It Was A Double Bill in Swansboro, NC for SwanFest on Sunday, July 3, 2022

Downtown Swansboro, on the corner where the people gather for music and memories thanks to the hard work of the Seaside Arts Council

Seaside Arts Council

The community organization known as Seaside Arts Council does a wonderful job of supporting the arts in the Swansboro and Western Carteret areas. They were established in 2009 and do a lot to educate and provide opportunities for the arts in the areas they serve. I wanted to share their mission and vision with my readers because this is something we can all get behind.

“The Mission of the Seaside Arts Council is to promote, advance, and provide performing arts opportunities, appreciation, and education for residents of and visitors to the Swansboro and Western Carteret County Area.

We execute this mission by Hosting the SwanFest Summer Concert Series, hosting art shows featuring local artists, offering scholarships to promising local students, and much more.”

On Sunday, July 3, 2022, The Seaside Arts Council awarded four $1500 scholarships to deserving seniors in the area they serve. Three of the four were on hand to be introduced to the crowd in between band sets.

As for their vision: “The Seaside Arts Council of Swansboro and Western Carteret is the voice of the arts, dedicated to promoting dynamic and diverse arts to our community and surrounding areas. The Arts Council strives to connect the positive power of the arts and music to educate and inspire our youth while uniting people across all cultures, building a strong community that is a quality place to live, work and play.”

The two best ways to show your support are to show up for the shows and to give, whether it is electronically, online, or in the field.

They are promoting two Summer concert series for locals and visitors to enjoy each week throughout the season. SwanFest takes place in Swansboro each Sunday from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. This free concert series goes down at The Pavilion at Olde Towne Square.

On the flip side of the Swanfest Schedule is the EmeraldFest Schedule. This is a free weekly concert series that happens each Thursday in Emerald Isle at the Western Ocean Regional Access from 6:30-8:30 pm


Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen Kick Things Off

Capt. Dick & The Lost Seamen for SwanFest featured band founder Dicky Scearce, guitar and vocals, Dino Pelletier taking the lead guitar, David Stover on bass and vocals, and Josh Mineer behind the kit, with a special guest offering harmonies and percussions, Jason Patterson.

Interestingly enough, the band that will be appearing at EmeraldFest this Thursday is who opened the show on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at SwanFest. Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen is a local band project that was started by Dicky Scearce and Jack Ketner a few years ago. In fact, the quartet welcomed me into 2021, by being the first band I saw last year. I caught the original cast back then for a fun night of music at Bogue Sound Distillery. (photo below)

For those that are not from around here, you should note that Scearce & Ketner are staples on The Crystal Coast music scene. Sadly, Ketner has suffered a few medical setbacks since this band formed. Given those developments, the show goes on with another area legend holding down the strings and filling in the sounds on the lead guitar, the gifted Dino Pelletier.

I met Scearce & Ketner early in my blogging travels, This file photo brings us back 7 years ago to Beaufort where I found the band sharing songs at The Dockhouse.
Guitarist Dino Pelletier closed out the set with The Star-Spangled Banner, Hendrix style!

Sunday would mark the first time I caught Scearce with a drummer in the backdrop. Keeping time for the band was New Bern beat maker, Josh Mineer, helping him on bass and with song and harmony, and David Stover, who played with both bands on the bill last Sunday.

Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen, rhythm makers Mineer & Stover

The band offers many popular songs to keep the crowd dancing and enjoying the music. They also sprinkle the set with originals that keep them grooving too. They are a fun band and perfect for their beach environment. Check out their site and put them on your schedule soon by visiting: Captain Dick and The Lost Seamen.

If you missed your chance to see the band last weekend, call your friends and make a plan to see them this Thursday at EmeraldFest. The music starts at 6;30 pm Bring a chair or blanket, friends and family. Just leave the pets and alcohol at home.


The Pegasus Plus Reunion Show

Opening the set with rocking original music Pegasus + at SwanFest

Pegasus Plus was a popular rock act from NC that toured regionally, for years. In fact, many of my friends from the area recall their treks to The Attic, a popular rock club in Greenville, NC. Local music scene side note, that club was owned by Built For Comfort’s beat keeper, Joe Tronto. That blues band is rocking the scene tonight in Washington, NC at the new night spot, Sevens. Pegasus Plus was a popular attraction when they came to the area and they still have the knack for delivering a quality show.

