Weekends are Meant for Rocking Good Fun and Fundraising

On The Scene With Tracey Stones


Friday Night Fun

Sam Lewis Serves the Sounds at BrUtopia

Let’s start things out with the local singer Sam Lewis. I have been wanting to hear Sam share songs for nearly three years. On Friday night the moment finally arrived and I enjoyed quite a few fine selections that he offered to friends and fans at BrUtopia. It was a great way to kick off the weekend. Lewis is a New Bern based act, that enjoys offering sounds for the sole purpose of providing pleasure to those around him. I will be sure to share his new dates as they become available.


Big Jim Blues Parked at The Garage

Big Jim Kohler Blues Band stayed very busy this week, sharing the blues all about New Bern. They snuck off to share songs in an Easter Jam last Sunday and returned to town to play Monday at the Brown Pelican, Wednesday at The City Stage, Thursday on stage at the Fairgrounds to welcome Fairgoers, on Friday they rocked the blues for The Garage in James City and when we get around to tomorrow you will hear more about the fundraiser they took part in.

The Garage is the fun new joint in James City that is offering fun for all families. They have a fun arcade, a virtual game field, fine fresh beer on tap, food trucks in the lot and live music on the menu each weekend. If you have never been there be sure to stop out soon. This coming Friday Mark McKenzie will be sharing songs, Shepp Herd will be blowing glass and Ben will be pouring the beer.

The Big Jim Kohler Blues Band has a standing engagement, as he plays the last Friday of each month. Music is offered from 7-10 pm.


Jan Michael Fields Band Brought the Party to Blackbeards

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Jan Fields is a busy and talented singer that gained popularity in the ’80s and ’90s with the well known touring act that rocked the scene as SideWinder. Besides fronting his own project, The Jan Michael Fields Band pictured above, he also rekindled the SideWinder effort and recently stepped into the lead singer position for the reincarnated Jesse Bolt, another famed NC band that gained popularity in the ’70s and ’80s.

Based in North Myrtle Beach, SC, Fields and Co. offer a fun show with a great variety of material to keep things interesting throughout the night. Full running production of lights and sound, these players are all professional and enjoy bringing a show to fans and meeting new friends along the way. This was their second appearance at Blackbeard’s in recent months. I will gladly share the news of when they return. While we await news on their return, get to know them better by checking out their website.

Jan Michael Fields Band

For friends and fans of Sidewinder, that band will come together in June on the 15th for a rocking reunion at The State Theatre in Greenville. To get your tickets early check out this link:  Sidewinder Tickets. Doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 8 pm.


Friday Ends on A Rocking Note in Kinston with Brad Benson

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It’s been about a year an a half since I last saw this next act. Brad Benson was in Kinston with his Rebel Armada Band and they are an intense rock trio with great energy. The talented singer has two projects that keep him busy. Dead Man’s Mail is the other band that features his strong vocals and stealth guitar.

When not sharing the stage with band-mates the singer performs solo as well. He has a solo performance on Tuesday at Tonic Bar & Social Club. Music will be offered from 7-9 pm. On Saturday the 4th he reunites with Rebel Armada to unload on Locked & Loaded Grill in Garner, NC. Music starts at 10 pm.  The following Saturday the guys come to Winterville and rock Tie Breakers. That will be Saturday, May 11, 2019, at 10 pm.

To get to know this awesome artist, intense with talent, find his website by clicking on his name:

Brad Benson



Saturday Night Delights

Sara’s Big Apple Serving Sounds for Supper

I started Saturday night in the back room of Sara’s Big Apple, where dinner was being served to my friends and neighbors and Charlie Duzan was shredding the notes for those in earshot of his fun music. Duzan spent a good couple of decades thinking about playing out and today he is enjoying more time sharing songs in the town he knows and loves.  Sometimes the crooner teams up with his young son Tommy, and other times the duo keeps busy on the solo sides of life.

You can find Duzan sharing songs most nights at The Brown Pelican, he is also known to jam on the street and accepts any obligation which is offered. To find him, seek him out on Facebook today. Charlie Duzan



Big Jim Blues Band Offers Blues for Hurrican Relief at the Bruin


All Hands and All Heart- Smart Response hosted a Fundraiser for Hurricane Relief at The Bruin Craft Beer and Wine Store on Middle Street last night. The team of volunteers gathered to auction off goods and accept donations from the community to help the community from 5-9 pm. In the midst of that good deed, Big Jim Kohler Blues Band offered the blues for listeners and gatherers with big hearts! The money raised by this organization stays local and gets filtered back into Craven and Pamlico Counties.


Marron Chaplin Set a Date to Set Sail!


The acoustic rocker that we all fell in love with, in the time she called New Bern home, Marron Chaplin was out on the scene last night and sharing songs with friends and fans at The Garage. During the show, she announced that she would be leaving the area in June and taking flight for a career in Nashville, TN. With management already in place in the music city for this beautiful girl, it is only a matter of time before we read more about her successes. She will have several shows around the area between now and the time she leaves, and we will bid her a fond farewell together!


