Time to Dance and Swing Through the Week with Rockers and Shakers

Music Makes Monday More Memorable

Sunset on the way to Greenville, from New Bern 1/18/21

We are rather blessed here in the down east North Carolina. We have some amazing sunrises and sunsets. Often they are breathtaking. Sometimes you will catch one just right along the journey, one that is worthy of the time spent stopping for reflection on a day, a prayer for the path ahead, a moment of thanks and course, to shoot and capture the memory. God Bless America, Always! This is the land I love. Welcome to another week of music news.

Though I mentioned being out at AJ McMurphys last week in the article, I never did cover those that appeared live to help move us through another week more inspired and happy.

Monday Night’s Rhythm and Grooves host John Williams

With that being said, we will pick up with last Monday’s Rhythm & Grooves stars and mix in some of the highlights from this Monday’s offerings as well.

When we arrived last week Mike McCraw (Above) was sharing songs, first flying solo, then with the accompaniment of guitar coach Frank Jones (Below).

McCraw is a New Jersey native like myself and calls Greenville his home. He has been playing guitar for decades and this week he offered a song written by an old neighbor he had in the 90s. It was a crazy cool instrumental, that made me think of the music of guitar great Steve Morse actually.

When I asked him about the song, McCraw told me about the composer. He said, “His name was Robertson Scott, though he went by “Bob“. It’s funny, though I knew him when he lived in Greenville on Summit Street, but his family was from New Bern.”

“Bob started to put together a CD in 1996 called Robertson’s Good Rare Wine, and used my playing on some of the tracks,” McCraw said. I learned his friend Bob passed away in 1997. Being moved by his life and spirit, McCraw told me, “One day I intend to publish Bob’s story. I have begun the process with several versions of the song. The story is called “Roberson’s Good Rare Wine,” after the album.

Turning our attention back to Jones, this player is a well known guitar scholar and offers lessons at Guitars Unlimited on Arlington Blvd. AKA Deacon Jones, he is happy to assist anyone, but caters to those learning the craft of making music.

Frank Jones 252-756-4808

Jones would appear with several players this week and last, even some that he mentors and educates. The second one to come up to share the stage with Jones last week, was the guitarist we met at Nauti Dogs Brewery just few weeks ago, Mark Oliver.

Interestingly enough, January 18, was a special night for the teacher and the student, as it marked one year ago that Oliver signed up to take lessons from Jones. They offered several familiar jams to celebrate the growth that has transpired in the past 12 months.

Also making his way to the stage with several guests was the young and talented Will Stovall. Stovall jams with his father Bill for a few tunes most weeks, though this week he sat out. He also performs with his gal Taylor Rouse during these open mic events. It’s always a pleasure to listen to these jams.

New Bern friends will have the pleasure of hearing these players at Harbour Pointe Grille next month. They are scheduled to perform 6-9 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

Next up we heard from Bobby McRorie, a local music maker and car salesman from around town, Greenville. For anyone in the market for a Jeep this is the singing salesman you want to see.

This was the first time I caught the guitar man and enjoyed the songs he offered! Sadly, I did not have a chance to speak with him, but I hope to learn more about this player soon.

Next up was last week’s feature band OG Merge. For those that missed it this two piece started out as a trio in 2012, but with in six months the band would be comprised of Tyrell Speight with his baritone vocals, and Mike Meeks with the guitar and support vocals. For a duo with only couple of voices and a guitar, they are very energetic and fresh music makers. They offer original vibes that merge many genres with each song selection.

I felt I did a good job of introducing you to Meeks last week and came back this week to tell you more about Speight. These two brothers in music have known each other since school days, but they never really hung out until that open mic in 2012, years after they graduated. Once they came together with music, it was a bond that would tie them together for an amazing journey.

Music and singing is as much a part of Speight, as the hair on his head. He used the recent Covid-19 break from live performances to write more and mostly contemplate life. Speight gets his inspiration from real life experiences mostly.

More than a song writer, he told me that he has been writing poetry for as long as he can remember. However it wasn’t until about 2007 that he considered putting his poems to the music. He explains that all happened when he visited his older sister Stephanie. “Her boyfriend at the time had friends over and they were doing a little recording and the opportunity came up to try out the equipment. I believe that was my introduction to put in poetry to music.”