Pegasus Plus Reunion came to be after the band took a 30 plus year break. David Stover reached out to his bandmates to see how everyone was doing. Before long the group was getting together for monthly practice sessions and now plays a couple of shows a year together.

Pegasus + founder, vocalist, and bass player David Stover at one of the band’s first reunion shows.Circa February 2019 at Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, NC

I would love to see more of this band. Seems the first couple of times I saw them they were playing with other popular NC rock bands on theater stages. Once with the Wannabees a classic rock cover band based in New Bern, NC, and the first time was in Raleigh with Nantucket. Interesting side note about the scene, all these bands share the drummer, Jason Patterson. who has quite an impressive biography.

I have known Patterson for nearly a decade now. In all this time, we never sat down and talked about his career behind the kit. In fact, we’ve spent more time talking shop as we are both small business owners. At one point during the show on Sunday, his bandmate J. K. Loftin was talking about their rock star drummer. I already knew he logged beats with the Wannabees as that was how we met. And I learned along the way that he was Nantucket’s drummer too. But I never knew he was the drummer for Cry of Love, a popular rock band that formed in Raleigh in the late 80s and stayed on the road touring into the early 90s.

After learning this I did a little research on my friend Patterson. Following his time with Cry of Love, he ended up on tour with Texas guitarist Chris Duarte. Duarte was one of the first artists I wrote about in 1994 after landing on the blues scene. Duarte was fairly new to the scene at the time as well and I did a review of his first release. An effort that Patterson would help him support.

When I asked Patterson about his career I wondered what touring experience he enjoyed the most and he replied, “ I had a blast playing with Chris. Such a brilliant player. We were in a van loading our gear in and out a lot of one-nighters. Saw some parts of the country that I did not see with Cry Of Love.”

Pegasus Plus Reunion with David Stover, bass and vocals, J.k. Loftin guitar and vocals, Martin Bissell, guitar and vocals, Bill Joyner, music director, keyboards, guitar and vocals, and Jason Patterson drums and supporting vocals.

Both shows last Sunday were noteworthy for the bands and those that attended. Seaside Arts Council is doing a good job supporting the arts in their area. I hope you decide to show your support by attending one of their events soon. Tomorrow the husband and wife band 4EverAll will take the stage under the pavilion. The music starts at 6:30 pm. You are welcome to bring a chair, invite friends, and buy tumblers and t-shirts, but leave the alcohol and pets at home.


Thanks For Reading

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Music and Festivals, Plus We Go Behind the Scenes with Sound Hut Productions and the Live Music Calendar

Music and Festivals, Plus We Go Behind the Scenes with Sound Hut Productions and the Live Music Calendar

Music and Festivals, Plus We Go Behind the Scenes with Sound Hut Productions and the Live Music Calendar


— Read on ncmz.live/festivals-and-fun-celebrations-take-center-stage-plus-we-go-behind-the-scenes-with-sound-engineers-and-a-live-music-calendar/

Music and Festivals, Plus We Go Behind the Scenes with Sound Hut Productions and the Live Music Calendar

Scenes From The 42nd Annual Croaker Festival in Oriental, NC

Starting things off in Oriental, NC, last weekend, I made it to day two of the Croaker Festival. Did you know that for more than four decades, the lil harbor town nestled along the Pamlico Sound, “down in the county,” has hosted this event the first weekend in July? That makes it a town tradition.

When I arrived to town, Big Jim Kohler Blues Band was on the Main Stage offering a mid-day music treat for those under the shade of the tent during the second and final day of the 42nd Annual Croaker Festival on Saturday, July 2, 2022.

This annual festival is one of several events that drive people into the harbor town each year. Most of the events held there feature masts and/or music. It’s a fishing town, so boats are a big deal. One of the main features of the Croaker Fest is the music. There is music from late Friday and until the close of Saturday during the festival hours. They make a big deal of local acts and treat them like the true celebrities that they are.

Well-organized town events, that last for generations, are important to the growth of communities throughout the land. Often when I talk to bands and interview musicians, the first big step for many was a local town festival/stage.

