Living the Dream and Sharing the Blues

On The Scene and Keeping the Blues Alive

With Tracey Stones


Big Jim and The Blues is an Evolving Story

Since coming out of a coma in September 2017, Big Jim Kohler has been an unstoppable force, a bluesman on a mission. Growing stronger with each gig, he is playing as often as six times a week, fighting through the pains of life and getting cleaner on the guitar after 30 years of mastering its strings in an altered state of mind. Big Jim now approaches the stage sober and celebrating the music he loves to share with fans and friends of the blues.


It has been a busy season for the blues-man and his band. He is rocking the local scene with regular engagements at The Brown Pelican on Mondays, with jams being offered from 7-9 pm and on Wednesday at City Stage, where again 7-9 pm the stage offers a slew of blues and music-making friends.


Along with hosting regular jams, they also play BrUtopia, Triple Play Restaurant and Sports Bar, and The Garage in James City. The band is busy offering their services for benefits and charity events often and they are also making a name for themselves on the regional scene as well.


This music season has offered them an opening act opportunity at The State Theatre in Greenville back in May, which now leads us to more Greenville gigs and expanding territory. Most recently the band played AJ McMurphy’s for the first time and wowed the crowd there too.

IMG_8767 (2)


The blues band brought their music to Mardi Gras Fest in Beaufort this Spring and more recently rocked the Cru Bar’s Summer crowd a few weeks ago, as seen in the video above. They made their way to Wilmington a few months back and have been cutting chords along that coast ever since.

Currently, the band is filling the rest of 2019 and booking dates for 2020 as we speak. If you have room on your calendar for a great blues act, give Tracey Stones Productions a call about bringing them to your room soon. 318-789-6929


From Opening Act to Headliner in A Few Weeks

IMG_9055 (2)

Woolly & The Wingnutz



Last week we rolled to Raleigh where Big Jim Kohler Blues Band headlined an event I put together for The Pour House Music Hall. 

The bill was a  Sunday Blues Brunch offering three regional bands. Woolly and The Wingnutz opened the show at 2 pm, offering fun and funky set of down-home blues. We met Woolly at his weekly blues jam at The House in Durham. I asked him to join us given the fact that he works so hard on the local scene for the Triangle. This was a great way to start a fun day of music. These boys are nothing but professional and have a lot of fun making music together.

Cultivating the sounds for this band was Woolly on guitar, Mike Conway on guitar, Mark Heffington on Harmonica, T.A. James on the bass and offering strong vocals from behind the kit David Sword. 

You can catch these guys swapping grooves most Thursday nights at The House in Durham with good food being served and hot blues from 6:30-10 pm.


Appaloosa Redd & Friends Serve the Second Course


My sweet friend Gary Redd, better known to the music world as Appaloosa Redd, brought his friends front and center for a fun time with old fashioned grooves that made sense in today’s world. I love his style and his music friends that he takes on the journey they are always spot on. This show was another great example of that. Offering a fifty minute set of music that traced back to Redd’s heritage on the Appalachian Trail, he is a gem to behold!

Based out of the Greensboro area, I met Redd and guitarist Jeff McLean last year at The Greensboro Blues Festival, where his band closed out the event. Since then we have traveled the state and talked about a lot of blues!  When I started planning this show it only made sense to bring the cool grooves of Redd and Co in for such an occasion.  I actually look forward to doing more work with both of these music trailblazers. Woolly and Redd are passionate about bringing music to the people and wish to share their gifts for that purpose. The friends that came to assist Redd was drummer Darrell, bassist Shiela Klinefelter, and guitar man, and good friend McLean.


Big Jim & The Band for the Main Course


Filling out the bill for a regional three-course serving for the day was none other than the Big Jim Kohler Band out of New Bern, NC. Here again, another group of talented players passionate about sharing his sounds for the benefit of others.

When it came to selecting a band to fill the top slot, it seemed simple enough to me. I reached out hoping to secure some stage time for Big Jim, and I wanted to offer him that hope. Though Sunday Blues Brunch turned out to be slow, it was a fun experience to play with so many talented players in a room that caters to the music makers. I fell in love with The Pour House Music Hall on Sunday, even though I found public parking in Raleigh to be a great challenge.

