On Sunday evening I was offered a great treat, when David Russell brought his Port City Blues Band to the Bern. This big band blues outfit hails from Wilmington, NC and are fine examples of young players keeping the blues alive. Nothing delights me more than to hear younger blues players offering authentic takes on our nation’s historic music and offering it to the world for the delight of new audiences.
Russell has been playing guitar for the past 8 years and has been a blues enthusiast since hearing BB King, when he was a boy child about 8 years old. Currently the band is keeping very busy in their stomping grounds of the Port City Wilmington, NC, but look forward to branching out. They are seeking opportunities to the west in our own state and south, like Georgia, and South Carolina. They would happily travel north too, as they did last week.
This is a show stopping festival band. They offer a great mix of authentic blues standards and original music, that feels heavy in the history of the blues. When they came to town at the end of last week, there were six players, all tight and on the money. Russell goes out with as many as seven players and always has a great rotation of ace players ready to roll. He says when you are interested in keeping the band full, you have to work with a rotation of players when you are working with so many people’s schedules.
To check out the band and to keep up with where they are playing, find them on Facebook by clicking here:
The appreciation for the blues runs long and deep my soul. I may never get over my love for this music, as it has the greatest effect on my spirit. Along the way I have made some great friends on the blues circuit. A couple of my long time blues brothers from Pa, came to town to visit just last night and I got to enjoy their show at The Blue Note Grill in Durham, NC.
Live on stage for another show stopping set of guitar driven blues, was the Skyla Burrell Blues Band, with special guest and long time friend from up the North, TA James, who now calls NC home, much like myself. It was an awesome night of bonding souls with music. I knew it would be worth the mid-week journey! This four piece blues outfit offers lots of stinging guitar leads, with chops that swap between lovers on stage and off. Skyla Burrell and Mark Tomlinson put on a fiery show of guitar greatness. On bass is the steady hands of Charlie Hilbert and behind the kit from MD is Ezell Jones.
I met Tomlinson and Hilbert nearly 25 years ago when they played with another guitarist out of PA. Back in 1994 when we met they, were The Blues Mission. So of course I made it my mission to check in with my old sweet friends. It is always refreshing to see their friendship is still holding true and steady and still on a blues mission…and one like never before. Currently they are traveling south to offer a sizzling show to the lucky listeners in Florida this weekend and hitting Georgia on the way back North!
Do yourself a favor and check out this rockin blues outfit. Should you get the chance, they are worth seeing live! I promise they will send you out with a boogie in your step!
Here is a the information on their brief southern trekk:
To buy and download their release Blues Scars visit the website at
Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC, offers an open mic night with Riyen Roots hosting the event. All are welcome to come groove and jam. This is an early jam with music playing from 6:30 til 9 pm.
Open Mic with Country Dan Collins takes place each week at Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall, 5455 Bethania Rd, Winston-Salem, NC. All musicians/singers, songwriters are welcome! Plug and Play (no drum kits – boxes ok) Come early to assure a slot! See Country Dan to sign up!
Do you want to showcase your musical talents in front of a live audience? Come hang out with us at Open Mic Night at Blue Blaze Brewing, 528 S Turner Ave. Charlotte, North Carolina! We are providing all PA equipment, cables, and vocal mics for you to use. Just bring your instrument of choice, yourself and that’s it! Enjoy music and craft beer with us every Thursday 6-9 pm!
The Junction will be hosting fellow groovy jammers The Gooseberry Jam, for a night of good time southern fun. You don’t wanna miss out on their first appearance at BBJ’s (Blue Bourbon Jacks), 1310 N. Main Street, High Point, North Carolina 27262. Come support local music and get twisted! This weekly jam starts at 10 pm with music til 1 am.
Rob Alford’s Open Mic Night Invitational takes place each Thursday evening at Ace’s Ale House 3710 B Peppermill Drive, Wilson, North Carolina. Here is how it works:
From 8pm-11pm, musicians will perform, collaborate and entertain. Every performer’s name will be put in a pot for the chance to win their choice of multiple instruments. Please make sure to come in and sign up to entertain us at 8:00. Rob Alford will be choosing a winner at 11:00.
Sing Solo? Play in a Band? Write Poetry? Do All three? Come display your melting pot of talents at the ultimate open mic experience, Art in Motion…Each and every Thursday! Reserve your spot today! The fun starts at 9 pm.
Motion Lounge & Bar
1604 N Market Dr, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Acoustic / Electric Open Mic / Open Jam every Thursday night. Drum kit will be set up so come solo or bring the band! We want to hear you! Bring some friends and enjoy our dance floor and good food. Hope to see you there! Korner Pocket Sports Bar and Grille,
8508 Capital Blvd. Raleigh, NC. This jam starts at 8 pm and they last til 11 pm. Come early to get your slot saved.
Come Out & Play!
Our weekly Open Mic is for local musicians to showcase their talent on the Imurj Main Stage. Hosted by Brian Jones. Signups start at 7:30PM, first come first served.
Perform in front of a live audience on a fully amplified stage! We encourage original music, but covers are also welcome. All genres, styles, & skill levels can sign up to perform. Performance is 2 songs per performer. Imurj fosters a diverse music community that encourages new talent.
