Birthday Week For the Blogger and Her Music Friends

Molly’s and Music

On Friday evening, Jaymi Mitchell and I bounced around Greenville for music memories. Our first of two stops was Molly’s Community Cafe where we checked in for dinner and music courtesy of three talented stringers. Ronnie L Harris Jr., Sam Weatherly and Billy Smith provided the dinner time entertainment.

First up we enjoyed classic rock offering by Ronnie L Harris, Jr. bass man for the Six Pack Band based in Greenville. Harris is a well known figure on the Greenville music scene. He assists in bringing music to the area on many levels.

Harris is also quite a story teller. We heard stories of his start in music around town. We journeyed back on time to his college days. Before I knew it we were back in 1987 and I was graduating high school and Harris was rocking the acoustic guitar.

Harris on Hootie n The Blowfish

We had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful family and hear his talented daughter Emma Grace play the ukulele and sing a song she learned for her school talent show.

The most beautiful thing of musicians and their families is the fun they share in child rearing. I enjoyed hearing stories of their parenting journey and then watch their social experiment perform for us! It’s plain to see through the laughter they are doing an amazing job and keeping it real. Thanks for giving me faith in seeing there is hope for the world.

Harris is awaiting better, healthier days, like the rest of the world so that he can get back to bass and playing with the band. He did mention that the Six Pack Band is now a four piece with a fairly new addition, Jeff Shirley returning to the band. So they are working out the set list and rehearsing weekly!

Harris does a lot more than just play music, he keeps busy attending meetings to help plan and promote events for the city. When I asked what he was working on these days, Harris said, “I’m currently working on some small acoustic shows at various parks for the City of Greenville. I hope to have Sunday In The Park back up and running by July. Also in discussion about a music on Evans type shows for May – September.”

Next to the microphone was Sam Weatherly of the Low Tide Strings Band. He didn’t think he was a story teller but let me tell ya, he held his own.

Weatherly was in attendance with his Valentine’s date, his biggest fan, and wife, Penny. Offering many folk based and country flavored songs, Weatherly is a good picker and has a nice voice. When I reached out to him on Facebook, the message was still unanswered at press time, but I hope to learn more about him and his band soon.

Closing out the show was the man running lights and sound for the night, William Smith. Known as Billy to his friends, this talented stringer is available to perform solo shows or just run sound and lights for anyone in need of a tech engineer.

The singer songwriter had a busy week with family and staring a new job, so I was unable to talk to him this week, but he will actually be coming to town tomorrow night for my New Bern friends. More on his show in the rundown.


AJ’s and JP for Friday’s Night Cap

Speaking of trying to catch up with people…Call it a mission, call me crazy, but I like chasing the story. Case in point, this next story! The JP Guhns Band.

We ended on a country note with the high energy talent of the JP Guhns Band, out of Jacksonville, NC nearly two weeks ago when we caught the full band at Jack’s Waterfront Bar in Morehead City on Saturday, February 6, 2021. That would be the first time I caught this band, though I have known the main stringer for several years now.

JP Guhns Band is founded by guitarist and singer Jacob Paul. Marine, father, writer, musician, student, production engineer and so much more. The singer songwriter and talented music maker is someone I have been wanting to learn more about since meeting him years ago. So after seeing his full band perform I sent him quite a few questions to get some of his back story.

Give me a quick history of the current band.

The band started in December of 2018. I moved up from South Carolina and was going to start a band with another buddy. He bought something from Justin and called me talking about how he had bought some stuff from a drummer. I called Justin while I was working in South Carolina and Justin agreed to give it a try. Justin had been touring throughout the east coast with his trio, The Justin Kyle Band, but has a deep and rich background having been playing in the area for the majority of his life and raised in a touring gospel group. His bass player moved on and he was available so him and I decided to give it a go. We found a bass player via Craiglist and played a few smaller shows. The next addition was our guitar player, Tyler Ausherman. Tyler had posted that he was looking to join or start a prime country band, and I was like “well shit that’s what I want too.” That’s definitely a common ground between us, love of the 80/90’s era of country. The bass player we were playing with wanted to go in a different direction, so he exited, and we were able to scoop of Billy Mobley. Billy has been playing in the area for years and is a huge part of who we are.

