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

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 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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