Big Week for Big Jim and a Fun Weekend For Music Fans

On the Scene With Tracey Stones

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It was a big week for Big Jim Kohler Band as they opened a show for Joanne Shaw Taylor at The State Theatre on Friday evening! Above I pose with the secret weapon after she slayed it!

Memorial Day Remembrance and The Blues


Blues at The Brown Always A Blast!

It never gets old, this Monday Night Blues Jam at The Brown Pelican, hosted by Bear City’s King of The Blues, Big Jim Kohler and the boys. Always helping him on the killing floor are rhythm makers, Tom Parker on the drums and bass player Chris Buttitta.

Among the many jammers, we got to enjoy was Gordon Graham on harmonica, Phillip Alcock on the bass, Jonathan Peck and John R. Williams worked on their six-string skills.

It’s always fun to watch the people dance to the music and let their hair down. Come on out tonight and have a natural ball! Make a plan to join us this or some other Monday night. We promise to rock your blues away! Music plays from 7-9 pm.

The Brown Pelican is located at 411 Broad St., New Bern, NC. They are a private club. If you are not a member, stop by, fill out the membership form and pay your annual fee of $1.00. It might just be the best dollar you spend all year!


Another Good Dollar Deal

Mid-Week Music at City Stage, New Bern

The mid-week blues break was a little bit different this week at The City Stage New Bern. The band used the opening hour of last Wednesday evening as a dress rehearsal for their opening set at The State Theatre in Greenville, last Friday night.

Once they ran through the set-list that they were to unleash on the crowd that gathered for Joanne Shaw Taylor, a British blues babe with some serious guitar riffs, they opened the stage to jammers.

Joining  BJK on stage for the mid-week blues jam last week was, David Sawyer on the harmonica, Phillip Alcock on bass, Jonathan Peck on guitar, Simon Spalding on the electric fiddle, and last but not least, rocker Gary Dudley came up and shared the stage and used the Big man’s guitar! All in all, it was another great night of fun logged in the books at City Stage. The City Stage is located at 901 B Pollock St., New Bern, NC and is also a private club. This event is free but the state rules require you to sing up and pay a $1.00 annual fee for membership.

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Big Jim Gets A Break and Time on the Big Stage

It’s always exciting when a sound check is a part of the plan.

As an agent and an advocate for many music makers, it is always good to get a call for an opening act opportunity. Word came our way about two weeks ago that Big Jim Kohler would open the show of Joanne Shaw Taylor. 

Believe it or not, our friend Big Jim is already accustomed to big stages. He spent many years on the road touring with blues royalty. First as the backup band for his mentor, Son Seals and then with legendary Byther Smith. He has swapped chops with other mighty men and calls well-known slingers good friends till the end!

After raging a war against his addiction to alcohol, Kohler has combated the illness with sobriety and the blues. He has also worked hard in losing weight to head off the diagnosis of diabetes and works on gaining strength every day still. Since coming out of his medically induced coma nearly two years ago, the blues-man has been working hard to get back in the game and these days he is sounding and looking better than ever.

On Friday night Kohler stepped out on stage and wowed the crowd with a clean and searing set of Chicago style blues. Before the night was over Kohler invited his wife to the stage to offer one song. “I’d Rather Go Blind” was the tune that Kathy Kohler slew the crowd with.

To check out that offering straight from the stage to our souls…visit this link:

I’d Rather Go Blind feat Kathy Kohler



Joanne Shaw Taylor on Tour and Sharing her Reckless Heart


Joanne Shaw Taylor is a British based guitar player deep in American Blues traditions. Inspired by many American blues stringers, she has an affection for Texas stylings and is out on tour in support of her six release, “Reckless Heart.”

According to her bio on Wikipedia the 33-year-old is influenced by some of my favorites, she lists Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix, she was discovered by Eurythmics guitarist, Dave Stewart and has been chasing her music dreams since joining his super group in 2002.  Her first release, “White Sugar,” was released on Ruff Records and her latest release is with Sony Music.

She made her way across the pond in 2017 headling her first US Tour and this year she’s doing it again. The band has a lot of stateside gigs and some are major music festivals, including Peach Festival in Scranton, PA this August. To check out all of the bands’ dates and enjoy Taylor’s music, visit:

Joanne Shaw Taylor Tour Dates




4 Of A Kind Line the Stage at AJ’s Last Friday

Following the show at The State Theatre, I ventured around other parts of the city to see who else was playing. Stopping at AJ McMurphy’s I found a fairly new band lining the stage. 4 of a Kind was offering familiar sounds to the crowd when I entered the bar and restaurant.