In talking to Speight, it becomes clear that family has been important to this artist’s development. I say this because he also told me about his other sister Patricia, who took the time to shop his material to different labels.

Besides the collaboration efforts of OG Merge, much like Meeks, Speight is taking his solo career more seriously these days as well. It was near the end of last year that he finally booked time in a local studio. He is currently working on a new project with Caleb Kelly at Media Majors. He is hoping to have new music ready to release later this year for fans, but until that comes our way fans and friends can check Speight’s first solo EP on Spotify by clicking here: Just Rell ~ For My Lady. Released about two years ago this Ep offers four fresh songs by the talented singer.

Looking ahead, OG Merge is scheduled to perform at Molly’s Community Cafe on Saturday, February 13, 2021. Mark your calendars for dinner and live music from 6-9 pm.

Closing out last week’s Rhythm & Grooves session was another duet. This one featured Tony Soldati, offering the guitar grooves and his friend Bethany Manning sang. These two share a love for music and have a history in making it together. They have been known for jamming on the western side of the state around Asheville and now they have officially been spotted around the Down East region too.

Boomerang Brings the Hits To Harbour Pointe

Boomerang is a fun duo featuring Tom Caruso and Mike Flynn. Both entertainers sing and play the guitar to back tracks. They make for a great dinner duet, as their show reminds me of an 80s lounge act. They are lots of fun for anyplace wishing to offer dining and dancing.

I caught up with this pair of players on their return visit to Harbour Pointe Grille, last Thursday evening. They drew a good crowd and there were even a few solid gold dancers in the crowd. For those that missed this good time, mark your calendars for April 1, no fooling, and come out to enjoy a great meal and dancing with your date.

We Wind Up in Washington for the Week’s End

On Friday evening we took a jaunt north and wound up in Washington to kick off our weekend. In our time around town we stopped by two great places along the waterfront.

Lil Washington is of my favorite towns to visit in the region. I love the many river cities found in North Carolina. I am blessed and lucky enough to call one home. In fact New Bern and Washington have a similar vibe. Both river cities offer a waterfront walk, fine dining options, boutiques and a shared love for the arts and support for live music.

For our first stop Mary Shine, Jaymi Mitchell and myself checked in with Phil McLean live at Parley’s Sip & Steam, located on the waterfront at 132 E. Water St.

McLean and I have been Facebook friends for years, but on Friday night we met for the first time. This singer and stringer was trying out a new pedal and enjoying the many effects it lends to his show.

When I reached out to McLean earlier this week on messenger, I asked him about his music history.

He said “I first
discovered my love for music as a kid in church in Salter Path,” he explains, “My Mom and Aunts sang in the choir and I loved watching my Uncles and cousins kill it on their designated instruments. When church was over we’d eat then all go sit on the porch and play some-more. I’d go around to hear each of them sing every harmony known to man. “I can’t remember a time in my life without music in it and can’t imagine what life would be without it.” As for his own expression through music, he says, “I picked up the guitar around 10 yrs old and fell in love with it.”

He also mentioned, “My Mom and I moved around a lot when I was a kid, from Greenville to Greensboro. I found that no matter where I was, I sought to find friends in musicians.
I find that we have a special connection with one another. After High School I moved back to Greenville and joined the band called Crosstown. We lived in the same house downtown G-ville and played in small clubs for a couple years around ENC.”

McLean moved away for about a decade after the band days in 2005 and went on to say, “I moved back to G-ville 2015 and decided too, that I’d give this music thing a shot again and had done fairly well til the pandemic hit.”

Now that music is making a come back, McLean wants bar and restaurant owners to know he is ready, willing and available to work for them. So if you are looking for a solo act that plays to your people, contact McLean today. The last gig he has on the books is coming up on Friday, with his buddy Rob Legere. More details on that are found below, in the weekly list of live music options.

When I asked McLean to describe his show for interested club owners and music fans he said, “I’d say that I like to try to please everyone in the room. I don’t stick to one genre or era, and truly love to play all types of music from rock to country, to pop and R&B.”

