Grateful Blogger Gives Thanks, Learns Lessons, Opens Heart and Shares Stories

If We are Living Then We Are Learning



Thankful for my fans and friends that keep this blog going! Thanks for pulling me through the darkness so to keep the words flowing into the light!  Blog follower and Supporter Kathleen Kolberg Forrest


The Vision

Since I took you all the way back in life last week when I was taking myself out of the blog game, let me just say, I am in it to win it! As self-driven firecracker that has big ambitions and even bigger dreams, I am an emotional wonder in the peak of menopause and awaiting a life without so many hormones.  Though I am unsure how to make everything come together, I just know my idea is still fabulous. And once the government shuts down Facebook, music lovers will survive as they’ll be able to turn to the music zone in their area to know the live music news in their state.

Seeking Clarity

As a means of telling you how vested I am, I went to Craven Community College to sit down with their small business center director Deborah Kania to assess my ideas with another business professional.  After explaining the end result,  she looked at me and said, “So, you’re not a small thinker, are you?” and we laughed.  She also followed up with a deep breath and a “WOW!”

I knew it was going to be a big build. The sample product was nowhere near completion. In fact, I was only 2.5 years into a 4-5 year development phase, on my end. Last September, I was on the verge of taking the leap to invest one business into the other and start monetizing this product when the banks of our river rearranged that plan. I try to stay positive and the best way for me to do that is by not dealing with my life until it becomes a crisis. Last week we hit crisis mode because I am having a very hard time making ends meet. I went from having several thousand dollars a month to invest in this build and now I don’t even have several thousand dollars at all.

Over The Years

I have met with several people over the years and discussed my idea in a shadowed light, as I don’t care to reveal the whole thing until it’s an app ready for the world to download on their phones. If I pull it off, I will build a platform that employs thousands of freelancers like myself who are out here supporting a thriving music scene. I am convinced this is the best way to build a stronger circuit so that local bands have the ability to break out regionally and beyond.

With this good work that I am doing, I am building an opportunity for hungry entrepreneurs, whether they be music journalists, bands, bars or club owners, local music studios, sound engineers, brewing companies and more to be exposed in a partnership that is profitable to all!

The Reality and Frustrations

It was during my meeting with Deborah that I recognized my many frustrations. Not surprising to me, my greatest issue is with people! I am so frustrated by the lack of business sense that floods our local music scene. After some thought, I decided instead of quitting on people, let’s educate them. I believe the best way to deal with this will be through educating people here in the blog.  There are plenty of topics to highlight as well.

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Behind the Scene With Tracey Stones



There is always something in the works behind the scenes in my world. Lately, Tracey Stones Productions has been meeting with people about bringing music to their communities. In fact, today is the start of the 2019 concert series for the residents of Fairfield Harbour. We have 15 shows on the books. Some of these events are going to take place in the Community Center on Saturday evenings. Others will take place on Sunday afternoons at Red Sail Park. Tonight we welcome Rubich & Cain in the Community Center for a night of fun music. Next month marks the Sundays in the Park with Big Jim Kohler Band on Sunday, May 26, 2019, at 2 pm

I am still seeking community sponsors for these shows. If you want the residents in Fairfield Harbour to know you are supporting live music then we should talk about putting your banner up on the stages we set. Currently, there is no firm commitment to paying these bands. We are relying on the kindness of others and now in a community that was devastated last year! If you know anything about me, you know I am all about paying the bands for their time. A community sponsorship would allow a fair pay scale and help cover promotional costs. The return is the advertising you get here in the blog and on site where the concerts take place.


My Mission With Big Jim



Friends Forever

Big Jim and I have been on a journey since we met in March of 2013. For a minute there I thought our journey was about to end when my dear blues buddy fell ill in August of 2017. It was a crazy ride for some time while he did battle with pneumonia. In an effort to help him through we that, the amazing medical team at CarolinaEast had to put the bluesman in a coma to help him combat his addiction with alcohol. Big Jim makes no secret about his love affair with beer and whiskey for 30 years. A love affair that ended after the disease nearly claimed his life in 2017.