Banging out the beats with Big Jim on this gig we bass-man Chris Buttitta, the drummer from the Triangle area sitting in on the gig was Chuck Katz. Mark Heffington was on harmonica, Kathy Kohler on vocals and the big man himself, on guitar and vocals.


Tracey Stones Productions Presents

Concert In the Park witH the Kohlers


The Kohlers wrapped up another fun week of sharing the blues at a concert in Fairfield Harbour. Tracey Stones Productions brings music to this park during the months of May- October. This is a great way for neighbors to enjoy a good time of music and fun as they sit under the pavilion in Red Sail Park. This was their second performance this Summer and promise to return for our entertainment this fall.

I still have a great many shows slotted for this concert series for my friends and neighbors in Fairfield Harbour. Music is offered in the park where are all welcome to pack a drink and a snack and come enjoy great live music for a few hours.

Our next event will take place on Sunday, August 11, 2019, featuring The Carolina Swamp Dogs. This trio of retired Marines will bring an authentic set of great blues for your listening pleasure. The band will play 3-5:30 pm at Red Sail Park. On Sunday, August 25th, Hank Barbee and The Dusty Trio return for their second show. Be sure to save the dates and come show some love and please tip the band.


Live Music Options In the Days Ahead

Monday Mayhem


Simon Spalding hosts a night of eclectic and educational acoustic music each Monday at Sara’s Big Apple Pizza. Music is offered from 6-8 pm and the dining specials are always a great option for taking care of the family at the start of each week. This tradition started in June and will carry on through August and possibly longer. Simon will entertain diners with a variety of acoustic instruments and educate you on the history of the instrument.


IMG_5651 (2)As mentioned above, it is Blues night at The Brown Pelican which takes place from 7-9 pm. The Brown Pelican is a private club. Stop in and become a member for $1.00 and enjoy free live music all year throughout the week. Music kicks off tonight with a blues jam that will take you to Chicago, by way of New York all while stationed here in NC. Come dance the Monday blues away today!


Around the Region

Carolina Ale House (Jacksonville, NC)

Also offering an acoustic performance to diners each week in Jacksonville is Nick and Dean. This Lenoir County Duo have shared music for years and come together each week for an acoustic night of jams at Carolina Ale House. Nick makes music with Mason Jar Bonfire and Dean Daughtry and fronts his own band the Troublemakers. Music starts at 7 pm on the patio.


Tuesday Temptations

Honky Tonk Tuesday


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! This night is hosted by Mike Watkins and Charlie Duzan.


Crystal Coast Option


Each Tuesday Tiffany Elaine is hosting an open mic event near the beach. Tomorrow she will be hosting the weekly offering at the KBar which is at Brandywine Bay Golf Club located in Morehead City. This venue is open to the public and is offering live entertainment every other Tuesday and on some Saturday nights. They serve beer and wine and offer a full menu of great food. Pack up the gear and stop out tonight. All are welcome from 7-10 pm.


Around The Region


Summer Concert Series: Latin Groove

Join the Onslow Winds Jazz Ensemble for a performance of  Latin Grooves at the Jacksonville Amphitheater in Commons Park. Music plays from 7-8 pm for this Summer Concert Series.


Clayton, NC

Free Wine Tasting and Live Music Every Tuesday

Join us every Tuesday as we explore wines from around the world and enjoy the music of our local musicians at Wine on Main. These events are hosted from 5-7 pm.


Raleigh, NC

The Pour House Music Hall


Americana, Folk and Bluegrass blended in a natural and beautiful way that is extremely easy to fall in love with.

National Park Radio is a new modern folk band born and based in the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. An all-acoustic band featuring well-written original songs and beautiful vocals, NPR has a unique sound that is easy to love. This self-titled EP debut contains five songs inspired by the beauty of their native landscape as well as the joys and trials of life and love. The lyrical poetry of lead singer and songwriter Stefan Szabo is a treasure not to be missed. The melodies and vocal harmonies complete the package. National Park Radio is a band on the rise…catch them at a show near you soon!


Beer & Banjos

This Tuesday for Beer and Banjos it is Dane Page for your entertainment.

Page is a singer-songwriter living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Influenced by the traditions of Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie, his music reflects the complexities of modern life while keeping true to the simple tenets of songwriting. Dane’s lyrics weave listeners through Greek mythology, 20th Century literature, and American history while telling stories of love, loss, happiness, and pain. His music pulls from contemporary folk artists like Josh Ritter and Gregory Alan Isakov, but also ventures into sounds reminiscent of The War on Drugs and Tame Impala.