One year they are performing on The Croaker Festival stage and then the next one they are on the stage at a regional awards show, gaining more recognition. It happens often, which is why these town functions are important to all things local. As for that lil ol band on the big stage, everyone that’s under the tent now becomes a part of that band’s story. They will be telling tales of the local band that did good, for years, once they hear that the artist on the local radio. Local events and word of mouth are always major stepping stones to growth. That is true in every business model, whether it be managing a band or a town event.

Cooper Greer was the featured artist for this year’s Croaker Festival. Based out of Greenville, NC this band is making a good name for themselves on the regional country music scene.

Along with great music, there are fun food selections and craft vendors that set up shops to sell their goods and services. The boost in tourism is also great for the town’s local businesses. For instance, The New Village Brewery celebrated its 5th Year Anniversary on Thursday, June 30; just before the start of the Croaker Festival, and carried that vibe into the festive holiday weekend. They were pouring fresh beer, with a food truck on site and serving up the live music in their beer garden.

When the local businesses take part in these events, it offers more opportunities for the visitors, to sample local music makers and vendors throughout the town. The other place I stopped for music was The Oriental Marina & Inn. That is where the crowd gathers for the fireworks, and before the darkness set in, local rockers, Southern Hellcats were grooving under the tent at the tiki bar.

Closing out the final night of festivities with fireworks.

Shining a Spotlight on Music

Southern Hellcats Rev Up The Crowd For Fireworks

Highlighting the four bands that I saw at the festival on Saturday, I suppose we can walk it backward from here since the last band was the only band I had not seen. I actually caught one song when they played in New Bern after they first got together, but was not blogging at the time and have no evidence, so here it is…

Southern Hellcats have an interesting back story. They came about a couple years ago, I’d say theirs is a story of God’s good timing and as a result of Covid. Guitarist and singer, Chris Daniels, owner of The Silo’s Restaurant on Broad St. in Oriental was the guitarist for Saltwater Gold, for decades before Covid-19 came along. Both he and the drummer of that band and now this one, Mike Ferrara, opted to keep going and about the same time, Ferrara ran into long lost musical brother, Phillip Alcock, a Lenoir County native. It wasn’t long after that the Southern Hellcats formed. That trio of players actually have a history of working together in the past, with a project that, shall we say, did not fly, but cost them all. After hearing the story, I walked away thinking, this is the pay back project for these three. I feel it will be a fun project that will also be lucrative for them all.

Tieing the back beat and strings all together is the incredible Connor Daniels on sax. Basically, the rockabilly quartet consists of three seasoned players and a prodigy on sax who is learning how to season the sounds as they groove.

The younger Daniels is of no relation to the elder Daniels, but the two share a musical kinship. Much thanks for that goes to the weekly open mic nights happening each Wednesday at The Silos Restaurant. Connor told me that those nights are near and dear to his heart because you never know who is going to walk in. He considers it a weekly mini Woodstock. The players have always been super supportive of this young man, who now splits his time playing with the pros, and still placing first with his high school band in competitions and festivals. In fact, when I asked Daniels about his musical highlights, he said, “My musical highlights have definitely been placing first chair in the eastern region on tenor sax, both in classical and jazz bands.”

As for the band, they came together during the mid-Covid era and have really soared in the last year. Keeping busy around the region, they are available to rock your crowd on weekends too. They definitely know how to keep the people moving on the dance floor. They play all the fun songs from rock n roll beginning days to when it got bland, so basically covering classics from the 50s through the 80s. To learn more and inquire about availability click on ktheir website Southern Hellcats.

For friends and fans looking to dance to the music, the band heads to Swansboro, NC tonight to rock socks at The Willy-Nilly Warehouse from 7-10 pm. Next weekend they will be performing at the Fort Macon Summer Concert Series in Atlantic Beach. I caught up with them last night at Tonic Parlor on Middle St. in New Bern. They return there early next month on Thursday, August 4, 2022 for a 7-10 pm show.