Meet the drummer, Justin Sokolski

How have you survived the pandemic?

I’m sure we share the same feelings as many groups throughout the nation, that this whole thing really sucks. We went from playing every weekend throughout eastern North Carolina to watching many of our great venues being shut down. As a band we understand that our venues our suffering and we have decided to work with the wonderful owners and managers that have given us so many opportunities. We have started to play as a duo as well and have taken the time to write and start recording new music as well.

Have you recorded any music to share?

We released an EP in 2019 with Mike Corrado and Grunt Tunes. It is a six-song collection of some of my songs titled “Midwest Wind”. It has some amazing musicians featured on it and has been able to give us some awesome exposure. We have been featured on FM radio in Raleigh and the opportunity to open for national acts. The EP features our first single “Good Friends and Whiskey”, and we have shot 3 videos with Kyle Tyndall to support the songs as well. The EP is available on every streaming platform.

What dates are on the books?

We have monthly spots at the E-Club in Emerald Isle, multiple shows with Coco’s Resteraunt and Bar in Wilson, Weldon Mills Distillery in Weldon, duo spots with The Mad Boar in Wallace, VFW in Jacksonville and I have been invited to a songwriter round in Nashville at the Commodore in July.

Tell me a little more about yourself…when did you start playing/writing music?

As a writer this could be a loaded question with a million pages of information, but I will be frank and try my best to sum it all up. I started playing and writing in the 6th grade. My older brother loss one of his best friends his senior year to a car accident. They were always listening and going to shows in the Wisconsin/ Illinois area. Bands like Third Eye Blind, Blink 182, Rage Against the Machine, all the late 90’s, early 2000’s pop punk bands. Before his friend passed away, he spent spring break at our house. They went to a concert in Milwaukee and when they were walking out I asked him if I could go. The last thing he said to me was “Brothers can’t take brothers everywhere, my dude.” I held on to that and with his spirit ended up begging my real dad for a guitar. I got a flat top Fender acoustic and a big blue book of beginning guitar. I learned the chords C and G and started writing. I probably wrote 50 songs in a year and played them at every bonfire and barn party since.

Who introduced you to music?

Could go down a rabbit hole here as well, but it’s simple…My mom.

How old were you when you said that was the road for you?

I wasted my time growing up. I recorded and played throughout Wisconsin and Illinois when I was in high school but never truly took hold of the opportunities. I regret that. One day in 2017 my daughter came into my room while I was sleeping. I was working nights, so I obviously slept in. She was 4 at the time and she told me with such assertiveness and passion that she wanted to be a “police officer that works on animals and helps humans.” In my head I was like “Well I’ll never be ok with her being a cop and if she wants to go to school to be a doctor and a veterinarian, she better start earning money now.” But of course, as a parent you don’t stifle dreams so I told her she could do anything she wanted. She was excited and ran out. As I rolled over, I felt like God punched me in the face. How could I tell her to go after her dreams if I never even tried? So that was it. I started posting online and writing more. I played shows in South Carolina acoustically and submitted and was a finalist in a national songwriting competition, earning a trip and opportunity to record at Ocean Way studios in Nashville. Then I moved to North Carolina and we started as a band. The band is made up of 4 dads and we all have careers outside of music, but we all share the passion to play and be heard. So for now we just take each day as it comes and there is a goal for Justin and I to become songwriters.

What advice would you give to a teenager thinking about a career in music?

Not sure if I am in the place to give advice, I’m nowhere near the “making it” point, but if I had to or was asked, I would say to be resilient and persistent. I have had to spend a year in correspondence before we have gotten into certain venues, nights of bad shows and empty rooms, sore throats, frustrated moments, and broken gear. It’s not easy, and when it starts looking up, don’t think it’s going to stay that way. If you want to play music, especially as an income or career, you need to be prepared to be filled with anxiety, worry, and at times heartbreak. But it’s not all negative. When you get one person to feel your sound and your vibe, and the band is hitting just right, you can close your eyes and you get that high, the high that validates the pain. That’s the shit right there.