Offering a folk-infused set of mostly country and pop songs, they have great harmonies and enjoy making music together. The quartet is working on putting together more shows and when those are announced I will share them with you right here.



R.T. Johnson Band at The Buc Closes Out Friday Music Fun


My last stop in Greenville, NC brought me to Buccaneer Music Hall to check out R.T Johnson Band. They are a country band offering their own songs as well as many pop, rock, and country favorites. Working things out with a new rhythm section the new band line up features Shawn Mitchell on bass and backing vocals and Jeremy Lowery on drums.

Currently working in the top tier of the state, the band is based in Askewville, NC and is planning on making more appearances in our area. In fact, they have some dates in August that bring them to New Bern, Havelock, and the Crystal Coast. In the meantime, for those looking to check out this band on the scene, you can find them this week offering the grooves at The Sage Festival in Windsor on Friday, June 7th at 6 pm.

Before that big event, RT and Braxton will be swapping chops this Wednesday evening at Tavern 125Music will be offered from 7-10 pm. To learn more about the band you can find them on Facebook and give them a Like!

R.T. Johnson Band


Saturday Sends Us Beach Bound for the Blues


After such a wonderful start to the weekend, I had to stop in to check in with my blues crew. Big Jim Kohler Blues Band had an engagement at Cru Bar and Wine Store/Beaufort Coffee Shop.  When I got there they were turning things up on Turner St. and giving the people a good reason to get up and dance.

Coming up this weekend the band will be rocking two new juke joints for their events schedule. First, the head to Surf City to give it up at  J.M.’s Place Pub on Friday, June 7, 2019, with music starting at 9. On Saturday they head to Jacksonville, NC for their debut at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. Located at 1140 Old Maplehurst Rd., Jacksonville, NC they offer music from 9 pm until the midnight hour.


 Rock Sounds Start with Nantucket

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As we all know by now, this next band is pretty much NC’s rock n roll royalty band. Nantucket is out on the road sharing songs for the Summer season. On Saturday night the band offered a solid show of rocking tunes to fans and friends that gathered at Salt Bar in Emerald Isle last Saturday evening. Offering all of their hits and a few fine cover songs, this band is a staple on our local music scene.

Following the show, they stayed busy selling merchandise to eager fans. This band formed in Jacksonville back in 1969, making them a staple on our scene for my entire life. Nowadays the band offers on average two shows a month and always delivers an exemplary set of great rocking grooves.

The award-winning band features the talents of frontman Larry Uzzell, vocals, harmonica, Tommy Redd, songwriter, guitarist, vocals, Eddie Blair, keyboard player, Jason Patterson, drums and harmonies and Walt Garland, lead guitar. To keep up with the band on Facebook click here: Nantucket on Facebook. Or to keep up with the band on the internet check out their website:


Things Got Funky In Morehead City

I love walking into familiar places and finding new sounds to enjoy. That is exactly what happened on Saturday evening when I stopped by my friend Charlie Weatherby’s restaurant and bar Off The Hook in Morehead City. Located at 105 S 7th St, they are in a good location to offer you the freshest catch and the best bands each weekend.

The new band I got to enjoy on Saturday night was a funky foursome known as Al G and Friends. Seems they are more than just friends, judging by the names, they are family too. Check it out, the namesake of the band is Alvin Gist. This is the boss man of the band and the backbeat. He is the lead singer of the band and keeps the boys grooving on the upbeats!  Joe Gist is the man on lead guitar and vocals.

Offering a funky bottom beat, Romero (DC) works the bass guitar and backing vocals. Then there is Darnell. Now Darnell, he is just the keyboard player. Well, at least that is what he told me when I walked on the scene and asked how long before they play. I show up on break often!  Timing is everything and my stinks! This is why I am not in the band, I just chase them!

When I did walk in, my buddy Charlie Weatherby gave me a hug and asked if I ever saw the band. I was excited to say NO! This band is a lot of fun and offer some great grooves to keep the crowd moving and happy!

Al G & Friends Band is on Facebook, so be sure to give the band a Like today and keep it here to find out when they will be around again.