When pneumonia nearly took him from us, I prayed for God to keep him here. I sat by his side, playing music in his ear and promising him that if he fought for his life, I would stay the course and build a stronger healthier music community in his honor.  My daily work with music has been happening in his honor since his 50th Birthday, September 1, 2017.

The Crawl and The Comeback


After a long road of addiction recovery, knee replacement surgery, and battling the blood sugar bounce,  Kohler emerged back on our local scene on April 11, 2018. He performed his first gig in front of the Black Cat Shoppe on Middle St for ArtWalk.  It was the greatest joy my heart had known in more than 8 months. Big Jim was playing the blues in New Bern again!

Part of the hope in his return is advancing beyond the New Bern scene. He is a seasoned pro with many years logged with a few awesome national blues acts. There are times and seasons in everyone’s life where there is a need for reflection. Big Jim has now moved beyond those moments and has emerged, sober and stronger than ever before. I thought that would be enough for our community to rally behind him in support of getting him back in the studio.


PLEASE! Help Us Pave The Road Ahead

Having said that, Kohler created a Kickstarter campaign at the end of February which will be shut down in 10 days without the promise of a product because we did not meet the goal. I cannot tell you how frustrating this is for me, so I can’t even imagine how disappointed Jim must feel.  I know I was stoked about it and thought his goal of $4,000 was a reasonable one to meet.  It breaks my heart that we did not rise in the first week to meet him in this need. After two months we are still short! Given how much he has done so much for this community with his music, I thought for sure, we would return the favor to our own father of the blues.

Thus far 19 backers have pledged $1711.00 to his $4000.00 goal. That means we have 10 days to raise just under $2300.00 and the bluesman’s spirits. If we meet him in his need he will return the pledged with a great new blues project. We are all ready for that! This will also give us both a product to push him back on the national blues circuit. We are both ready for the ride, we just need the help of the community to gas up the engines! Please take a minute and pledge your support for more Big Jim Kohler music by visiting this link:



Back On The Scene With Tracey Stones

It’s like I never left!

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Reunions are the theme of the week and every time I hear about North Carolina Bands reuniting, I usually hear about memories of long ago when bands played at two very popular rooms. The Attic was in Greenville, NC and was the work of Joe Toronto and his team and The Redneck Saloon in Grifton, NC.  In fact, the two girls that would tell these tales most often oare my friends pictured above, Madonna Hawks and Belinda Barr.

Shad Festival Rocks Music Fans

As we walk into festival season, we stop in Grifton for the 2019 Shad Festival where The Wannabees delivered the Classic rock and Jesse Bolt returned to stage to rock crowd for the first time in years.


The Wannabees Warm the Stage With Classic Rock

Generally, when I attend a show where the New Bern based band, The Wannabees are sharing the bill, I make it just in time to see the exit the stage. Luckily, this was not the case on Saturday night as I got to enjoy the last handful of songs they offered the gathering rock crowd. The quartet of classic rockers always delivers a polished set of popular rock tunes that fans enjoy! They sounded great on Saturday night dishing out the Tom Petty and rocking to the beats of the Beatles!

The buzz on the street though was the news that Jesse Bolt would be returning to rock the stage at the 2019 Shad Festival. Since I was not covering the NC scene in the ’70s I had to admit, quite often lately, that I never heard of the band. But I took plenty of time to talk to my local friends about the act as we awaited their return to the bright lights of the small town that once housed these rockers regularly in a bar known as The Redneck Saloon.


The  Return of Jesse Bolt


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Regardless of who I asked, the answer was the same, “These boys rocked the NC scene back in the day!” Jesse Bolt emerged onto the scene in 1974 and gained popularity quick.  They received enough recognition to find themselves on the touring circuit, opening for bands like U2, Kiss and Black Sabbath.

In fact, while chatting with founding member Keith Stacy last night I learned, that the band is  “currently bringing more of our original songs back…we (my brother Don and I) have a vast catalog of songs,” Stacy said. “I think Kiss was actually influenced by one of them.” He explains, “We played with Kiss at the Charlotte Coliseum in 1976. The next day at breakfast at the hotel, Gene asked our drummer, Max, ‘what was the name of the 3rd song you played?’ Evidently, they liked the dead stop in the song. They then came out with Stole Your Love…which also has a dead stop.”