Beer and banjos is a weekly feature at Raleigh Times Bar. Live music is offered at 7:30-10 pm tonight.


Imurj – The Artists’ Cafe

Raleigh’s wide-open no-holds-barred, no-styles-imposed musician’s hang, held at a legitimate music venue, this open jam assembles groups of musicians who may or may not know each other on the stage at Imurj and lets them come up with fifteen minutes of improvised music on the spot. This regular Tuesday night event is a fertile place for creative musicians of all styles and skill levels to meet people, let off steam, try new ideas, or catch up with friends.

The Local Jam is hosted by a new local house band each month to keep things fresh and allow for new styles.

A full backline is provided including the best-sounding house drum kit in town, bass amp, two guitar amps, keys, and mics and DIs, the jam is ready for almost any instrument you can throw at us. There’s no better way to improve your onstage confidence than by playing on stage, so come play with us!

Grab a beer or a soda and experience the creative process!

The event is FREE & welcomes all ages and we go until 1 am!

No judgment, no pressure, no boundaries.


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!

MidWeek Open Mic Night at The Garage

Tommy Duzan invites all players to join him for a night of music-making fun at The Garage in James City. This open mic is open to all skill levels and talents. Come show us what you have, New Bern. Music starts at 7 pm. All are welcome to attend.


Around the Region

Raleigh, NC

Brass Lightning w/ Ctrl Alt Del Band at The Pour House


Brass Lightning
A horn section that will keep you moving in the right direction! Hailing from New Orleans, this unique quintet –three horns, bass, and drums– delivers sonically rich and energetic performances, guaranteed to get your soul and booty working together in perfect harmony.

Ctrl Alt Del Band
If the squeal of a modem is music to your ears, then Ctrl-Alt-Del is the band you’ve been looking for! This power trio cut the cord and found solace in pitch shifting and metronomic syncopation. When your ears’ operating system is on the fritz, Ctrl-Alt-Del will reboot what you thought you knew about music.

Tickets for this event are $10 for a single or $7.50 if you buy two or more and tickets are available here: TICKETS


Thursday Thrillers


Captain Ratty’s Seafood & Steakhouse

Captain Ratty’s Seafood & Steakhouse will offer live music upstairs in the piano bar. This week the offer Chuck Phillips. Music is offered 6:30-9 pm and dinners are always delicious.


City Stage New Bern

Alisa Mike hosts a night of music each Thursday evening 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.


Persimmons Restaurant

Live music under the sails will be brought to us by Cigar Box Jesus and the Revelation shares the sounds with diners from 7:30-9:30 pm.


The Brown Pelican

Charlie Duzan will host open mic night at The Brown Pelican this week. Open mic happens 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! Pack up the gear bag and come on out!


Along the Coast

Morehead City, NC

Riptidez bar & grill MHC

IMG_4615 (2).JPG

Live music and good food are all being served this evening at Riptidez bar & grill MHC,  with the fresh catch coming out of the kitchen, and one of NC’s best stringers and singers will be rocking the mic from 8 pm until midnight


Atlantic Beach, NC

Steel Shot Live


The Sounds Like Summer In The Park features the sounds of Steel Shot. The Pamlico County duo will be rocking the Atlantic Beach Town Park located at 915 West Fort Macon Rd. Music is offered from 7-9 pm. They say you can bring a pop-up chair or blanket. But ask you to leave the coolers at home.  The concession stand will be open and selling fresh kettle corn, drinks, candy & ice cream! This is the last show of the series.


Emerald Isle, NC


There is a weekly concert series EMERALDFEST 2019 that has been going down since the middle of June. Sponsored by Buy The Beach Realty, they still have several shows all taking place at  Western Regional Beach Access with shows starting at 6:30 pm. All of the bands on the schedule are local talented stars that have been making a name for themselves for quite a while.

July 25 4EverAll & Friends
August 1 Big Drink Music Company
August 8 Pure T Mommicked
August 15 Naked Knees

Be sure to stop by the sponsor tent and say thanks for their support in bringing the live music. Your gratitude and appreciation do not go unnoticed by the organizers.


