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 Comfortrocking 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.
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 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.
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.
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 mommickedtoday.
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 TheNew 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.
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
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
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 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
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?
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.
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.
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!
Back when I was months into the commitment of creating a music blog, I wandered to the coast and ended up at Cru Bar in Beaufort, NC, where Hank Barbee was performing solo. He was a long, tall, solo stringer with a voice that captivated anyone within ear shot of the coffee and wine bar.
It was the Summer of 2017. Hank was in the company of his beautiful girlfriend, Holly, who is now his wife. (The lovely couple married in the Fall of 2019.)
When we met, we were both in search of our creative selves. Thanks to the kindness he extended my way, I stretched out on my blog dreams; as I set out to help artists like Barbee. Back then, he was a solo act, with the hopes of piecing together a band. Which, as the weeks and months unfolded, we got to watch as the pieces fell in place right here. Or so it seemed … this is the music business, after all; so hiccups are expected.
After catching his first show, I spoke with Heather Haiss, owner of the Brown Pelican and asked her for a date for Barbee. She obliged my request and the following month, I booked my first out of town act, in town at The Brown Pelican. It was the first of many out of towners that I would bring, but Barbee remains a town favorite.
Back when we met, he had a debut, self- titled, solo album that was on the market for about three years. He was hard at work on releasing his second solo effort, Son Royale which would be released the following year. It was during the promotional tour for that release that Barbee started the process of building his band.
First came the bass player with the addition of Matthew Henderson. Not long after they were gelling, he started forming a groove with a saxophone which made room for the addition of Jim Durham. And then came the long, four year search for the beat master.
I know Barbee and his story pretty well, so, if I had to go out on a limb, I would bring you back to the days when a young Hank Barbee was breaking into music with, friend, Chet Miller who played drums. Barbee is so familiar with Miller’s beat that it’s his home, where his heart is. Drums are important to band unity, so it’s a hard position to fill than most realize.
When Barbee tours the southern states, he calls in his music brother from another mother and Miller answers the call. Miller makes his home in Florida which is where the two roamed in their younger days.
In what seems like another life, Barbee was a band leader for a band based in Atlanta. When life got crazy, Barbee took a step back, returned to his roots, got back in touch with his true self, approached things with a sober mind and made his way back to music via a Carolina road. Working with and for family, Barbee kept music in the side pocket. Once things settled down and his creative juices refreshed, he sought out solo gigs and before long another band to lead.
Once he secured two players on the regular, Henderson and Durham; Barbee turned his back on his own name and put The Dust Parade out front on all the works going forward. He removed his name from shirts and made his band the featured product of his website!
Barbee put a lot of work in looking for the right players to fit the name he already had. The Dust Parade now has three solid players backing Barbee on guitar and vocals. Completing, the search about a year ago, The Dust Parade now features Xavier Roberson sitting behind the kit.
Since forming the trio, Barbee has been busy writing more songs from his heart. I have to say, some of his best works are coming. Many of my favorite songs from this band have yet to be released. Coming up in the weeks ahead, I am going to sit down with Barbee for a more in depth talk about the band, their direction and a new recording.
For those looking to find The Dust Parade music, The Dusty Trio is playing tomorrow night and you can read more on that gig below in the New Hanover County region of the run down. To keep up with the band, buy some merch, listen to their music and know when they are coming your way visit The Dust Parade.
This fine young stringer is the voice behind Toyota of New Bern’s commercial. He is also a familiar face on our local music scene. Rocking since a young age, Duzan takes his music influence from his father, Charlie Duzan.
The elder Duzan, in fact, was on hand last week, and got up on Thursday evening to keep the music going during Tommy’s breaks.
The first time I hired the Duzan’s they played together for a group of volunteers that gather to help those effected by Florence a few years ago.