Get Your Set Recorded!
For Imurj Open Mic performers:
We are now offering live stereo recordings. For only $15 you can have your set recorded on stage and processed in our studio. EQ, compression, and saturation are applied.
If you are interested in a higher quality mix, you can get your multitrack recording fully mixed and mastered.
Individuals/Small Group Recordings (no drummer): $50/song
Band (incl. drummer) Recordings: $100/song
Let us know if you’re interested when you sign up!
* First time at Imurj? On your first Imurj visit we are required by A.L.E. law to collect $1 for a yearly Membership.
300 S McDowell St, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Leaving things close to home, there is an open mic event each Thursday evening at The Brown Pelican, 411 Broad Street, New Bern, NC. Sign up starts at 7:30 pm with jams starting about 8 pm and keep going til all the players have played. Come out and play today.
Nora Jane Struthers has written “some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists,” says Ann Powers of NPR Music. The songs that last
decades and weave themselves into the fabric of listeners’ lives are usually the ones in which an artist lays her soul bare for the world to hear. Struthers’ new album Champion, due out October 13 on Blue Pig Records, is built on these kinds of songs.
The 13-song collection is the follow-up to 2015’s Wake, which earned Struthers acclaim from major outlets like NPR Music, Rolling Stone Country, and “Fresh Air.” Struthers wrote and recorded the album with her longtime road band the Party Line and the chemistry between her and the other players is palpable.
There’s an honesty and energy to Nora Jane’s stage presence; a vulnerability that is part and parcel of great artistry. In one moment, she joyfully leads the audience in a dance party … in the next, she lays her soul bare for the world to hear. A performance by Nora Jane and her band is full to the brim with stellar musicianship, unexpected arrangements that blur the lines between folk, roots, and rock, and an audible sense that everyone in the room is having a damn good time.
Come enjoy this artist tonight live at Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC. Show starts at 8:30 pm and music plays til 11 pm. Tickets are $12.00.
Antigone Rising will be coming this way out of NYC and will be rocking the folks lucky enough to be on hand, at Muddy Creek Music Hall 5455 Bethania Rd, Winston-Salem, NC. Music starts at 8 pm and this is a good time boot scooting alternative country band that will rock your socks off, as two-step through the night!
Check things out along the coast, I found some bluegrass taking place at Burnt Mill Creek Billiards & Wine Bar, 2101 Market St Unit 7, Wilmington, NC. Tonight they welcome Folkstone Stringband live from 7-10 pm, with Stevie Mack’s International Food Truck on site to serve you.
Delta Dukes at Sour Barn Brewery, 7211 Market St, Wilmington, NC, is a weekly Thursday offering. They offer the blues and soul music from 8-11 pm
Justin Fox has a show tonight from 8-11 pm at Liberty Tavern, 7976 Market St. Wilmington, NC.
Davy Williamson is back in the area and tonight you can hear him live at Swansboro Yacht Club, 126 W Corbett Ave, Swansboro, NC. His show is 6:30 – 9:30 pm and a great choice for dinner and a show!
For those who find themselves around Greenville, stop by Players Retreat,
1631 Pactolus Hwy, Greenville, NC. It is steak night tonight, so this is a fine option for good food and fun music. Offering up the good times with music is Steel Shot. The tunes start at 7 pm and the jams last til 10 pm.
For those looking for live music around town New Bern, be sure to stop out at Circa 1810 Harvey Mansion Restaurant & Bar, 221 S Front St. New Bern NC. Dueling Pianos offer up the good times and fill requests from 7-11 pm, come out and support their efforts.
This Friday marks another milestone in the life of music maker Hank Barbee. Come out and celebrate with this sultry song maker, as he enjoys his birthday on the patio doing what he loves most, sharing his music. He will be in town and getting down from 8-11 pm atCirca 1810 Harvey Mansion Restaurant and Bar, 221 S Front St. New Bern, NC.
This is the final weekend for Aida, The Timeless Love Story, live on stage at New Bern Civic Theater, 414 Pollock St., New Bern, NC. There will be a performance on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm to close out the three-week production.
Live at Thirsty Bruin Craft Beer & Wine Store, 224 Middle St. New Bern, will offer the sounds of the local six string singer Bruce Lynch, live on stage giving up the grooves from 8:00 – 10:30 pm.
Live at The Brown Pelican, 411 Broad St. New Bern, NC,we find more fine local music with the six string offerings of Paul Picard from 7-10 pm. These local music shows that are free…New Bern boasts many of those….feel free to tip the music makers working hard for you! Sometimes those couple of bucks buy batteries, stings, even gas to get home.
Heading across town… Live on stage at Triple Play Restaurant, 111 Williams Rd. New Bern, NC, come out and enjoy the sounds of the rocking local band Smokehouse. They offer a variety of rocking favorites to help you dance into your weekend. There is a music charge that varies at the door and music generally starts about 9 pm.