How can people get a hold of you for hiring the band?

I try to reach out and play wherever, whenever. We can be reached through our Facebook page JP Guhns Band and try to be very efficient in our correspondence, even if neither party can make it happen. We just truly love learning people and sharing in positivity.


Honky Tonking on a Saturday Night

I think it was somewhere between Molly’s and AJ’s that Jaymi mentioned going to Zebulon to celebrate Tommy Redd’s birthday on Saturday night. Though it wasn’t on my radar, it unfolded into a plan from there. When I woke up, I reached out to Adam Hill to see if he wanted to ride with us, which he did and we all made it safely through the rain to enjoy a fun night of amazing music and down home celebration.

Though it’s been clear to me for years, many people around the state and on the music scene absolutely love the famed Nantucket guitar player. He is a staple on our NC music scene, with efforts that helped to put us on the map with his band in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Throughout the night I probably heard more than twenty people tell me that Redd is their favorite person. The beloved guitar player turned 71 on Friday, February 12, 2021 and on Saturday they celebrated in full music fashion.

The following day I found a post on Facebook from Drummer Wayne Pearce who posted the photos below and said, “Had a great time with Tommy Redd for his Birthday. Thank you all for making his Birthday so special. Special thanks to Adam Hill for taking the trip here .
We had one hell of a night.
Music was off the chain.
Thanks to Bill & Melissa for having everyone. Thanks to my beautiful wife for keeping us all in beer. Lmfao. You are the best Penny. I Love you, honey.
Thanks to Robin Woodard, Alton Taylor, Frank Morrow’s from All My Rowdy Friends Band for singing a few songs. And everyone else who came out. Oh yeah and
TC Cawhern, Jason’s brother, from Georgia. Good ole redneck folks.
It was all for you Tommy Redd. I love you better than Peter loved the Lord.
I want to thank the good Lord above for allowing me to play music with such talented people. I am truly blessed to experience such great talent. WOW!!!”


Sunday Brunch With Friends at The Flying Shamrock ☘️

On Sunday afternoon, Jennifer Newton, Mary Shine and I headed out to Goldsboro to share some Valentine’s love with Adam Hill who plays a brunch show often at The Flying Shamrock. I happen to love this place for a lot of reasons. First of all the owner is amazing and supports live music. Thank you Cameron Yones for keeping your door open for music. The acoustics of this building sounds amazing too. Another perk for music lovers. I also happen to love the food they serve. Though I had always been there for dinner, this was a great pick for brunch too.

While we were there we got to hang out with Hill’s youngest daughter Abbi, who at one time assisted me on a radio show we did with her father in Hillsborough, NC in 2017. Also in attendance was his good friend Lisa Miller. It is always a good time full of love when we gather to support the music of Adam Hill. Knowing I could not make it first thing, I texted Hill and asked him to hold his original music until I got there. Thankful for the music he shares, this song pulled me through some of my darkest hours is 2019. Here is Hill with his song “My Good Life.”

My Good Life by Adam Hill

Monday We Mourned the Loss of Music Makers

On Monday evening we headed to AJ McMurphy’s to attend the Monday Night Rhythm and Grooves jam hosted by John Williams. The Greenville music scene has been shook to its core with the passing of a couple of popular music makers over the last couple of weeks.

First they lost Tim Mieneke on the 6th of February. On Sunday, another tragic and sudden loss was reported when it was announced the Rob Jones passed on Sunday morning. Many of the players that attended Monday, offered songs for tribute to the two music makers.

Rob Jones photo by Joe Shingara

Frank Jones and Mark Oliver even kicked off their set by offering an original song by Mieneke for the jam this week. Frank Jones believed “Ocracoke” it to be his best song.