Cooper Greer Closed Things Out On The Main Stage Saturday Evening

I love watching young talent grow strong with time and experience. Case in point, Cooper Greer Music. If you haven’t heard his name or music yet, seek him out. This talented young singer was born in the Ozarks, MO, but raised around these parts. He has music running through his viens. When it first caught his attention, he was really into rock, but to catch the band live, you will note his country croonings. This tells me that he is a smart music man. The two leading music trends are hip-hop and counrty music. There is no doubt in my mind that he has the voice and song structures to make a name for himself on the country music map.

Joining Greer on stage last week, on keys, the music mastery of Justin Sokoloski, his main man on guitar, Greg Franklin, on bass was the talented Wes Kyatt and on drums, Milton Long offering backing vocals and the beats. They sounded tight and kept the crowd right in tune with their grooves.

The first time I met Greer was when he graced the stage of Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant on S. Front St in downtown New Bern, NC about two years ago. Since then, all of the covid restrictions have lifted and the band has been keeping busy around the state. Greer manages his own affairs and has released music for fans since we first met. He keeps the band busy around the state. This weekend the boys will be rocking folks on Ocracoke Island tonight and tomorrow at The Breeze.


A Dusty Trio Bring the Grooves to the Garden at The New Village Brewery

Croaker Festival 2016 Oriental, NC

The first time I visited the Croacker Festival, was a few months after I started publishing this blog site, seven years ago. Back then, things were contained to the waterways around town. Nothing was happening on the way to the festival. This year, however, there was more to love with the addition of The New Village Brewery & Taproom taking root five years ago. The owners Frank and Lili Bacon hosted live music and food trucks throughout the weekend. Offering the jazzy swing sounds on Saturday afternoon was The Dusty Trio. The Dust Parade project can offer any number of players that the gig affords. I have seen them play as a duo and as a five-piece, complete with keyboards.

The Dusty Trio l t r James Durham, band teacher and sax instructor of Connor Daniels at Pamlico County Schools Band. Hank Barbee creator of the Dust Parade, collecting talent along the way and offering inspirational music sounds every where they go. On bass and in the forefront, Matt Henderson who makes it look like he walks to every gig. This young man was just out of high school when he joined the stage and has been a professional ever since.

After talking about band leader Hank Barbee two weeks ago here and his band, The Dust Parade last week, readers learned of the band’s whereabouts, like my neighbor, John, who reached out, thanked me for the info, and got to work on gathering a group of music lovers to meet at the garden to support the band. This is exactly why I like doing this blog.

If you missed their show, here is “Good Day.” by the Dusty Trio, offered on my YouTube Channel. I am trying to build that site and the subscribers so join the fun while you are there by hitting Subscribe.

This week Barbee is flying solo along the Crystal Coast this weekend. Catch him tonight at Salty Bee in Cedar Point with music starting at 6 pm or tomorrow night the singer will perform in Atlantic Beach at Oceana Pier House and Restaurant from 6-9 pm. Look for the band next weekend on stage at Cru Bar & Wine Store in Beaufort, NC on Saturday, July 16, 2022.


Big Jim Kohler Blues Is A Mid Day Delight

The first band I caught last weekend is no stranger to this blog, and definitely part of the reason I started writing it in fact. Feeling a close affection for the blues, life got better for me in New Bern not long after meeting Big Jim Kohler and his blues band. That takes us all back nearly a decade now. I met the blues maker in March of 2013 in Swansboro where he was playing with bass player Mike Sandvig. Since then I have enjoyed getting to know many players through knowing the Kohlers.

One thing that cannot be denied is the power of a local blues queen. Singer Kathleen Kohler is always a show stopper when she sings with her husband. She not only wowed me but just about took down the tent with her show-stopping, breathtaking blues delivery.

Big Jim keeps busy playing around the region, offering authentic blues music rarely found around these parts. Playing behind him is a drummer familiar to this page, as we met Mike Ferrara above behind the kit keeping time for the Southern Hellcats. On bass, Kohler joins forces with Chris Buttitta who joined the band five years ago. Buttitta also has another band project. He often joins friends in The Hot Buttered Grits to deliver jams to fans.

For friends and fans of the band, you can find them at The Trailer Bar in Surf City tonight. Music is offered 7-10 pm. Tomorrow Big Jim and Kathy will be playing at their neighborhood restaurant, The Saltwater Grill in River Bend from 7-10 pm. On Sunday the duo heads to the Angry Ginger in Jacksonville to share music from 2-5 pm.


