Anyone that takes the time to look back and reflect, on any year, they will find many things change, while many others stay the same. As I scroll through a year of memories with music makers, I see that so much has changed in the life of these artists but the music still plays the key role in their souls.
At the start of 2018, I still enjoyed the perks of bringing music to our community. Something I simply love doing. At that time, I was managing the live music calendar for Circa 1810 Bar at The Harvey Mansion. That fun stent would continue until we reached our one-year commitment, in May. One of the acts we brought to the patio was local talent Bryan Mayer who enjoyed a wonderful year as the CCMA Country Male Vocalist of the Year.
At the end of the month, I would travel to the House of Blues for the awards ceremony after the last minute invitation by bass player, Mike Sandvig, who was also up for an award last year. It has been a great honor to capture many moments in this songwriters career. I not only started the year with this country music artist making a name for himself and his hometown, but I ended the year at his last gig around town for 2018!
The band will start the New Year off with another Awards Ceremony. For those looking to be a part of the fun this year, while showing support for this artist, you can buy his music and visit his website for tickets. Just click this link:
As I flip through my memories of my birth month, I see that I was not only promoting gigs around town but I was finding myself more dedicated to time on the road and seeking entertainment from within our city limits to the outskirts of country roads.
I saw a great variety of local and regional music as the weeks unfolded. I was dedicated to bringing acts from outside the area to our city so that people could hear new bands on the regular.
I also spent a good amount of time working on artist development. This would include work with Adam Hill, Fairlight, and others as well.
I am not one to take or seek control of another’s life, though I could proposition people to be their manager, I prefer to coach them on being their own boss. I like showing people the possibilities of their talents.
Some of my hardest lessons this year were learned in trying to help others. It was in doing this work I learned not everyone is true to their mission, therefore you can’t expect them to be true to you.
The music business offers a wide variety of personalities. Like with all things in life you must weed out the things that consume you but never serve you.
One of the hardest lessons I am relearning about this business is that “friendships” in the business are generally self-serving and so it is best to limit yourself to those that are true to themselves, even if it means walking alone for a little while!
Back in March 2018, we were all excited when the former City Laundry started offering a local band/local beer night. Local artist and mad music promoter, Parker Millar was behind this movement. This would continue for several weeks until the venue shut its doors for good in May. Marking the end of their short run in New Bern.
In all the City Laundry was open for a year and a half and offered music and other forms of live entertainment. The new venue, City Stage is now owned by several well-known business owners who partnered together to keep the stage available to our community. They opened their door at the end of Summer and have been serving live entertainment, food, and libations ever since.
In 2018 saw some substantial changes. In April, I learned that Ed Ruiz owner of Trent River Coffee Company on Craven St., would be leasing out much of the space at the location of his coffee shop. Ruiz has been serving our community coffee and supporting live music for years. After committing to a lease, there was little room left for live music.
The one monthly feature that many looked forward to was the month end open mic night. I met many great talented people at these shows. I also enjoyed the shows offered there throughout the year. Many acts came to a by way of the Down East FolkArts Society. this non-profit was started by community member Steve Kelly in 1994.
Speaking of the Down East FolkArts Society, it was in May 2018 that changes for that long-running non-profit started taking place with new board member coming on and old members exiting the journey they created. Before the month was over, new board members we selected for the roster. I am proud to be working with this non-profit that believes in bringing communities together with music.
Coming up in the year ahead DEFAS will bring six new acts to the area to help celebrate this fun art of folk music. Our first show will be held in mid -January and features the music of Tom Kimmel.
I went a lot of new places and saw many new acts in 2018. In May, I had the pleasure of watching the Wilmington area blues artist, Randy McQuay open the show for blues legend Buddy Guy.
Being a big fan of the blues, I opened the month with a legend, then spent some time in Durham where many legends play on stage at the Blue Note Grill.
May also marked the first time I brought live music to my community. The mission of my work remains to build a stronger live music community. I wish to bring music to the people in family-friendly environments near the places they live.
In total, for 2018, I
It was in May 2018 that I turned the calendar back over to the managers at Circa 1810 Bar & Restaurant. Our one-year commitment brought many great acts to perform on the patio. Following my time there, The DoubleTree by Hilton reached out and asked if I would consider managing their entertainment calendar for the year. Of course I accepted and brought several acts back for the deck party!
June was the month I traveled the farthest to find music. Though there were many great shows found all around town, I found out sometimes it is worth the effort to venture outside the comfort zone.
After meeting my friend Appaloosa Redd in Greensboro at a Blues festival in May, I looked him up in June and asked him to accompany me to see Abe Reid at a gig in Asheville. He was much obliged and the memories we made were
More community concerts were featured as Fairfield Harbour enjoyed the music of Dusty Trio in June! And while some new things made the headlines, 2018 marked the return of some old events also.
In June of 2018 we saw the return of The Great Trent River Raft Race, a fun family event from years gone by, brought back to life for the citizens to enjoy.
On stage for the day were all of our favorite local acts, including classic rock favorites, The Wannabees and Three Day Weekend. Closing out the show with a rocking set was the Bryan Mayer Band.
July brought Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival to our Farmer’s Market. This would mark the first time NCMZ
July would also be the first time I brought the Kohlers to Durham with me. After one appearance on stage at the Blue Note Grill, the blues couple was asked to return for the Triangle Blues Society’s Road to Memphis Competition in August.
The open mic night in Durham, NC was not the only one I visited. In 2018 I picked up a part-time job writing an entertainment piece for the Newport Voice. In July I visited a few of the many open mic nights that Tiffany Elaine hosts, so to feature her hard work in an article for August.