Live Music Options

Cruisin’ County by County

In the hopes of always keeping things fresh and new, here is a new run down of live music for the days ahead, county by county.

Beaufort County

Friday

Chuck Phillips Band will perform this Friday evening at Ribeyes of Washington with sounds being served for supper from 6:30-9:30 pm.

*****

Saturday

Gary Brady featuring Eric Strickland will be the Saturday evening music at Ribeyes of Washington. This treat is being served from 6:30-9:30 pm.

*****

Its’s a birthday party at Captain Cooks this Saturday night! Everyone is invited!

All the February birthday babies are invited to celebrate thier birthday with us on Feb 20. Invite your friends we are going to party with some free hors d’oeuvres and geat music. Christopher Pearce will provide the tunes.

*****


Brunswick County

Friday

Josh Lewis will perform tomorrow evening at The Joyce. The music plays from 6-9 pm.

*****

Saturday

Erin and Justin Jernigan offer the live music this Saturday at The Joyce from 6-9 pm.


Carteret County

Friday

*****

Brian and Reeves Felton will provide the live music offering at The Growler EI. They hope you come have a beer and some fun with them this weekend!

*****

Ryan Rubich will be sharing songs with those that gather at Bogue Sound Distillery, Friday from 6-9 pm

Saturday

Ryan Rubich will offer music for patrons at Boro Restaurant and Bar on Saturday evening from 6-9 pm


Craven County

Thursday

John Williams is a talented singer and stringer from Greenville, NC who will be in Fairfield Harbour to offer the supper songs tonight at Harbour Pointe Bar & Grille. Music will be served from 6-9 pm. Come out and enjoy a fine meal and good music each Thursday evening. This establishment is open to the public, so come out and show some love tonight.

*****

Big Jim & Kathy Kohler sing the blues each Thursday upstairs in the Whiskey Bar at Prohibition Drinks & Desserts. Music is offered 6-9 pm

*****

Dueling Pianos Plus make a return to New Bern for a show at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar. Music is offered tonight from 6-9 pm.

Friday

Greenville’s own William Smith will be serving up the sounds at BrÜtopia 6-9 pm.

*****

Raleigh based party band, Push Play will be rocking the deck at Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant on Friday evening 5:30-9:30 pm

*****

The Wicked Shimmies will share songs on stage at Tap That Craft Beer & Wine Bar this Friday, February 20, 2021. Music starts at 7 pm and ends by 9:30 pm.

*****

Saturday

Joe Baes Project

The Joe Baes Project returns to Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar this Saturday, February 20, 2021 to share the popular songs you love and the originals that I love. This New Bern based band is worth the free price of admission so come out and groove with the rocking trio.

*****

The BiPolar Express

Speaking of popular New Bern based trio’s The Bipolar Express will offer all hair band rock that you crave on the deck at Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant this Saturday with the fun and familiar party tunes starting at 6:00 pm.

******

Sunday

Open Mic Night is each Sunday at Tap That Craft Beer & Wine Bar. The stage is open to all levels of talent from 6-9 pm. Hosted by Sam Lewis, who invites everyone to come out and shine.


Guilford County

Friday

THE NATION’S PREMIER BON JOVI TRIBUTE BAND
THE BLIND TIGER
FRI FEB 19
DOORS 6 | SHOW 7

******


Johnston County

Kyle Mullins (above) Music will be on tap this Friday at Deep River Brewing Company, 700 W Main St, Ste 102 Clayton, NC. Live music this Saturday, by Maverick Rose, (below) will also be offered from 6-9 pm.


Mecklenburg County

Friday

YUSA FEATURING GINO CASTILLO
FEB 19-20
Fused inside her music are traces from further afield, from iconclastic jazz and rock to today’s Brazil. Full of the vital energy of experimentation and the textures of musical exchange gained in intimate venues. Click here for TICKETS

*****

The Parks Brothers will perform live at Big Ben British Pub this Friday with music playing from 6-9 pm

*****

Stephen Angers performs an acoustic show this Friday at Carolina Beer Temple Charlotte from 6-9 pm. 