Ready Set Sound!

Back Stage and Behind The Scenes With Sound Hut Productions

Sounding good is a key component to one’s success in the music business. Often, that piece of the puzzle is taken out of the band’s hands. Given that component, I decided to take a look at my friends behind the scenes. Sound engineers are not often talked about, but they should not be overlooked or taken for granted.

Having a good production company can make or break an event. Though having the right equipment to pull off a show is important, it is most essential to have the skill and experience behind the board too. Recently, I spent some time talking to the skilled production team at Sound Hut Productions.

They are based right here in New Bern and are happy to work anywhere in the state. They have set up sound for small events and offered production on major events. Below is the father and son team tackle sound at Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern, NC for the Fundraiser, BBQ & Blue, January 2020.

When I sat down with Chris Sandvig, he was at the controls of the board, under the tent at The 42nd Annual Croaker Festival. He grew up around music most of his existence with being reared by a father that has worked in bands for most of his life. Mike Sandvig has played bass for more than a fair share of bands along the way. Currently the bass man is seeking a new band opportunity, but he is keeping busy with his production company.

The younger Sandvig on the other hand said he never had the patience to learn how to play an instrument, but when his father noted his interest in sound, he invested in his son and supported his passion for the sound trade. He started working behind the board when he was 18 years old. Now a decade and a half later, Sandvig says he learns something from every show they do. Even if the show goes sideways, he learns important lessons for future outings.

Helping the Sandvig’s last weekend was the sound engineer for Soul Psychadelic, Kelly Mon. He made the trip from Raliegh to help his long-time friends behind the board. Chris Sandvig said he is always grateful for the input Mon offers and says he saved the day for Sandvig.

There truly is a lot that goes into setting up such events. Generally, they are long work days, often with weather conditions to consider. There is the load in before anyone arrives and the setting of the stage. Then there is the transition between bands that needs to be considered. It is important to call on a company that assists in making these transitions smooth while making the bands sound the best they can. As for the guys at Sound Hut Productions, that is always the goal when they set out with their trailer and gear. Wrapping up makes the days longer, but when the bands are happy it’s worth the effort it takes.

Sound Hut Productions is the company that all local bands should acquaint themselves with. They have affordable studio space for band rehearsal and the equipment you need to make your band sound over the top when in the field. If you are organizing a town event or concert series, consider this duo for your sound needs. Opening a club that will support live music, incorporate sound, by hiring them to hook up the venue right. If you are ready to take your band, venue or town project to the next level contact Mike Sandvig today…

252-259-7337.


Tomorrow We Travel To Swansboro, NC for a Double Bill at SwanFest

Swansboro, NC is a fun little town that supports the arts in a big way. Tomorrow we go to SwanFest and listen to Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen followed by a rocking close-out with Pegasus Plus Reunion Show.

Until then check out the live music calendar and take a break tonight and support live music in your area!


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Fun Bands, Fine Duos, Solo Jams, Open Mic Nights, and Live Music Calendar Are What’s In the News for The Holiday Weekend Ahead

The Dust Parade In the Garden

I caught up with the talented Hank Barbee a few weeks ago when he was sharing some solo vibes at Oceana Pier House & Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, earlier last month. Before the month closed out I found his band, The Dust Parade, planted in the garden offering a bouquet of beautiful music for their fans who surrounded them on Friday, June 24, 2022, at Carolina Home and Garden.

The last time I saw the band they put on quite a show in downtown New Bern at Bank of the Arts on Middle St., where they offered a performance for their At the Gallery Series. That series features local music makers that tell the story and play the music of certain well-known artists. The Dust Parade did a show on Dire Straits. Though the show was phenomenal, there was one component that I missed, which is the band’s original music. They only squeezed in one of their own songs at the end.

Ready set, sound…At The Gallery with The Dust Parade

The Dust Parade has many great originals that make their shows a refreshing music retreat. Some of it is the blending of tones, with Jim Durham’s sax and the guitar playing of Hank Barbee playing off each other is an experience in and of itself. But then while they get settled in a jam, the other two groove makers tie it all together. The rhythm section is essential. The newest to the rotation on drums is Xavier Roberson and assisting the beats and holding the whole groove in the pocket on bass is the talented Matt Henderson. Some of my favorite songs are unreleased and will be coming on the next Dust Parade release.