Monterio Experience Offers Plenty of Soothing Sounds for the Soul


Next up we find another band that I have been trying to catch for nearly two years or better. The Monterio Experience was in town last night, featuring the powerful voice of Eric Monterio. The skilled singer has a range that is second to none. He is the only singer in the area to pull off the song “Picture,” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow while nailing both leads of the duet. The band offers all of the fun party songs that the crowd likes to hear. They offer a little bit of country, a twist of rock n roll, then turn up the funk and the get groovy with soul. You can find the band on Facebook by following this link:

The Monterio Experience

Hearing the band live is always the best, so for those in the Greenville area be sure to look for them on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Christy’s Euro Pub. They will be on hand and offering a trio formation for that show. The full band will be back in action the following week on Saturday, May 11, 2019, when they play Buck Wild Tavern. Showtime starts at 9 pm.


Carolina Swamp Dogs Offer A Private Show to Attendees at City Stage


The Carolina Swamp Dogs returned to town last night to offer a full night of raw blues music to the few that gathered at The City Stage. This trio of retired Marines have a unique set up and a rare sound to match. I love them. I met them about a year an a half ago at The Seafood Festival in Morehead City and now work with them in bringing them to the area whenever the opportunity serves.

The blues union prefers not to play bars and watering holes but loves the opportunity to serve on benefits and they love restaurants and outdoor community events as well! If you missed them last night, I am sorry for you. The band will return to our area in August to play an afternoon show for me in Fairfield Harbour on August 11, with music being offered 2-4:30 pm and on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The duo that played for the Earthday event will return to the Brown Pelican to play from 8-11 pm. Be sure to put both gigs on your calendar and come celebrate the blues!


Final Stop Offers A Pause for the Cause With Paul Picard Rocking for Cats and Kittens

My final stop for the night last night was The Brown Pelican, where they were hosting a fundraiser for an organization that goes into populated cat areas and captures the cats for the sake of spaying and neutering the animals. While I was there, I spoke with one of the volunteers about the work they are doing and she explained that the group of volunteers work in areas where cat populations are out of control. They keep busy capturing the creatures so to ensure they can’t breed.

The benefit was a Feline Fundraiser for K2C2, non-profit assisting animals. The night offered a silent auction, a donation box was made available for cat donations, and entertainment was offered by Paul Picard. It has been a minute since I last caught Picard, who sounded great as he ended the night with a great many classic rock selections.


Live Music In the Week Ahead

New Bern NC


Monday offers the Blues with Big Jim Kohler at the Brown Pelican. Live music is shared from 7-9 pm. The first set is the full band the second set all jammers are welcome. On Wednesday we do it again with Big Jim and his Bride, Kathy Kohler, at The City Stage. Once again live music is shared from 7-9 pm. All gigs are free to attend and tips for the house band are encouraged! Also on Wednesday, there is an open mic night at Bern Bar, located on Glenbernie Ave.

Thrilling Thursday

Thursdays are becoming just as busy as any weekend offering. This week there will be live music and fine dining at two hot spots in town. The first stop is Captain Ratty’s Seafood & Steakhouse, where they offer live music in the piano bar from 6-9 pm. Patrick Reid will be in the house to entertain this week. Then starting at 7:30 pm on the deck at Persimmons Restaurant there is live music being offered by Strung Together.

Just on the outskirts of town we have another dining and music option with Alisa Mike live at City Stage New Bern, with music served from 7-9 pm. Bouncing back into town, it is the longest running open mic in town over at The Brown Pelican. Sign up at 7, music starts at 8 pm and all are welcome to jam! The Performance Arts Series Presents: NC Raga Revival at Tryon Palace will also be an option this Thursday, May 2, 2019, at The History Center on S Front St. The last option for those looking for something fun and music infused, there is “A Musical Journey thru America” taking place at the Community College’s Orringer Auditorium. There are three performances for this show in all!


Last Call For Big Jim

We All Love Him!

Have you met my blues brother, Big Jim? This guy is the real deal when it comes to Chicago style blues and he has a long list of songs ready to share with his fans and friends. It has been quite a ride sitting shotgun on this blues journey, with this talented slinger who not only plays the blues but lives them out like a true champion. Jim Kohler moved to ENC in 2011 and just six weeks after settling in with his family, they were greeted by the rise of Irene, a Hurrican that washed through their house and washed away most of their possessions. It took them five years to recover and along the way they worked out their sorrows by sharing music with their community. They are the first band to show up at any cause and they are often there donating their time.

We Nearly Lost Him

Before Florence was ever a consideration in our community’s story, there was another story that was penned about our cities blues father! In August 2017, Big Jim fell ill with pneumonia and nearly lost his life. In an effort to save his life and help him recover and heal, the skilled and professional team at Carolina East Medical Center placed Kohler in a coma so that he could combat his addiction to alcohol. For anyone that remembers Big Jim near the end of that long relationship he openly had with beer and whiskey, it was not always pretty.

Let’s All Support Him For the Joy He Brings

Many things have changed since then and throughout it all, Big Jim has been sober and is now in better health than he has ever been in all the years he has called NC home. In fact, it was just Wednesday night that I overheard his bride talk about him being here for all of the many positive changes he has made. I will point out that behind it all, it is his family and music that keep this man going.

Having said that, I will also mention that music is how he makes his living. If he had a better product, it would not take long to send him back out on the road, where he is destined to be. He cannot do that without your help. In February Big Jim fired up a Kickstarter campaign to get this new product recorded and manufactured. On Tuesday, this campaign will be shut down unless we come up with the still needed $1980 to press the play button on a new Big Jim disc!

For the last time, please reconsider and donate to the cause of keeping the blues alive. BIG JIM STYLE!

Visit the link below and donate! EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!


Thank You!


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 22 at 5:20 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.

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