August was a month full of great honors. I was invited to be a part of the NewBernNow Podcast and was on hand for the 100th episode. These tell-all folks that help to create this show are great assets to our community. They help to keep us in the know about news and business developments about town. To be asked to be a part of that is a great honor. I look forward to being a regular part of the podcast and more in 2019.
August was full of fun and fabulous first. In fact, it was in August when we saw the old City Laundry transform to open their doors as the new City Stage. The first act they hosted was the lovely and talented Alisa Mike who used the opportunity to sell her debut CD AM Serenades. It was wonderful timing too as opening night fell serendipitously in line with the release her debut disc.
Mike has been a house special since the City Laundry days and remains one of the top acts for the City Stage club. She is featured on stage each Thursday from 7-9 pm. Come out and show your support and dance to her beautiful voice.
I was also asked to judge a blues competition. It was in August 2018, when I sat on a panel with two other judges to choose the winners for the Triangle Blues Society’s Road to Memphis Competition. The event was held at The Blue Note Grill in Durham and the winners of the event will compete in Memphis at the 2019 International Blues Competition. Jon Shain and the band Chicken Shack were the winners of the solo and band competitions..
When reflecting back on the year, September offers the fewest photos, but it was the month that made the biggest impact on many lives in the down east and coastal regions.
It was the month of Florence and the start of our community coming together for the greater good of each other. The first post-Florence event that I covered was brought to us courtesy of GEM Productions, Folks Journal
This event offered free food for the folks in need, live music and a loving spirit that touched my heart. I can’t get through thinking about this year without being flooded with
Just weeks after Hurricane Florence, my devastated town showed the world what we were made of when they made the
I walked into the weekend like a critic wondering why the town was going forth with such an event. By the time the weekend was over I was so proud of those same people for having the vision of recovery. This city worked very hard to make MumFest a reality and it showed. It was the best event I have attended here.
The Crystal Coast was another area impacted by Florence. In fact, the coastal region which hosts the Annual Seafood Festival in Morehead City, NC was hit so hard that their town committee decided to shelf the October event.
As a means of bouncing back from the storm, that same committee put together a one-day music festival with several awesome area bands to help raise money for the local citizens and businesses that were hardest hit. The event was called Amped Up for Y
December was a quiet month for the blogger as I spent half of the month in bed recovering from the flu. One of the great events I did catch however was one hosted by Nick Nichols at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern in Jacksonville.
He invited four Marines ( Mike Corrado, Anderson Elswick, JP
One of the last events I hosted in 2018 was the Dust Parade at the Community Center in Fairfield Harbour. This fun event allowed friends and neighbors to take a break from holiday hoopla and hurricane recovery for the sole purpose of dancing and enjoying good music. It was another well-attended event. I look forward to bringing more events to the friends and neighbors in the year ahead!
Thanks for rocking the beats with me in 2018, I look forward to rolling with you more in 2019! Please be safe out there and party responsibly. I love you and want to rock through the next year with you too. Thanks for reading, now go dance!
Looking at the last night for fun around town and beyond here is what is happening tonight:
Tonight the City of New Bern presents the first ever New Year’s Eve Celebration. The festivities will kick off at 5 pm. This event is free for all that attend. There will be a children’s area and a live music stage, there will be food and beer on site and there will be giveaways and prizes included too.
On the music stage, you will enjoy entertainment by Adam Pitts, starting his show at 6 pm. Following his set, you can enjoy the grooves of Love Tribe starting at 9 pm and keeping the party jumping until the BEAR Drop at midnight. Come one and all and celebrate at City Hall tonight!
The Brown Pelican, hosts the classic rock sounds of Peace Soldier rocking the beats from 8 pm until after the midnight hour. This show is free.
Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant, 415 S Front St, offers a Mascarade Party to ring in the new year. The fun and good times will happen at Blackbeard’s Triple Play and carry over to the Farmer’s Market where you can find the live music of Irresistible Groove will offer the music from 9 pm until the midnight love fest
For more info please reach out and call the club at 252-635-0322.
8 pm – 10 pm $20.00 – price INCLUDES heavy hors-d’oeuvres and champagne toast
After 10 pm $12 General Admission at the door – includes a champagne toast
VIP $25 Reserved Seats (make a reservation online and pay at the door) – price INCLUDES heavy hors-d’oeuvres, champagne toast, And reserved seating
Seats will fill up FAST so be sure to reserve your group’s table in advance for the best seats!
City Stage is a Private Club. There is a $1.00 Annual Membership Fee
City Stage is an eclectic restaurant, live performance lounge and entertainment venue offering a full bar and casual dining just minutes from downtown.
Attitude’s Pub & Grill will host a party with a DJ this evening. Come out to enjoy a seafood supper or prime rib and dance the night away. The cost is $25 per person with the DJ cranking the fun music from 9 pm until midnight.
Elks Lodge will host a dinner and dance this evening. All are welcome to attend. Ring in the New Year at the Elks with the Bears!
The Elks will be serving up a fabulous meal at 7:00, and the Bears will take the stage at 8:00 for your dancing and listening pleasure.
Dinner and dance is $32/person.
3 Day Weekend will be Monette’s Grocery Store located at the corners of Old Cherry Pint and E Thurman Roads this evening. The party starts at 8 pm. The cost is $10 and the music being featured will rock your soul!
Checking things out around the rest of the region, I ask my Facebook followers each week where we can go to hear them play. This is what they said this week
Please go out and support live music tonight! Always call the club in advance to confirm what you read here is true. Many times events change without anyone updating the changes publically.
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, the music makers that rock you! Be sure to hug people often and share the love. Make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Please party safely people! We love having you here with us! Rely on your sober friends, call a cab or sign up to Uber around town tonight!
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