The Dust Parade offers original music in the garden at Carolina Home and Garden in Newport, NC on Friday, June 24, 2022

Most interesting is the reality of this music business. One thing that Barbee learned long before he embarked with this band chapter, is that making music a career is a continual process. From the building of a band to the creation of songs, the ordering of merchandise, booking and promoting the dates, the rehearsal for live shows, and the recording and mixing of music for release. The last part is the most difficult part of the journey for a lot of artists for many reasons. Studio time is expensive, recording and mixing is an art in and of itself, that is also costly, and artwork for the final product is also quite often a task as well.

The last release from the Dust Parade was a project Barbee started on years before he met this current band. Son Royale was released in 2017 and does not include the current band mix. The good news for fans of the band is that they are currently working on a new disc that will offer many of the songs found in the rotation of their current setlist. No matter how long it takes to produce and release a product; it will be worth the wait. Personally, for me it’s better than any stream or disc, to find the band live and in person. For fans looking for that experience, head to Oriental this weekend.The band will be on stage at New Village Brewery for the town’s 42nd Annual Croaker Festival. They will be rocking the jams from 5-8 pm.


Ryan Rubich Brings the Band to Morgan’s Pub for Friday Night Fun

On our way back from Newport, we stopped by Morgan’s Pub in Havelock where Rubich’s Cube was rocking some blues. We walked in on some Stevie Ray Vaughan to welcome us, but before we left we got a great sample of this band’s show.

Not long after meeting Rubich in 2018 we arranged a dinner meeting in Jacksonville to talk about the local scene. Being fairly new to the area at that time, he was married to a Marine stationed at Camp Leguene. I shared with him some info about the local scene and sometime during that meeting, he decalred in front of me, God and whoever was listening, that music was going to become his job priority.

Steve Mehan, Ryan Rubich, Jimmy Kennedy, and Fernando Rivera at Open Mic Night with hostess Tiffany Elaine at Crystal Coast Brewing Co in Atlantic Beach. July 2018.

I met a married Rubich back in the Summer of 2018 at an open mic night in Atlantic Beach. See the file photo above. Since he has made his commitment to music, he has given up the wife and made his commitments to himself and his band. He has grown greatly in his career. Coming with the commitment, Rubich has known his struggles and offered some sacrifices from his life. Along the way, I have booked him as a solo act for some venues around the area and as duo for the community shows that I host in my neighborhood. File photo below.

Ryan Rubich and Jared Cain jamming at Red Sail Park for my concert in the park series in June 2019. Sadly, our music community lost Cain unexpectedly just a few weeks ago.

Friday night marked the first time I saw the full band in all these long years and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Rubich has teamed up with Brian Dennis on bass and Patrik Wood on drums. RUBICH’S CUBE is worth catching soon. Throughout the night they delivered a good mix of rock sounds with a bluesy edge. This player broke strings in Texas before he ever tuned up a guitar in North Carolina. The Texas blues rush is heard in his stylings. While I was in the house I managed to grab one of the first songs Rubich released. “Find My Way,” is available on all streaming platforms. Just search the artist Ryan Rubich, and enjoy. If you are looking for him live and in person there is plenty of opportunity for that too. Please see his scedule for the week ahead, below the video.

~ Ryan Rubich Music~RUBICH’S CUBE~Morgan’s Pub ~ ~June 24, 2022~

This artist has stayed busy since the day he made a commitment to his career in music. As you can see by the photo above, Rubich has a full week of shows. When I asked him what shows he is looking forward to playing most he mentioned Scallywags in Surf City on the 4th of July and Friday, July 8, 2022, at Jacks Waterfront Bar in Morehead City.


The New Bern Blues Duo That Never Gets Old

I caught up with Bear City’s blues duo Big Jim & Kathy Kohler while they were performing at Bootleggers & Barrels on South Front St. Saturday evening’s show would mark their seventh gig of the week. They don’t know much rest but always enjoy their time on stage making music together.