One of the final questions I asked this entertainer was, what advice he would give to his younger self and his reply was, “Stay in college.” Lucky for him, it’s never too late to return!

With regard to Parley’s Sip & Steam, this is a wonderfully cozy place to enjoy some fine food or just relax with a cocktail and walk the plank. That’s an option if you just want to nibble and nosh. It’s a separate menu that you fill out. It has many delectable options, like a block of brie, some feta and olives or on the flip side there is a variety of chips and dips too.

This establishment has two rooms, both have a bar and one is more intimate than the other. There is a nice outside area in the front as well. They have an attentive staff that make you feel welcome. Their menus are in plastic coated binders, with pages in plastic protection sleeves. This makes it easy for the staff to clean so to keep people safe during these Covid days. They offer amazing weekly specials and support live music. Be sure to stop out this weekend and show them some love soon. Tell them you read about them here!

Ribeye’s on the River with Music

For our second stop on Friday night, we checked out the happenings in the back bar at Ribeye’s Steakhouse.

This establishment is owned and operated by Justin Pate, who is an avid live music supporter. That’s a tough thing to do during these pandemic days. Currently he is not really booking dates out too far, given the many restrictions and changing rules.

As for our visit on Friday, we caught the last set of an acoustic version of Mason Jar Bonfire. This show featured the bands lead guitarist and sweet harmony maker Nick Jarman, and the band’s new fronting vocalist Hiott Walker.

They offered many great and popular country tunes to the audience gathered in the bar area.

Next time we will have to stop earlier and enjoy a meal. It’s been a long time since we had a Ribeyes here in New Bern.

Hand and acoustic guitar of Shawn Mitchell

This coming Friday, you can find Shawn Mitchell offering up the dinner grooves from 6-9 pm. On Saturday the bar area will be hosting a private evening, but be sure to stop by the restaurant for dinner.

Bouncing Around Bear City on A Saturday Night

Brian Burke Brings the Good Vibes to The Garage

Interestingly enough, I would first see our next entertainer Brian Burke, at a bar/restaurant in Beaufort County many years ago. I would speak with him for the first time later that year in the town of Beaufort. Since then, I have seen him many times on the scene.

Last week I caught the talented stringer, best know as Back Pocket Buddha, here in town. On Saturday night he was rocking The Garage with his infectious music vibes. Burke is an upbeat spirit and that is felt in his musical expressions.

A sample of Back Pocket Buddha in action with his version of some Bob Marley’s works.

The hard working dad, spends his weekdays at work and enjoys performing on the weekends. The virus offered the singer/songwriter more family time. He mentioned a few weeks ago that the kids are glad that he is getting back to his weekend routine of playing. Apparently, being home all the time cramped the kids’ style!

For those looking to keep up with Burke, be sure to like his music page on Facebook. That link is added above.

Over the Bridge We Meet Chris Overstreet

Hailing from Raleigh, Chris Overstreet is a one man band on a mission. His mission is to always to entertain the crowd before him. The busy solo act was playing as many as 330 shows a year before Covid came calling last year.

After catching his fun show at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar last Saturday, I reached out to the entertainer via email. In his introductory reply he said, “I’m a full-time musician that’s been playing guitar and piano for 25 years now. I started playing professionally in 2007 as an experiment, to see if I could make enough to sustain myself.”

This stringer is a life long North Carolina resident. He currently lives in Raleigh and moved there from Winston Salem in about 1996.

Overstreet explained, “Once in Raleigh I co-founded a band and we did OK,” he says, “However, I realized that bands were not the way I wanted to go. Bands have limited utility. Most bands don’t play every day. Bands split the money. Bands have scheduling conflicts. Overall bands are more work for less money. I wanted to be able to look at one schedule, mine, and decide if I could do the show. I did not want to contact 4 people and always have to finagle 4 schedules around their pets, kids, prior engagements, etc. It makes booking a ton simpler when you’re solo.”