As it was; this band was put together for the Festival in the hopes of bringing the band back to the scene. Stacy admitted that the guys I saw did not have much time logged together and the next time the band would be tighter. Frankly, I thought they were a fun rocking act with a lot of guitar waves to work out. Jan Fields accepted the role as frontman and rehearsed just one time with the band and their new bass player, Jim Hunter, may have had two rehearsals under his belt!

For those that are looking for the band so to reminisce the days gone by or find out the news on the road ahead be sure to find them on Facebook by clicking here



Reunions Are Always Fun for New Bern’s Delta Bones Band


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While we are on the subject of reunions of sorts, let’s keep that groove going as we revisit the blues of The Delta Bones. This was a popular band that played here in New Bern on the regular, some 20 years ago. Today the guys gather for an occasional show and such was the case this Thursday, when they returned to the Piano Bar at Captain Ratty’s Seafood and Steakhouse to perform for the supper crowd.

Guitarist and original player, Ed Ruiz, is the one who reached out and asked me to come out for a night of fun and good music. I was obliged by the invitation and accepted. He had told me about the band in the past. But, since writing the blog, this was the first time they regrouped in the area for me to catch a sample. It was a great night of fun music made by longtime friends and music making brothers.

Generally, the line up includes Mike McCully on guitar and lead vocals, Tom Small on harmonica and vocals, Ed Ruiz on the guitar a, Tom Dunn on bass and Zach Meadows on drums. With Meadows out of town on Thursday, they called in Glen Druhot to fill in the backbeat, which he did with ease and grace.


Thank You For The Love and Attention You Have Passed My Way


For anyone interested in reading more about my work with music and the attention it has gained, please follow this link to read the next installment of the Fairfield Harbour Beacon. Recently I met with resident writer Ellen Pettigrew who interviewed me on being recognized last year as one of the 52 Faces of Community! I am grateful for her efforts in helping me celebrate this honor! Her article appears on page 36

Fairfield Harbour Beacon


Live Music Options ~

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Daytime Delights


2019 Earth Day Celebration

Join us for the 49th Earth Day Celebration and After Party in Downtown New Bern!

Come out for a fun afternoon of learning and eco-friendly kids arts and crafts on Saturday, April 20th from 1 – 4 p.m. at the corner of Craven and S. Front Streets in the vacant lot next to Mitchell Hardware.

We’re kicking off the celebration with the reading of the Earth Day Proclamation by Mayor Dana Outlaw at 1 p.m. Please know that we’re celebrating Earth Day early as it’s officially on April 22.

Special thanks to New Bern Parks and Recreation for partnering with New Bern Now to present New Bern Earth Day 2019!

Our goal is to bring people together for a fun, learning experience about our local ecosystem and discover how we can all become more socially-conscious.

We want to start the conversation and spread awareness of how we can take steps to “Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”.

Meet organizations who are making a difference in the preservation and conservation of our local environment. Your children will have fun with eco-conscious activities hosted by the Boys andGirls Club of the Coastal Plains with materials sponsored by U. S. Cellular.

You’ll also be given a map highlighting participating Downtown Businesses.

Enjoy giveaways! Both at the event and at participating businesses!

Participating Downtown Businesses:

Carolina Creations – Recycled Art Exhibit, 317-A Pollock St., 252-533-4369
Hanna House Bed & Breakfast – Beekeeping, Tesla Charging Station, and Water Reuse System Exhibits, 218 Pollock St., 252-635-3209
Living Well Down East – Explore Healthy Living and Giveaways, 309 Middle St., 252-637-0011


Carolina Nature Coalition, 252-626-5100
Coastal Environmental Partnership, 252-633-1564
Young Living Essential Oils by Dona Baker, 252-672-5933
New Bern Parks and Recreation, 252-639-2901
NC Sierra Club – Croatan Group
Trent Woods Garden Club, 252-288-4846
– Veterans Employment Base Camp

Special thank you:

– Volunteer Members of the Earth Day Planning Committee and day of Volunteers
– Artist Chris Wagner of The Sanctuary Gallery for creating the artwork for New Bern’s Earth Day

The After Party

The After Party will be hosted by the North Carolina Music Zone and the Brown Pelican held from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Brown Pelican with live music by the Carolina Swamp Dogs and the Neuse River Ramblers!