Swansboro, NC

Bake, Bottle & Brew

66703996_2185572331734465_876806617016827904_n.jpgThe RV Road Show will be taking a trip to Swansboro to play on the beautiful waterfront at Bake, Bottle and Brew on August 1st from 6-9 PM! Awesome atmosphere and a great view!


Wilmington, NC

The Sailfish


8/1 – Selah Dubb
8/8 – Justin Cody Foxx
8/15 – Dos Eddies
8/22 – Crystal Fussell
8/29 – Desperado Duo
9/5 – Access 29
9/12 – Cross Creek Band
9/19 – The Casserole
9/26 – Signal Fire Acoustic


Rocking Around the Region

Burgaw, NC

Summer On The Square Concert Series


Head out to the Pender County Courthouse Square for the Summer on the Square Concert Series. The show will feature The British Invaders. Come here all your favorite tunes from the Beatles, The Rollin’ Stones, the Who and more! Concerts are free! Food trucks will be on site. Alcohol is not allowed and pets are not permitted for their safety.


Garner, NC

Locked & Loaded Bar & Grill


Nathan Wayne brings some #realcountry to Locked & Loaded for Jeep Night! Music is offered at 6-9 pm.


Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music


Come out tonight to celebrate Lorraine Jordan’s Birthday the ticket includes your meal & cake and your entertainment throughout the night. Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music offers live music tonight from 7:30-9:30 pm.


Raleigh, NC

Brio Tuscan Grille (Crabtree)


We are kicking off live music at Brio every Thursday with Jared Place on August 1st at 5:30 PM! Get here early to catch our happy hour specials and enjoy some great food and drink specials! Join us every Thursday at 5:30 for different musicians and some popular favoritesacts from the area!


Bahama Breeze Island Grille (Raleigh, NC)


Mike Davis performing his popular solo act of Rockabilly, R&B, Blues, Reggae, Americana, Celtic Rock, Old-Time Rock & Roll at Bahama Breeze Island Grille (Raleigh, NC) from 6-9 pm.


Midtown Grille NC


Midtown Jazz Series: Gary Brunotte Jazz Duo is what you can expect this Thursday with music playing from 8-11 pm.

Kinston, NC


Pride of Kinston will offer the music of Liquid Pleasure for Sumerfest on August 1, 2019. Music Plays from 7-9 pm. Here are more details from the FB Event:


After more than two decades of bringing audiences to their feet the band, Liquid Pleasure has become a multi-cultural icon. The band has been paired with greats like Chuck Berry, Eddie Floyd, Ben E. King, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston.


Since 2004, Pride of Kinston has held a summer concert series that has entertained thousands in beautiful Pearson Park. When the new executive director, Leon Steele, assumed his new role, this concert series, Sand in the Streets, was rebranded to Kinston Summerfest.

Kinston, NC Summerfest continues to showcase a diverse selection of the finest talents from North Carolina. Get ready for beach, boogie, and blues!

Summerfest brings people downtown

Kinston Summerfest is Eastern North Carolina’s hippest free outdoor music festival! This concert series is part of Pride of Kinston’s economic package to revitalize our historic downtown. Kinston Summerfest attracts thousands of people from Eastern North Carolina to shop and dine in our walk-friendly historic commercial district.

Pearson Park, the site of Kinston Summerfest, is a block away from nationally-recognized restaurants, bars, shops, and boutique hotels. Kinston Summerfest is great for people to relax and socialize in the evening. Bring the kids to enjoy the new Pearson Park playground!


Washington, NC

Backwater Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill


Joe Shingara Music hosts open mic tonight at Backwater Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill with music being shared from 6:30 – 9 pm. All are welcome to attend.


Thank You for Reading!


Tonight’s blog is made possible thanks to the donation and kindness of Ken Byrd. 

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!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Have a great week ahead and enjoy the dance! When we return at the end of the week we will pick up with the blues and meet new rockers too. Until we meet again, out on the scene or here on Friday, cheers!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Your Support is Important! Please consider making a donation today!

I accept many forms of payment!

Google Pay which can be sent to my email at

Apple Pay which can be sent to my phone 318-789-6929

I also accept PayPal

Every dollar makes a difference in keeping me and my old girl (414,602 miles) on the road!

All donors are added to the Thank you Page.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

To Advertise Here Call






Leave a Reply