As for booking with Overstreet, he said “I prefer to do my own booking when possible, because of fees and to keep it simple. That said, I do outsource my available bookings after I have done all I can to fill them on my own. I can be contacted for booking at: Bandclassdropout@gmail.com”.

For his uncommitted dates he works with Rocket Booking Agency and Jazz Entertainment both in Raleigh.

When ask about the two business approaches Overstreet explain, “There are no contracts when I book. If I club cancels, I’m out of that show for the night. If there’s enough notice I can usually re-book. If a show cancels from an agency booked show, I am covered for full pay. In any case, there are no signed contracts and no agency HAS to pay me for a cancellation. They just do because of the relationship that we have built over the years.”

On the subject of being a one man traveling band Overstreet said, “When I started doing this full-time, I never really wanted to be a touring musician. I just thought to myself what if I could be local? The money is basically the same no matter where you play so why not stay put? Remove all the travel expenses. Just be one of the musicians that Raleigh calls when they need a show. It made sense to me, so that’s what I did. 14 years later still thriving in Raleigh and haven’t worked a day in all that time! And the rest is history.”

As for finding his way to New Bern, he said, “My first show in Morehead was last year at Jack’s Waterfront, that show was booked without an agency. John Morgan, Manager at Tap That, saw that show and booked me at Tap That New Bern.”

I asked the artist if he has any original works and he did say, “I do write my own music and play it on request.”

As for upcoming gigs in the down east region, Overstreet recently re-booked a date at Catch 109 in Morehead for Friday, February 26, 2021. He will also return to Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar in New Bern on Saturday, March 27, 2021. At press time music is being offered 6-9 pm at most establishments, but that is subject to change on a moments notice, so be sure to check with the venue before going.

Music Options for the Days Ahead

Each week I spend time searching for live music events on Facebook. Here is what my search turned up this week, in the hopes of keeping you entertained.

Getting Down Around Town~ New Bern, NC

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Brian Mac delivers the dinner music tonight at Harbour Pointe Grille, 1105 Barkentine Dr., New Bern, NC. Music is offered from 6-9 pm.


Big Jim & Kathy Kohler

Big Jim and Kathy Kohler appear live at Prohabition Dessert and Drinks, 243 Craven St. Live music is offered 6-9 pm.


Friday, January 29, 2021

The talented, Tan Sanders will offer the sounds from his soul on Friday at BrÜtopia, 1201 Highway 70 E, New Bern, NC. Tunes will be shared from 6-9 pm.


Arson Daily returns to New Bern this Friday. You can rock with them when they hit the stage at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 901 Pollock St, New Bern, NC. Music plays from 6:30 – 9:30 pm.


Adrian Watts brings his band TrainWreck back to town to groove you this Friday on the deck at Blackbeard’s Triple Play, 415 S Front st. Music is offered 5:30-9:30 pm.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Spare Change will bring all the popular hits for rocking the deck on Saturday behind Blackbeard’s Triple Play, 415 S. Front St., New Bern, NC. This fun party band plays all the popular hits and loves interacting with the crowd. The music starts at 5:30 pm.


The Dust Parade returns to New Bern with their jazzy surf jams this Saturday, on stage at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 901 Pollock St., New Bern. The music starts at 6:30 pm.


Jason Addams, The Mad Fiddler, returns to The Garage, 1209 Highway 70, New Bern, NC, this Saturday, pouring the sounds from 6-9 pm.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar offers an open stage to players, poets, singers, and more each Sunday from 6-9 pm. Hosted by Sam Lewis, this open mic is open to all levels and all are welcome to join in the fun.

Rocking Around the Region

Thursday, January 28, 2021

It’s Date Night on Evans St in Greenville tonight. Live music will be offered by the talented Quincy Jones

For those interested, Molly’s Community Café offers a wonderful dinner date experience for $25 per person every Thursday. The price includes a starter, an entrée, dessert, wine and music. To reserve a spot call ahead.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Ponytail brothers in music Phil McLean & Rob Legere will provide the dinner sounds at Parley’s Sip & Steam, 132 E Water St., Washington, NC. Music will be offered 6-9 pm.


Mac n Friends provide the live music this Friday night at Captain Cooks. Music is served 6-9 pm.