Written by Wendy Card


Live downtown in Bear Plaza it is The Saturday Sessions. Come join us for a Saturday of LIVE MUSIC in Bear Plaza! Seth Smith, local singer and frontman for Hot Buttered Grits, will be playing solo some of his favorite originals and cover tunes. His set is slated for 1-3 pm. Then from 3-5pm the North Carolina Songwriters Co-op musician Michael Daughtry and the Drift will be taking the stage sponsored by Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corp.

Saturday Night Specials


On the James City Side of that Confounded Bridge

The Garage

The Garage has live music and a food truck tonight. Come out and grab a cold beer and enjoy the good blues grooves of Big Jim Kohler live from 7-10 pm.



BrÜtopia offers the freshest brewed beer and the sounds of country crooner, Ryan Cain. He will be sharing songs tonight and jamming from 7-10 pm. Free music for your listening pleasure. Come out and support local music, while you enjoy the freshest new beer on tap!


Getting Down Around Town

There is always a reason to head to town and gather for some fun. Tonight’s reason: LIVE MUSIC


The Brown Pelican


The Brown Pelican hosts the live music of Holt Up who return to town for the Easter eve party! They will be grooving the grooves at the Dirty Bird from 8-11 pm. Free music is never free, so be sure to tip the players that move you!


Blackbeard’s Triple Play


Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant, 415 S Front St. The ’80s rock party comes courtesy of The BiPolar Express. This always makes for a fun night. Music plays at 7:30 – 11 pm. For more info please reach out and call the club at 252-635-0322.


City Stage New Bern

The City Stage New Bern. is offering

Madame Z’s April Pride

Tickets are $8.00 and the show starts at 8 pm


Attitudes Pub & Grille

It’s the Spring Fling Dinner and Dance with our beloved oldies band. Come on out and enjoy a wonderful meal and then dance the night away with The Bears! Dinner starts at 6:00, including ham, baked chicken, fish, potatoes, vegetables and dessert. The band plays from 7 – 10 pm. Tickets are $20 per person. Call 252-633-2006 to reserve.

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Cruising the Crystal Coast

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Morehead City

Promise’ Land Market

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Barry Charleton is the acoustic act that will be offering the grooves and rocking the stage at Promise’ Land Market, with music being shared from 8:30-11:30 pm.


Off The Hook

Off The Hook will host the good grooves of The Joe Brown Band tonight starting at 10 PM. This local band will offer a great variety of original grooves, blended with songs you know. They will be rocking the deck until 1:30 am. Come dance and Spread the love!


Beaufort, NC

Cru Bar & Wine Store/ The Beaufort Coffee Shop


Cru Bar & Wine Store/ The Beaufort Coffee Shop  

Dick Knight, Sat April 20th, 8-11 pm, No Cover

Join us for a live performance by Mr. Dick Knight. He is a recipient of the NC Heritage Award, (NC Arts Council) and former member of the James Brown Band. He has played with Maceo Parker, Gladys Knight, Roberta Flak, Otis Redding and more!


Southport, NC

Fishy Fishy Cafe


 Fishy Fishy Cafe, 106 Yacht Basin Dr., Southport, NC, (910) 457-1881. Music will be served from 6:30 -10:30 pm. Come enjoy the grooves of REV tonight and be sure to sample some of the delicious food and cold beer too. 


Wilmington, NC

Bourbon Street Wilmington


Bourbon Street Wilmington welcomes The Jam Sandwich Band sharing the good grooves starting at 9 pm. You are encouraged to come early for the good eats and stay for the good grooves. Make sure your where your groove shoes and come ready to dance.

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Rocking Around the Region

Greensboro, NC

Craft City Sip-In


Craft City Sip-In has the best music plus beer, wine, and whiskey!