Friday Night To The North
Ribeyes for Music and Dinner
On Friday evening I welcomed the weekend with a fine dinner and music thanks to Ribeyes of Washington. They have a wonderful menu featuring fine cuts and fresh seafood. I went with a small filet and lobster tail with a salad. The salad comes with a menu for people to fill out so that it can be made to order. The greens were fresh and topping crisp! It was a great meal.
One of the big reasons I like this place, has little to do with the good food they serve. Rather, it’s the music they promote. I truly appreciate a restaurant owner, like Justin Pate, who makes room for music in his establishment.
With regard to the music, I had the pleasure of hearing and meeting Jamie Pridgen and Billy Craig, a duo of country crooners that had not played together since October of last year.
During a break I had a few minutes to chat with Pridgen, who told me that 2020 was the worst year he has known as an entertainer. He barely played 50 shows last year. In 2019 he and his band played more than 220 shows. Needless to say the virus has hurt our local music makers terribly.
This Friday Pridgen turns 26 and is hoping the year ahead is a better one. It was via a chat message that I learned Pridgen has been performing most of his life.
He told me “ I started playing music when I was 2. My grandad had a classic country band and he would hold me up to the microphone to sing Keith Whitley and other various artists. My first paid show was around 14.”
I asked Pridgen about his influences to which he replied “My biggest influences are George Strait, Merle Haggard, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley. I’m all over the place on influencers.”
Personally I love how he embraces old and new acts, it’s reflective in his music stylings also. One of my final questions to Pridgen, was about the road ahead and how venues can reach him.
He said, “I’m hoping the road ahead will get back busy as it normally used to be. For bookings, I can be reached at (252)-567-5390 or by email at email@example.com.”
During the pandemic the singer songwriter kept busy creating and wrote about 8 songs which are studio ready. He is hoping that as things return to normal he can get into the studio this Spring.
As for his partner that night, Billy Craig is a part of the Eli Craig entourage and like most players, he has been trying to keep busy with whatever shows come along. Along for the ride on the night I met him was his young daughter GracieCraig who joined the duo on vocals.
I reached out to Craig on messenger to learn more about his career but at press time the message still remains unanswered. What I can tell you is you can catch Craig back at Ribeyes of Washington this Saturday. He will be performing with his brother Eli and special guest Cooper Greer who just released a new single this week. More details on that show are below in the weekend rundown.
Captain Cooks and Country Music
One of the reasons I do what I do is to help artist connect to venues hiring for music. So when I reached out to Captain Cooks, last week to find out who was performing, owner, Todd Rodzen, told me he was working on it. To which I replied by sending him the phone number of Tan Sanders.
I had just seen Sanders in New Bern the week before so he was fresh in my mind. A few minutes later Rodzen reached out to say Tan Sanders was playing on Friday!
When we walked in on Friday, Sanders was on break and Duane Haddock was working the mic and playing Sanders’ six string. Haddock was in attendance at the show and asked to play a song or two for his wife, who was celebrating a birthday last Friday evening. He has an amazing voice and was an unexpected treat on the night.
Following a few selections by Haddock, Sanders was back on the mic and his good buddy, Warren Davis was wrapping the beats. Davis is a part of Sander’s trio. That is a project separate and apart from his band The Derelicts.
Much like many skilled players, Sanders offers venues a variety of price variants, by offering solo performances, duo, trio and full band options. Sanders plays a variety of music, most with a country edge, but I happen to like the original music he shares the best.
For those looking to hire a talented act for a supper show, this one sings. Tan Sanders is available to bring the music, just give him a call at (919) 922-7890.
Night Cap With Nannette and CC
For the finale on Friday we stopped by Parley’s Sip & Steam to catch the final few songs from CC and Nanette. These two girls were working the enthusiastic crowd when we arrived. The duo offers a huge variety of songs for all occasions.
During the week, I reached out to both ladies to ask some questions and Nanette Garrett first replied to my many inquiries. This lady is a lifer with nearly four decades of rock stories under her belt.
In her response Garrett told me, “I’ve been performing live in rock bands for almost 4 decades. I come from a large family of singers and musicians on my late mother’s side. She could play and sing anything by ear. I started singing in church at 4 with her playing piano. I have always loved to sing. It’s just been a natural part of me like breathing. I learned how to play a little piano around 6,7 then drums 10/11 and got into Kiss and a little guitar, 12 and then I got into Heart and Fleetwood Mac. Ann Wilson became my biggest influence. I still love Heart. I also love Stevie Nicks. I didn’t have anyone around where I grew up that played music. When I was 17, I found my first poster of a band looking for a singer. so I auditioned and I got the job. That was my first rock band and after a couple of high school gigs and various members and name changes we started playing in bars when I was 18. From 18 until I was 22, I played around eastern NC mostly in small clubs and parties. Then I joined a road band that played covers and originals all over 6 different states in the southeast us. After playing with them for almost 2 years, the singer/keyboardist and future husband JC Stephenson and I decided to form our own band, Snakes-N-Angels and write and record our music. We recorded 2 CDs which are available on most digital platforms. We played shows off and on during the 90’s in NC, NYC and Los Angeles, while raising our daughter. But as life throws you curveballs, he developed skin cancer. He passed away in 2002. After JC, passed one of my guitarists from the old days came into my life. I saw yet another poster with his contact info looking for a bass player. Forgot to say earlier I started bass at 21, when we couldn’t find a bassist. Anyway, needless to say William Garrett and I hit it off professionally and personally. We started working on covers and originals and he joined Snakes-N-Angels and after we got married, we decided to call our band Garrett. We’ve played in Atlanta and NYC and eastern NC. We have several singles released and have been getting a lot of airplay all over the world in many countries since 2005. We’ve been in some TOP 10 countdowns on some independent radio stations. We’re continuing to write and record our songs. Garrett hasnt done any live playing since last Valentine’s 2020. We may start back later on this year.”
In 2018-19 Garrett was nominated for NC’s rock vocalist of the year. She said it was a huge honor to be recognized. For rock fans seeking her music follow this link Garrett.
Garrett spends her time these days working in a couple different duets, which she explained, “I met my first duo partner, Laura Davis at the recording studio where we worked. I knew from the first time I heard her play guitar that we were gonna be involved with her at some point. I started booking her a few solo shows and came up and sang a few. Then we’d start exchanging ideas on songs we both liked. She’s a big Heart fan as well and we play about 5 Heart songs. We never practice, just discuss songs and go over them at soundcheck.”
“My second duo partner, Conoley Blake and I live near each other and I’ve sang with her at many open mics and harmonize with her at shows with Laura. We decided to put a show together that has a wide variety of genres throughout the decades. We play with backing tracks and me on cajon and her on piano. We both love Stevie Nicks and play 8 of her songs.” They also play a large variety of other songs that span many genres and cover half a century of music history in one show
The rocker stays busy promoting and booking gigs through her booking company, River City Rockin’ Blues. For those looking for a dinner time duet call Garrett at (252) 944-1099.
As for upcoming shows Garrett informed me, “Conoley and I will be back at Parley’s Sip and Steam on Friday, Feb. 26 from 6-9 pm and Laura Davis and I will be there on Sunday, Feb. 28 from 12-3 pm.”
Saturday Night to The East
Birthday Bash at BrÜtopia, New Bern
In case I needed proof that time flies, here it is! Hard to believe it was about six years ago that I was attending the Entrepreneurial Academy at Craven Community College in the hopes of building a media promotions business, that I would meet Tim Dryden. About the third week in we would work together on a group build and during that excercise I saw the first glance of what would become BrÜtopia in James City.
Now five years in existence, the small brewery and beer shop celebrated the milestone with Joe Baes Project working the room and sweet treats and hot dogs were being served up in the parking lot! On tap was a celebratory beer, the Milkshake IPA was made for such an occasion.
He and his business partner, Bryan Conway have worked hard to bring fresh brewed beer and supplies to local residents. They are very involved in community events and even share their passion for brewing beer by offering the first brew class at the college. I had a chance to talk to Dryden on Saturday evening, when I stopped in to wish them well. I know the partners recently opened a second location which has been a bear on their backs.
Much of the reason for that is Covid related as well as location. They now have a second store on Highway 70 in the huge shopping plaza behind cook out. They were hoping to open a new location late last Spring, but given the conditions, delays from shut downs and then town policy playing its part, BrÜtopia Havelock finally opened their doors during the holiday season last year. The new location is open Monday – Friday 5-9 pm and noon til 9 pm on Saturdays. Stop by the new location the next time you drive through and show some love.
Sweet Sounds from Swansboro
Following our well-wishing visit to BrÜtopia, Jaymi Mitchell and I drove to the coast to find out who else was playing. For our first stop we found Justin Castellano tapping out tunes at Willy Nilly Warehouse in Swansboro. It’s always a pleasure to listen to this masterful guitarist share his sounds. While in attendance, I met a fe of my Facebook followers, including sweet support Zach Miller and local music promoter and Swan Fest coordinator, Rich Wells.
While visiting the gift shop that serves a variety of beer and wine; I spoke with the owner, Jack Harnatkiewicz, who was tending to details behind the bar. Turns out he and his wife Deb own the establishment upstairs, Bake Bottle and Brew, another fun gift shop that supports live music. When the place downstairs became available the business owners pounced and opened the doors of Willy Nilly Warehouse just a few months ago. Deb Harnatkiewicz manages the music bookings and promotions.
Castellano is as amazing as ever. He has stayed busy making music during these pandemic days on line. Though not as busy as before the pandemic, Castellano is still booking shows for the 2021 music season. As he awaits word on new shows he passes his time productively by offering fans a taste of his music on line with a morning offering of weekly Coffee Jams segments on Facebook. With regard to playing, keeps busy performing live shows along the coast mostly but travels near and far too. Castellano’s style is something to behold as it sets him apart from most players in our area.
He is a good one to follow if you’re a gear geek too. When he was out on Saturday he was playing a wireless pedal board. I love how advanced things are for players to keep a clean stage set. You can find this stringer and singer on Facebook or visit his website at Justin C Guitar. He makes an awesome act for any dinner show and is elegant enough for weddings too. To schedule a date with Castellano call (252) 917-2544.
Country Rock Closes Out the Night
Saturday marked my first experience with JP Guhns Band based out of Jacksonville. This is a fun rocking country band that not only offers a long list of covers, but also writes and records songs of their own. Lead singer, Jacob Paul Guhns, uses his life experiences to offer songs of hope and consequence to listeners. The entertainer has seen more on his military missions than on his music journey, but it’s his ability to create music that shares his experiences with the world is what helps get this player through the hard times.
The first time I met this singer songwriter it was at a chance meeting of several singing songwriting Marines that came together for a night of sharing original music at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. It was truly an amazing night of music. File photo below.
Though the band did not play any original music while we were there on Saturday night, they do have music to share. In fact, check out this song Good Friends and Whiskey.
Besides promoting his own music, Guhns does a lot of work to help promote others. In fact, a couple of weeks ago his media company Gas Up Productions did an awesome promotion piece on local artist, Ryan Rubich.
Like most acts, these boys are looking for more work as well! They are loads of fun with Guhns offering great showmanship and crowd interaction. The talented rhythm section also changes things up and swap positions with Billy Mobley giving up his bass to drummer Justin Sokoloski. To book this high energy rocking country act email Guhns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those on the Greenville area, Guhns will be in town this Friday for a solo show. You can find out more in the Pitt County section below.
Live Music Options
Cruising The State County by County
In the hopes of always keeping things fresh and new, here is a new run down of live music for the days ahead, county by county.