To throw all in on supporting local beer and music and food, stop out tonight for live music at BrÛtopia, 1201 Highway 70 E New Bern, NC and enjoy the many flavors of beer offered and the flavorful sounds of Justin Castellano from 7-10 pm. On site tonight serving up the food selections will be La Cocina del Coqui Food Truck.
Our first stop in Morehead City offers Wild Honey, the Swansboro based duo that nails it with original music and authentic covers that span from folk to country, blues and back to serious singer-songwriter verses. Catch them live from 8-11 pm at Southern Salt Seafood Company & Waterfront Restaurant, 701 Evans St. Morehead City, NC.
Be sure to come back here on Saturday to hear about New Bern’s own Limited Engagement at SSSC&WR and their stop on this deck Saturday, also from 8-11 pm. For those in need of a dose on New Bern entertainment on Friday…
Live at Jacks Waterfront Bar, 513 Evans St. Morehead City, NC, it is New Bern’s own Zen Pirates, who will be kicking it from 10 pm til 1 am. There is a $10 music cover at the door and the party starts just as soon as YOU get there! So come dance!
Just over the bridge we find David Dixon offering up the sounds at the newly renovated Cru Bar and Wine Store Beaufort Coffee Shop, 120 Turner St. Beaufort, NC. Music plays from 8:30 til 11:30 pm and this show is free.
The always fun and good time grooving Hip Pocket Band, return to SALT 325 Mangrove Dr. Emerald Isle, NC. Here again is another great opportunity to dance the night away near the beach as you enjoy the sounds of NC talent. There is a music charge to get in and the music plays from 10 pm til 1 am.
Just over the bridge, you can enjoy a fine dinner and sultry show with Ed Prophet, offering up the live music during dinner at Boro Restaurant and Bar, 109 N Front St. Swansboro, NC. Prophet plays many songs to make you fall in love with music, your love and the weekend ahead from 6:30 til 9:30 pm
Starting things off in Charlotte for your Friday night options, we find live music at Corkscrew on 5th; 412 W. 5th St. Charlotte, North Carolina. They offer live music each Friday and this week it is the progressive blues rock chops of John T. Woodall Band. Music starts at 9 pm
Live Music w/ Wil McCanless.
Wil McCanless brings his fiddle, banjo, and mandolin to Bottle & Can, 326W Salisbury St. Asheboro, NC, to play a great variety of traditional Irish and folk music. Music plays from 7 til 9:30 pm.
Checking out the scene in Winston-Salem, we find a triple bill of great music at Test Pattern, 701 N Trade St. Winston-Salem, NC.
Music starts at 9 pm
Coming off of a fun time at Fall Ball 17 in LaGrange last weekend, Justin West heads west and give sup what he’s got, to the folks at Johnny n Junes, 2105 Peters Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC. Music starts at 10 pm and boot scootin by 10:10 pm. Come out and dance into your Saturday morning with this talent from Raleigh NC.
Since I was just there last night, let me tell you that tonight at The Blue Note Grill 709 Washington St. Durham, NC; there is a free show going down this Friday night with The Bull City Blues Band. Music plays from 9 -11 pm. And here is what I learned on the Facebook event page:
The Bull City Blues Band were the recent winners of the 2016 Cape Fear Blues Challenge and are previous winners of The Piedmont Blues Society Blues Challenge. The Bull City Blues Band has performed live in support of the notable piedmont blues artist John D. Holman and has performed as opening act or on the same bill with: Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Saffire -Uppity Blues Women, Cephas and Wiggins, Walter Wolfman Washington, Aaron Funderburk and the Rockets and Tyrone Davis.
Semi-Finalists in the 2017 International Blues Challenge, winner of the 2016 The Cape Fear Blues Challenge and a previous winner of The Piedmont Blues Society Blues Challenge.
NOTE: There are no table guarantees in the music hall on Friday nights. Please arrive after 8pm for the 9pm show. Seating is first come/first serve in both the music room and the bar.
My sweet and talented music friends Mac and Juice, who started making a name for themselves nearly a lifetime ago while attending school in Greenville, return to the area to offer the folks at AJ McMurphy’s, 1914 Turnbury Dr. Greenville, NC an acoustic show this Friday night, that will offer familiar jams and groovy originals. Music plays from 9:30 pm til 12:30 am
Leaving it in the county we find some fun going down with the Jazzy 4 Band, as they jam at Pamlico County Heritage Center, 10642 NC 55 Grantsboro, NC, with music from 6:30-8:30 pm…you are invited to jam or just dance.
Checking things out around the rest of the region. I ask my Facebook followers where we can go to hear them play. This is what they said this week
If you have Facebook you can search the many music events happening throughout the state by clicking on:
That is all my news and music that I found for your dancing pleasure. I hope you get out and enjoy the sounds of live music sometime soon. 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! Thanks for keeping me informed!
Please take kindness with you today and hug strangers. Don’t forget that life is short and could end in a moment, so make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Party safely people! We love having you here with us! You rock, so don’t roll the car! Rely on sober friends, call a cab or sign up to Uber around!
Send all of your event invites to me on Facebook, so I know where you are playing in the days ahead. I can be found on Facebook by following this link:
I also read emails daily. You can send those to: