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

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…


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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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.

SwanFest is a weekly concert series brought to us by the Seaside Arts Council and its sponsors in downtown Swansboro, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Should you find the time to attend some Sunday soon, please consider offering a donation to assist with keeping the music and arts community flowing.

Of course, when living in Eastern North Carolina in the Summer, we do have to contend with storms and severe weather on occasion. When weather interferes with the show going on the committee simply reschedules the show. Sometimes they extend the season and other times the stack acts. For example, I went to see Pegasus Plus on Sunday, June 12 but given the weather, they rescheduled the band for July 3. The double header will be featuring Captain Dick & the Lost Seamen kicking things off at 6:30 pm, followed by Pegasus Plus at 7:30 pm.

2022 Swanfest Schedule

MC for the event last Sunday was Will Baker who is a member of the Seaside Arts Council and half of the Will & Tony Show. Always active in supporting the arts, I met Baker years ago when he was working Hillsborough, NC for a living and promoting local music on the radio there too. Now that he is retired, our coastal area is happy to have his talents in event planning.

Baker takes photos and videos of the events and uploads the captures to the Seaside Arts Councils Facebook Page. You can follow them and enjoy the music.

Will Baker welcomes gatherers to the Father’s Day SwanFest and introduces Pure T Mommicked who opens the show with a rocking original number

As for last Sunday, it was a beautiful Father’s Day night with local rockers, Pure T Mommicked, a band that came to life 24 years ago, just over the bridge in Emerald Isle, NC. Over the years the band has turned out quite a bit of original music, which is available on all streaming platforms. When I was writing this piece I was listening to them on Spotify, but at work I listen to them on Amazon Music. If you enjoy original rock I recommend checking out this rocking quartet. To keep up with their show and band announcements, follow them on facebook by liking pure t mommicked today.

Spotlight on Some Local Solo Singers

Hank Barbee at Oceanana Pier and Pier House Restaurant

I caught up with a solo Hank Barbee at the beach a couple weeks back. The long legged baritone was set up for dinner sounds, under the bar cover on the deck at Ocenana Pier and Pier House Restaurant. They host live music every Saturday evening from 6-9 pm.

Barbee splits his time playing solo, mostly around his hometown area of Wilmington, NC, and making rhythms around the region with his band The Dust Parade. In fact, the quartet will be setting up for a show tonight at Carolina Home & Garden in Newport, NC. The music starts at 6:30 pm. This band blends the talents of Barbee on guitar and vocals, Jim Durham on sax and vocals, Matt Henderson on bass and Xavier Roberson on drums. They offer original music mostly, with a wind-inspired surf sound with hints of jazz and blues. It’s always an awesome musical experience with the Dust Parade. The band will be making their rounds this summer. Next week they will be jamming at The New Village Brewery in Oriental on, July 2, 2022.

You can also mark your calendar today for their appearance at SwanFest on Sunday, August 14, 2022.

The Dust Parade has plenty of merchandise available for fans online and at their shows. Be sure to show your support by buying some music to take on the go, or a T shirt with the band’s logo. Keep in mind that every merch-purch helps advance projects for the band. One said project we are looking forward to advancing is new Dust Parade Music.

The band has been working things out for their next release. With Covid shutting things down and real life taking its toll, time has been the hardest thing to find for the studio work. The next release will be worth the wait though. It truly is going to be a beast. It will highlight this band and all of the friendship and music kinship which Barbee has been cultivating since his full time return to the NC scene in 2016.

Dust Parade Music – “It’s a Good Day” – Hank Barbee, June 11, 2022 at Oceana Pier House Restaurant

Coming up this Saturday, June 25 and next July 2, at Ocenana Pier and Pier House Restaurant will be the fun jams of MadSol Music, featuring talented stringer Tony Soldati and beautiful vocalist, Riley Madison on the deck from 6-9 pm. If you haven’t heard this duo yet, you’re in for a treat. They set out for stages all over the state, from Greenville, NC about 8 months ago. Barbee returns the following week for a solo shot at the pier on Saturday, July 9, 2022.

Greenville, NC-based duo MadSol

SwanFest PreFest with New Bern Artist Clarence Coley Live at Bake, Bottle & Brew

Clarence Coley wraps up his final set at Bake, Bottle & Brew on Sunday, June 19, 2022

Before heading over to SwanFest on Sunday, I stopped by Bake, Bottle & Brew to catch the last set of New Bern stringer, Clarence Coley. I caught this talented singer at open mic several years ago in New Bern, when he dropped by Tap That, but this was the first time I caught his live show.

While out and about I had the pleause of meeting blog follower, facebook friend and fellow music lover Joan Cross. She was sitting with David Stover at Coley’s gig. Joan called me over and introduced herself and welcomed me to their table. I told Stover I was in town the week before to catch his show with Pegasus Plus, but as we both knew, the event was postponed due to the weather. Along with playing bass for Pegasus Plus, he also keeps things in the pocket for Captain Dick & The Lost Seamen. As mentioned above both bands will share the bill next month for SwanFest during the Fourth of July weekend.

As for Coley, this talented player offers a mixed set with a variety of popular genres, including country and rock for all ages. Along with solo performances he plays in a duo Rollin’ Woods with his future wife Kristen McRoy, who he brags about on stage even during his solo shows. The duo has been navigating new territories with a new band mascot, their new baby Aidan who was born in late February. You can scope out Coley and Rollin’ Woods on Facebook to keep in tune with their destiny.

The Importance of Open Mic Nights

Tiff, Fern, Jesse, and Ryan Rubich and more joined the jam at Nick’s Blacksheep

Many music makers that are novice on the scene often hone in their talents and sharpen their stage skills at open mic events. These events often take place during the week and offer a platform for music makers to join forces, share music, create bands and more. As a music lover, I enjoy open mic nights because I get to meet and listen to so many cool acts in a short time. So many of the artists found on this blog site came to my attention thanks to an open mic night. Since open mic nights are good platforms and popular on the scene, I will always share new places to take your talent each week.


The Blue Note in Durham offers a Blues Jam on Tuesday and Open Mic on Wednesday. They support live music throughout the week and serve up some of the best food in Durham, NC. Stop by the next time you are in the mood to dine and move to the beats!


The nice thing about Greenville is you can hit several hot spots in a night to work out your jams. For example you can start out your Monday night with John Williams who opens the stage to jammers at AJ McMurphy’s 8 pm – until everyone jams. Following that fun, you can check in at The Buccaneer Music Hall which opens the stage at 10 pm until 1 am. All jammers are welcome to join the list and share their talents. On Wednesday’s in town you can check out Molly’s Community Cafe where tunes start at 7 pm. Just on the outskirts of town, over in Winterville, you can catch Mark Oliver hosting open mic at Nauti Dog Brewing Company. This is an every other Wednesday event. All are welcome to jam. Sign up and play from 7-10 pm.


Backwater Jack’s offers an open mic night on their pebble beach stage each Thursday that the weather permits. Hosted by local talent, Brian Burke, all are welcome to join in the fun. Music plays from 7-10 pm and all are encouraged to play. Above is a local jammer that joined the fun last summer. The restaurant and tiki bar is a big supporter of live music each weekend and serves up some great food too!

Along the Coast

Tiffany Elaine, The Crystal Coast’s mama bear and open mc hostess with the mostest!

For those living near the Crystal Coast, you can join in the fun that Tiffany Elaine cultivates at Cru Bar & Wine Store / The Beaufort Coffee Shop every Monday night. The mic opens at 7 pm and the fun happens until 10 pm. I have to to this open mic night several times over the years and always have a blast.

Tiffany is an angel on our music scene, doing a lot to help music makers strive and thrive in music. She takes her role as host seriously and makes a connection with everyone who joins her events. She introduces each person and makes everyone feel welcome and an important part of the equation.

This mother of three not only hosts open mic nights, but also makes music with her sweetheart, singer and guitarist Fernando Rivera with their duo Fern and Tiff, as well as plays music with her friend Steve Mehan in Southbound Train. Catch them this Saturday poolside at The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores. They will perform 1-4 pm.

Presenting The New NCMZ.Live Music Calendar Page

Are You Looking For An Open Mic to Test The Waters? Or Do You Want to Know Where to Find Live Music Tonight?

New NCMZ.LIVE Music Calendar

Today marks a new day in the blog world now that I have created and implemented a new calendar page that I can add new events to as I learn about them.

NCMZ.Live Music Calendar

This gives readers and fans a reason to stop by the site more which is not only good for the acts we promote but the businesses too.

Advertise your live music events on this site! Reach an audience looking for live music!

You can support my effort by sharing this article with friends on your social media sites. Take a break and support live music this weekend. If you tip the blogger, your funds will be used to fuel the mission of supporting live music around the state. Thank you!

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Saturday Storms Cancel Music So We Go To Pirate Invasion in Beaufort, Plus Music Options for Friday Night

On The Scene with Tracey Stones

A Stormy Saturday  

Always up for a grand adventure, I recently went sailing with Ken, a new resident to our beloved City of Bears. We had our first outing just days before, where I learned some boat lingo and watched, as he did all of the work. Then on Saturday, the lessons continued when we were joined by his friends. We set out mid-afternoon and about an hour or so into the excursion the storm that was off in Jacksonville, according to several radar reports, developed on top of us and Mother Nature offered quite a display of force. I am grateful to our captain Ken Byrd and first mate Dave Hadden for braving the hail keeping us safe in the brutal weather. Following the wicked wind and hail ordeal, we decided to take in some live music!

When You See A Flock Of Seagulls…Storm is Coming

I was looking forward to hanging around town last Saturday night until the afternoon storm rolled in and changed our plans. I was really hoping to keep it local and enjoy live music on the deck at Persimmons with friends but instead, we rolled to Beaufort after Saturday’s brutal storms to check out the Pirate Invasion.


The Black Sheep Beaufort, Pirate Invasion, Pizza and The Shoaldiggers

The Pirate Invasion took place last weekend throughout the town of Beaufort. This is the weekend that they reenact the sinking of Blackbeard’s Ship and the street fills with pirates. There is lots of fun for the family at this annual event and one of the great highlights is the festive music.  We made our way to the Black Sheep where we settled in for some delicious pizza and music by The Shoaldiggers. 

This nine-piece ensemble hails from Hillborough and offers an eclectic variety of music.  I would sum up their sound as Celtic bluegrass with a zydeco swamp stylings thrown in. They were a perfect fit for the pirate invasion. They performed as an eight-piece on Saturday night and surrendered a mix of uniquely offered cover songs and original selections as well.

The bands first disc was released a couple of years ago and offers 14 songs for your listening pleasure. If I were to pick a favorite, I would say “Fix Shit Up” gets the honor. I even like the name! I  was glad they offered me a disc before I left that evening. It is on the disc jacket that I learned The Shoaldiggers are comprised of  Daryl White on bass and vocals, Chris Knotts on guitar and vocals, Stephen Beck on mandolin and guitar and vocals, Jim Adams percussion, harmonica, and vocals, Gary Lanson banjo, and vocals, Allison Zirkel sax, saw and vox Ben Zirkel, trumpet Johnny Wall Jr drums and vocals and Meighen Carmichael on vocals,

You can check them out on Facebook by following this link: The Shoaldiggers on Facebook. The band has a couple of gigs on the books next weekend should you find yourself in Carrboro on Friday night or Wake Forest on Saturday evening. Those events are all spelled out with details on their page. Give it a like while you are there. Your ears will appreciate their appetite of serving up a blend of sounds.


Phantom Playboys Turn Cru Bar On Its Ear 

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At this point, I’d venture to say that one of my favorite traditions of Pirate Invasion weekend is the Saturday night entertainment at Cru Bar and Wine Store/Beaufort Coffee Shop. They always welcome the fun sounds and party grooves of the rockabilly band out of Wilmington, The Phantom Playboys. This five-piece ensemble has fun every time they bring it to Beaufort. They will make you swing and dance as you get lost in their grooves. They offer mostly original works that offer listeners a fun and inviting feel as you dance to tunes you never heard before.

They have two discs available for purchase and it became clear to me that they are probably ready to head back into the studio as they shared a number of new works with the audience last weekend.  To check out some of the news songs, be sure to head to Surf City tonight. The Phantom Playboys will rock JM’s Pub starting at 9 PM. Tomorrow the band is rocking around the home base and bringing it to Salty Dogs Tavern in Wilmington with the fun starting at 8 PM. Check out the band on Facebook by following this link:

The Phantom Playboys

For a sample of what you can expect, check out this snippet form Saturday night!


Don’t Forget To Visit The Music Calendars!


NCMZ.LIVE is happy to announce our new calendar feature. We now offer three calendars for music lovers to check out for live music events. With a growing commitment to building this site to be a daily vehicle for music lovers to check out, I have added the new calendars pages and widgets. These pages and calendar widgets are broken down by area, New Bern, The Crystal Coast and Around the Region.

Live Music Events ~ New Bern

 Live Music Events ~ Along the Coast

Live Music Events Around the Region


~ Live Music Options ~

Friday, August 16, 2019

Getting Down Around Town in New Bern, NC