You are invited to make it a fun and festive Earth Day this Saturday as WristBand rocks Craft City Sip-In with some classic rock and blues! Come listen to some good music and enjoy their great selection of craft brews.


Seven Springs, NC

Crossroads Grill & Bar


New Bern’s rocker chick, Marron Chaplin will be live, offering the music from 10 pm until they turn out the lights at 2 am tomorrow morning! Come out grab a bite, have a beer, shoot some pool and groove to the beats to make it a night to remember.


Kinston, NC

The Red Room

The Red Room welcomes The Wicked Shimmies to the stage to rock the grooves tonight. Come ready to groove and enjoy the good music offered by this local and fun band. Live music plays from 10 pm until 2 am. There is a $5.00 cover charge to help support live music.



Greenville, NC

Trollingwood Taproom & Brewery.

We’ll be printing large scale relief blocks all day in the parking lot. Come by and take in the art, music and beer! Bring your family and friends! Chill and paint/draw! Make new friends! Support the artists by purchasing some art! There will also be a raffle – with plenty of chances to win one of the prints! Message me if you want to help out with the event!

Check out the event page for updates as well as an example from last year!

If you would like to print a block send me a message!
Vendor spaces available – message for more info!

Design by Katelyn Stewart


AJ McMurphy’s


D-N-R returns to AJ’s!

for the fun and good times tonight. They’ll be rocking fans and friends that gather at AJ McMurphy’s. Get there early to enjoy some great food and stay late to dance dessert off the hips! Music starts at 8:30 and they rock you until 11:30 pm. D-N-R is an awesome local band that never disappoints! Dust off your dancin’ shoes and make your plans to join us!




Answering the Call

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.

April 17 at 7:11 PM

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Do you like live music videos? Check out my Live Stream Page on Facebook.

Tracey Stones Live on Facebook

Searching for more events around the region:

Events on Facebook


Thank You for Reading!

Now, PLEASE, 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 publicly.

I am dedicated to making sure you know where to go to find live music. If you like this blog please sign up and you will 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 don’t forget 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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Keeping up with the Blogger


Follow me on Facebook:

Feel free to invite me to your events.

If you have a budget for advertising, please consider promoting your next event here!

Do you need music for an event you are planning? Consider the services of:

Tracey Stones Productions

I read emails daily. You can send those to:

Please include the day, the date, the time of the event, the time of your scheduled performance.

Be sure to mention what time doors open and the price of tickets.

Pictures are helpful. You may send links to band websites so I can post those as well.

Thanks so much for helping me reach the people!


~ Support Live Music ~ Support This Blog!

Tracey Stones at work live streaming


You are the reason I look forward to writing this each blog week. The readers are the ones I count on to support this movement the most. Thank you for taking the time to read this site. Knowing that you use this site to find live music thrills me. Thank you!

There are many ways for people to help keep the blog going. If you have a business, you can affordably advertise here on this site. There are many ways of doing so. From simple links to commercials, we can promote you here! We offer video ads, print ads, and feature advertising. The opportunities are truly endless.


If you are a reader, who likes the content of this blog and you have a few dollars to spare, you can always tip the grateful blogger. There are several tip buckets found here on this site.  All donations and tips are filtered back into the growth of this live music blog.

NCMZ.LIVE also has Sponsorship opportunities available. This is a duel offer. If you have an event and would like media coverage for the music portion, please consider NCMZ.LIVE as a reputable music source for promoting your next event.

Tracey Stones Productions, LLC, is currently seeking corporate sponsors to host this site and community events. If you are the CEO of your organization and wish to invest in the arts and music promotions, please consider NCMZ.LIVE as the place to be!

To learn more on any and all of these opportunities, please email today or call the number below.

This site is a free service to support live music. Most often it is published twice weekly as a gentle reminder for people to get out and support live music.

Support the mission. Your donations will help fuel the growth of this informative live music blog. All contributions are appreciated. Thank you for your support!

~Tracey Stones, Writer~

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(318) 789-6929


5 thoughts on “Grateful Blogger Gives Thanks, Learns Lessons, Opens Heart and Shares Stories

  1. Glad and proud you’ve hung on. This town needs you! I’ll help when and where possible. Rock on Chick!

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