I had the pleasure of hearing them at downtown New Bern’s newest premier distillery, brewery, and bar, Bootleggers & Barrels, owned and operated by New Bern native, Dale Overbee. Overbee also owns Blackbeards’ Triple Play, featuring a great bar menu, with all the gnashing favorites such as wings, nachos, burgers, and wraps. On the weekends live music on the deck every Friday and Saturday with the area’s hippest bands around, performing 7:30-11 pm each night.

The Pirates Cove was Overbee’s second downtown food service endeavor, featuring the finest and freshest seafood on the menu. This is a nice place to bring a date and features a unique fish tank bar.

As for the Kohler’s you can find them all around town and around the region performing as a duo and with the band. Monday nights Big Jim hosts his blues jam at Blackbeard’s Triple Play from 7-10 pm, on Tuesday Big Jim teams up with a couple of rhythm makers Phillip Alcock on bass and Josh Mineer on the beatbox. The trio performs as The Honey Badgers and shares jams at Tonic Parlor each week from 7-10 pm. On Wednesdays, the Kohlers offer dinner tunes at Halftime Pub & Grill on MLK. Sharing songs from 7-10 pm. The band will get together tomorrow at Oriental’s 42nd Annual Croaker Fest. Show time for them will be about 4-4:30 pm.


Joe Starr and Sunday Jams Go Together at Tonic Parlor

New Bern jammer Joseph Starr has a special shine to share with the world. He was grooving familiar tunes to many that were hanging out at Tonic Parlor on Middle St., last Sunday. That marked two Sundays in a row that I set out and met a couple of my New Bern neighbors. Both talented and unique in sharing the jams. It was just two weeks ago that I ran into Clarence Coley at Willy-Nilly/Bake Bottle and Brew when he was playing the pre-fest SwanFest gig.

Starr has a chill vibe and a fun spirit. He plays many familiar songs, but what impressed me most about the afternoon was how he responded when I told him I was a Stones fan. I was blown away when he broke out some “Torn and Frayed,” by the Rolling Stones. Following that number, he walked into “Loving Cup” another selection from that band’s 1972 release, Exile on Main St. An album that was recorded 40 years ago in the South of France in the rented basement of Keith Richard’s mansion. It also happens to be my favorite era of the band. The Mick Taylor days, 1969-1975, turned out some of the band’s best music.

As for Starr, he is not new to the scene and has been making music for the last two decades. He left the area to go to school and made his way from Asheville to Wilmington before making his way back home to New Bern. Checking him out on Facebook, I learned that he grooves with the Dubtown Cosmonauts.

Besides offering plenty of cover songs, Starr has original music to share as well. You have to request it for him to play it, but don’t be shy. You might get stuck in the moment and enjoy his groove. Check him out on my YouTube Channel below. While you are there go ahead and subscribe. I enjoy recording local acts and posting them there as well as here and on Facebook. I don’t have enough of a following on YouTube to matter much yet, but we can change that if you subscribe to the channel today.


Spotlight on Open Mic Nights

Wilmington Area Jams

I was searching for content for the blog this week when I came across this handy dandy schedule of open mic nights in the Wilmington area. I came across it in a group for Wilmington Musicians. For those looking to explore new venues check out the list below and make it to a show!

Open Mic News From Pamlico County

I received an email this week from Denise McDermott at Pamlico Community College with good news for the return of their jam sessions.

“Hi Jammers, Fans & Friends Due to many inquiries, and some demands as well as safer gatherings, we are hoping to start back up with the Third & Fifth Thursdays PCC Jam Sessions in the Delamar Auditorium Atrium. I need to hear from y’all if you are planning to attend and if not now you plan to someday. There also is another jam session venue in the county being held at the Gatlin’s Barn! Dixie & Asa Gatlin are members of the popular Harbor Sounds Band – they send out an electronic notification with the where and when.As I shared my list with the Fairfield Harbor Jam – I will share your email address with the Gatlin’s unless I receive your objection not to do so. Come on ‘down the county’ and bring your friends, families, foes, or whomever!And if you can, please let me know you plan to be here so that I may relay that to any inquiring minds. Remember, there is a relaxed atmosphere without judgments – all levels welcome – all styles welcome – bring music or send to me ahead to share if you wish or just come and enjoy.I miss y’all and hope to see ya! Thank you, Denise

For those that would like to learn more about the jams at Pamlico Community College, Fairfield Harbour, or Gatlin’s Barn please email Denise McDermott dmcdermott@pamlicocc.edu

Open Mic in Otown

Speaking of open mic nights in Pamlico County, I headed out to The Silo’s Restaurant, 1111Broad St, Oriental, NC., this week to see what was new with owner and jammer, Chris Daniels.

