They look for help from our community in making these events a success. To get involved you can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with their events check out their website by following this link:
Peace Soldier Nation
Another music production company doing great charity work for our community is that of Peace Soldier Nation. The classic rock cover band is led by Bobby Hurff who has played with many known names in his time on stage. He recently reunited the band he made popular in the 90’s. More recently with a new cast of players, Peace Soldier 2017 made their debut at the Craven County Fair this fall.
The next event they played was one Hurff hosted for our local Veterans on Veteran’s Day. Rockin For Relief was held at the VFW in New Bern, NC. For this event Hurff offered a list of great local rockers and great food. The money raised went to RCS for a Veterans Program that assists in keeping our Vets off the streets.
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Thanks for Reading!
That is all the news and music that I found for you tonight. Always call the club in advance to confirm what you read here is true. Many times events change without anyone updating the Facebook event created for said gig.
I hope you get out and enjoy the sounds of live music sometime soon. I am dedicated to making sure you know where to go to find it. If you like this blog please sign up and get an email each time we publish. I appreciate my readers, the musicians and the venues who all do a part in keeping live music alive! Give us a like and tell your friends by sharing this page on your social media pages. To the many bands and clubs, thanks for keeping me informed!
Take kindness with you today, tip those that serve you and the music makers that rock you and hug and share love. Don’t forget that life is short and could end in a moment, so make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Please party safely people! We love having you here with us! You rock, so don’t roll the car! Rely on sober friends, call a cab or sign up to Uber around!
Send all of your event invites to me on Facebook, so I know where you are playing in the days ahead. I can be found on Facebook by following this link:
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