Bryan Mayer at Jean’s on Saturday was Our Night Cap on the Week

On my way back from the beach, I stopped at Jean’s in Havelock to check in with one of the latest 52 Faces of Community. Bryan Mayer was on stage and rocking the crowd at Jeans with his new band. Along with playing many popular hits, Mayer has a song catalog of his own. I happen to like it best when he shares his music. Here is a song he released a few years ago that enjoyed some radio after it’s release. This is his song “Leaving Town”:

For friends and fans of the band, be sure to check them out at an event next Saturday in Jacksonville, NC. The band will be rocking at New River Harley-Davidson for their 15th Anniversary Party. Music at 2:30 pm. The fun starts at 10 am and goes throughout the day.



Live Music for the Week Ahead

Monday with Music


New Bern, NC friends, and visitors, you can find live music tonight in two locations. Sara’s Big Apple will host Simon Spalding for an acoustic dinner offering from 6-8 pm.

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For those over in town,  you can enjoy the blues jam I talk about so much because I started it all! Big Jim Kohler live at The Brown Pelican for a two-hour music offering.

The first hour features Jim Kohler Band and the second hour is always a guess on who is coming up to the killing floor! Be sure to wear your dancing shoes and get ready to have a natural ball. Music is offered from 7-9 pm!


Greenville, NC Play The Stage! Open Mic at AJ McMurphy’s


Raleigh, NC Champions Bars – NC State, also offers an open mic event Champions Bar Open Mic Mondays,


Tuesday Temptation

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This Tuesday features a monthly offering of  Irish Music Session at City Stage New Bern! It takes place this Tuesday. Music fun starts at 7 pm and lasts until 9 pm.


It is Honky Tonk Tuesday at The Brown Pelican each week. Country pickers and players are welcome to come jam between 7 pm and closing. All are welcome to participate or just relax and listen!



Tiffany Elaine will host an open mic night at the KBar at Brandywine Bay Golf Club. This venue is open to the public and Elaine hosts open mic on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 7-10 pm. All are welcome to come to display their talents! Enjoy some food, a cold beer, and live music!


Wednesday’s Weakness

Blues Is Back at City Stage

We get back to the blues on Wednesday when Big Jim Kohler hosts another fun night of swapping blues chops with other players. Live music starts at 7 pm on stage at City Stage New Bern and the fun goes to 9 pm. All are welcome to jam with the blues master or just come to listen and dance along!


Open Mic at Carolina Wine Mixer

Open Mic Night at The Carolina Wine Mixer with Tiffany Elaine starts this week and will take place each Wednesday night. The fun starts at 7 pm, all are welcome to come out and join the fun with family and friends.


Thursday Thrillers

Captain Ratty’s Seafood & Steakhouse will be serving the sounds of Chuck Phillips this week, upstairs in the piano bar. Music is offered 6-9 pm and dinner is always delicious.


Alisa Mike hosts a night of music each Thursday evening 7-9 pm at City Stage New Bern. She will wow you with standard jazz offerings and groove you with fun show tunes. The City Stage offers a pub-style menu and entertainment most night of the week. They are located at 901 B Pollock St., Doors open at 5 pm.


Strung Together will provide the entertainment on the deck this Thursday evening at Persimmons Restaurant. Music is offered from 7:30-9:30 pm. Come enjoy a great night with fine dining on the water and enjoy the show!


Brian Mac of Third Degree Bern hosts the open mic night at The Brown Pelican each Thursday Night. Sign up starts at 7 pm and music starts at 8 pm and lasts until all of the jammers have jammed. This is the longest running open mic night in New Bern and it is always new and exciting!



Ryan Rubich & Friends will be sharing songs in the garden at Carolina Home and Garden this Thursday evening. Music plays from 6:30 -9:30 pm and the food truck Seaside Sensations will be on site serving. There is a $5.00 music charge. They serve cold beer, good wine and free snacks.


Thank You for Reading!

Please go out and support live music tonight!  Please be sure to call the club in advance to confirm what you read here is true. Many times events change without anyone updating the changes publicly.

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 about our mission by sharing this page on your social media pages.

Thanks to the many bands and clubs, thanks for keeping me informed!

When you walk out the door tonight, take kindness with you. Be sure to tip those that serve you and the music makers that rock you!

Hug people often and share the love. Make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Please party safely sweet 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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Have a great week and enjoy the dance!

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