*****

FRIDAY AT 6 PM – 9 PM
Live Music by Agave Brothers
Piedmont Social House

Join us for Live Music on the Patio Friday, February 19.
Live music is rain or shine. No cover charge!


New Hanover County

Friday

Friday Night you can catch the Wes Sayer Duo live at
Wild Wing Cafe. Music plays 6-9 pm

*****

Saturday

Adam Carswell LIVE at the WING this Saturday, serving sounds from 6-9 pm.


*****

SATURDAY AT 2 PM EST
Live Music w/ Two of a Kind
Wrightsville Beach Brewery

*****

Onslow County

Friday

The Crooked Lotus will host Chandler Ritter Duo this Friday with music being served from 6-9 pm.

******


Pitt County

Friday

Friday nights are an acoustic showcase of entertainment. This week you can enjoy the music of Lydia Grey, MiKe Meeks, and Phil McLean. Music is offered 6-9 pm.

*****

Cierra Linton provides the Friday evening music for those in attendance at AJ McMurphy’s. Live music is offered from 6-9 pm.

*****

Saturday

Molly’s Community Café will host Electric 252 this Saturday evening with music playing from 6-9 pm.

******

Mikele Buck will provide the music this Saturday at AJ McMurphy’s with sounds being served from 6-9 pm.


Wake County

Thursday

Hello from Larry and The Bean Open Mic!!!!!Our next Open Mic at The Fainting Goat Fuquay-Varina will be Thursday February 18, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 pm. With the start of the new year we are starting a new feature event for bands. Once a month we will give a band a 30 Min slot to play their music. We are looking for Acoustic, solo artist and song writers to step up and play your music as well. Yes we are a Blues based Open Mic but we want all forms of music. You play it we want to hear it. Thanks for your time.
Larry and The Bean
Fainting Goat Brewing Company, Fuquay-Varina
330 S Main St, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
All Back line will be in place Drums, Bass and Guitar including Amps.

*****

Friday

It’s country music night at Sophie’s Bar and Grill this Friday with music by Nathan Wayne. Music will be served 6-9 pm.

******

Scooters Grill and Bar has the music of RayMartin this Friday with tunes being served from 5-9 pm.

*****

Adam Pitts brings the music to Wild Wing Cafe Raleigh this Friday evening. He will be sharing popular songs from 6-9 pm.

Saturday

Major Vice will make their return to Sophie’s Bar and Grill this Saturday evening. They will rock you from 6-9 pm.

*****

Mary Selvidge will provide the dinner music at Wild Wings Café this Saturday from 6-9 pm.

******

454 will be on stage and rocking Scooter’s Bar and Grill this Saturday evening from 5-9 pm.

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After School Special will be the band rocking Saints and Scholars Pub this Saturday evening with music being offered 6-9 pm.


Wayne County

Thursday

The Village Steakhouse and Pub will host the music of John Toppings serving sounds Thursday evening 6-9 pm

Thanks for Reading!

If you have an upcoming show you’d like me to share here send me an email to ncmz.live@gmail.com and I’ll try to include your show.

All content is written and published by Tracey Stones

I roam the scene far and wide and bring it all together for you here, in the simple hopes of connecting people to the local music near them!

Tracey Stones caught working. Photo credit: Mark Oliver

If you enjoy this blog, support it by sharing it with friends! Donations are always welcome and much appreciated! Thank you for your love and support ~ Tracey Stones

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Author: Tracey Stones

I am a writer and a dreamer; a mover and a shaker. I am self motivated to work and write my way through life. I am a mother and a business owner. I have been a music journalist and a band manager as well over the years. No matter what I do, life stays interesting and writing about it keeps me sane. My favorite subject is music! Support live music is the theme! Appreciation for the artists will be in focus! This is the North Carolina Music Zone! Welcome and thank you for supporting live music! Please share this site with your friends so we can all enjoy the dance. Thank you.

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