This was all by design as I knew the town’s Croaker Festival was slotted to kick off on Friday night and his band The Southern Hellcats will be closing out the night on Friday on the main stage and Saturday night under the gazebo at the Oriental Marina & Inn / Toucan Grill & Fresh Bar. Making up the four-piece band mostly based in the county is Chris Daniels, vocals and guitar, Phillip Alcock vocals and stand-up bass, Connor Daniels on saxophone and Mike Ferrara on drums. If you have not caught this fine rockabilly quartet, be sure to do so soon. They will keep your feet tapping and hips shaking.

If you can’t make it to Oriental this weekend, you can find the Southern Hellcats rocking Tonic Parlor in downtown New Bern on Thursday, July 7 at 7 pm and again on Friday, July 15, 2022 at 8 pm.

For those interested in finding out more information on the music at this weekend’s 42nd Annual Croaker Festival in Oriental, NC, be sure to visit their website. Music starts at 4 pm today and things kick off tomorrow at 11 am with The Marine Corps Band.


Music Calendar Page

Click on the title above to check out who is playing around NC this holiday weekend.

To be featured in the blog or to have dates added to the calendar, drop me an email at ncmz.live@gmail.com. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you share this live music blog with friends and family. You can subscribe by adding your email to the list.

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Concert Series Season Where We Find Music Under Gazebos and Pavilions, Plus Solo Acts, A Bit About Open Mic Nights and A New Music Calendar for NC!

Music In The Park Featuring Built For Comfort Band Under the Gazebo In Morehead City

On Saturday, June 11, 2022 I caught up with Built For Comfort rocking their blues under the gazebo in Morehead City, for the Second Saturday Concert Series at Martin Luther King Jr City Park. The blues quartet from the Greenville area offer a fun show, featuring many blues standards and familiar rock favorites.

Making up the sounds in this band are Landy Spain, who tackles the guitar parts and lends a hand on vocals; Al Carroll plays the bass, Joe Tronto keeps the back beat on the drums and last but not least on harmonica, washboard, vocals is the band’s frontman, Bill Hunneke.

They perform many shows throughout the year, but its always fun to find them jamming in the park. The first time I heard this band in 2016, I met them at a park just around the corner, down on the water for Downtown Morehead City’s Alive at Five Concert Series.

Built for Comfort offer a Teeny Weeny Bit of fun music for fans in the park on Saturday June 11, 2022 in Morehead City’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park

Fans of the band can catch them on the second Saturday in July, if you find yourself in the Washington, NC area. Click here for event details: Built for Comfort on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at Sevens in Washington, NC. At the end of July they will rock their hometown when they take the stage at A.J. McMurphy’s in Greenville. Music will be shared from 8-11pm.

Click on this link if you’re looking for more information on the acts on the schedule for the Second Saturday Series

Coming up next month for the Second Saturday Concert Series will be the Thrillbillies, under the gazebo at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Saturday, July 9, 2022 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Bring a chair and the family for a night of food truck food and fun music.


At Swanfest We Go Under the Pavilion with Pure T Mommicked

pure t mommicked rocking Swanfest on Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Swansboro, NC

Pure T Mommicked is a familiar band on our local rock scene. This band has nearly a quarter-century of tales to tell. Over the years that I have known them I have seen duo and trio versions of the band, but Sunday, June 19, 2022, I was finally rocked by the full ensemble, complete with the church band rhythm section which included, Darren Boyd on bass and BJ Maynard on drums. Band founder and frontman Jimmy Mahoney, is the man on the mic with some guitar grit thrown in. Mark Hibbs more often plays bass with the band, but last week he tackled the six-string for Neal Paul who was out of town.

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