Nick & Dean Acoustic Duo will provide the music this Friday at AJ McMurphy’s, 1914 Turnbury Dr., Greenville. Music is offered 6-9 pm. Come hungry, and fill up while enjoying some country sounds.


Live music at Molly’s Community Café this Friday will feature a few local stingers. Come out and enjoy music offered by John Williams, Maddy Eakes and Kay Street Station with Joe Shingara and Sam Weatherly. Music is offered from 6-9 pm.


Rebel’s Fox Duo will rock Scooters Bar & Grill this Friday night with music being served from 5-9 pm.


For those looking for music around Greensboro, you can check out Second Glance Band live this Friday at Craft City Sip-in. Music will be offered from 6:30-9:30 pm

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Rocker Adam Hill has two early gigs in Goldsboro this weekend. He provides the weekend brunch groves for those that come to The Flying Shamrock ☘️ for brunch either Saturday or Sunday. Music and fine food are available from 11 am- 3 pm.


John Williams will provide the dinner music for the diners this Saturday evening at Captain Cooks, Washington, NC. Enjoy the sounds served from 6:30-9:30 pm.


This Saturday evening you can enjoy a nice evening at Parley’s Sip & Steam, with music offered by local singer David Blount. Music will be offered 6-9 pm.


RetroVinyl will perform live at Baxter’s Tavern, Greensboro, NC this Saturday. Music is offered from 6:30-9:30 pm.

Sunday, January, 31, 2021

Adam Hill returns to The Flying Shamrock, 115 N John St. , Goldsboro, NC; for another brunch show this Sunday. He starts serving the sounds at 11 am and rocks til 3 pm.


Bob Walker aka “Island Bob” serves up the sounds this Sunday on the Waterfront in downtown Washington. Stop by Parley’s Sip & Steam for lunch. Walker will offer familiar classic rock and beach music from 12-3 pm for brunch. Come and enjoy the breeze, the view, the music and the good eats.

Cruising the Coast

FridayJanuary 29, 2021

Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen w/ Surf Shack Food Truck are scheduled for this Friday. This band offers a good mix of popular beach songs and many awesome originals. Bogue Sound Distillery hosts the event will offer the spirits. All of this tomorrow from 6-9 pm.


Logan Joyner Live @ Stoked Restaurant, 313 Canal St, Carolina Beach, NC this Friday, January 29th with music being served from 6:30pm-9:30pm.


Ryan Cain will pour out the sounds of his soul this Friday at The Growler Bar, Emerald Isle location. He serves the music from 6:30-9:30 pm.


The Dust Parade will be in the garden to kick things off this weekend. You can enjoy music, shopping and some good eats this Friday at Carolina Home & Garden. Come out and enjoy the jazzy surf grooves of this original band based in Wilmington, NC.


Gravitation, a fun acoustic duo will perform this Friday at Riptidez Bar & Grill in Morehead City. Music is served from 6-9 pm to accompany the dinner crowd.


There is live music outside every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at Boro Restaurant in Swansboro. This weekend you can enjoy town favorite Justin Castellano live Friday and Saturday 6-9 pm.

Saturday, January 31, 2021

Dress for Prom! Heart Stop will be rocking the Black and White Prom Party at Rookies Bar & Grill! Party starts at 5:30pm!

Tickets are $60, and include food, pictures, and Heart Stop!


Live music will be offered by Brittany Davis this Saturday evening at Bogue Sound Distillery. Serving up the delicious food will be New Bern’s own Mari’s Hella Fat Food Truck. Music plays from 6-9 pm.


Jack’s Waterfront Bar offers live music each Saturday evening. This weekend you can enjoy the country grooves of the Mikele Buck Trio. Sounds are served in three sets from 5:30-9:30 pm.


Randy Olglesbee provides the dinner grooves this Saturday evening at Stoked Restaurant. Come eat and groove from 6:30-9:30 pm.


There will be live music this Saturday at The Crooked Lotus. Come out and enjoy the music of Wes & Beth, playing tunes from 6-9 pm.

Thanks for Reading!

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: Susan Baugham

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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